ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Why is my house hot in the summer and cold in the winter? Homeowners have a lot of temperature concerns, and it’s safe to say many are due to the HVAC unit.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC are the systems that control the temperature, air circulation, and even the quality of air in your home. Having the right HVAC system in your house can be the key to a comfortable home. As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the purpose of HVAC systems is to help maintain indoor air quality by providing adequate ventilation and filtration and changing the temperature and humidity of outdoor air to provide thermal comfort.
Heating refers to increasing the temperature of air to get a warmer environment during colder months. Energy.gov recommends keeping your home at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you’re asleep or away to conserve energy and keep everyone comfortable during the winter heating season.
Ventilation is the process of continuously replacing indoor air with outdoor air. This dilutes the air while the system filters remove dust, dirt, smoke, pollen, particulates, and more. Ventilation within a home can be accomplished with your HVAC or by opening windows and doors.
Air conditioning is the process of cooling air brought into your home to remove humidity and lower the air temperatures during the warmer months of the year. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends keeping your home at 76 degrees Fahrenheit or above to keep everyone comfortable.
Tips for efficient HVAC operation
Here are some important tips to keep your home’s HVAC systems operating efficiently:
- Regular maintenance. Having a professional HVAC company come out to service your equipment annually can increase the lifespan of your equipment. They can perform professional inspections and preventative maintenance and help to solve any problems.
- Update HVAC equipment. The EPA recommends that you replace your furnace every 15 years and air conditioning every 10 years. This can vary depending on the quality of the equipment, installation, the maintenance schedule, and how much the system is used.
- Change filters. One of the most important HVAC maintenance steps that homeowners can do themselves is to change filters every 3 to 4 months. This will help to maintain good IAQ inside of your home. Dirty filters can block airflow and cause the system to work harder, which in return can decrease the efficiency, increase energy costs, and shorten the lifespan of your HVAC equipment.
- Clean outdoor units. It is very important to clean your outdoor equipment between the different seasons of the year. Ensure all dirt, debris, leaves, grass, and built-up grime are removed. Make sure that your unit has a clearance from any trees, bushes, and other plants.
- Monitor energy bills. Look for any increases in cost; compare how much energy or fuel you use throughout the season to the same season last year. A sudden increase in energy costs and usage can be an indication that maintenance is needed.
- Learn more about your HVAC system. Take the time to read the HVAC owner’s manual, ask your HVAC technician questions, and even research your equipment on manufacturer websites to learn more about maintaining your equipment.
- EPA indoor air quality
- Energy.gov heating and cooling tips
- Your DCPH-A Industrial Hygiene team also maintains a page on indoor air quality.
- Healthy Housing Tips
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