Today, most households make extensive use of their HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units all year round. The unit does not only help regulate the indoor temperature and helps improve the air quality indoors, thereby making way for a healthy and comfortable living for the occupants of a building, commercial or private. However, to make the best of your HVAC unit, you must invest in a good quality energy-efficient system. The latter will give you a healthy indoor environment (important for the health, productivity and overall wellbeing of the residents) at the same time as it will help reduce your energy consumption and utility costs.
Now, there are several factors in play when it comes to the energy efficiency of an HVAC system. For instance, the type of system you own and the maintenance done on it help determine the device’s performance and longevity. As for performance, there are things that you can do to improve your HVAC’s overall performance. Follow the best practices to ensure that your HVAC unit keeps running smoothly and efficiently for a long time and so that you can avoid frequent breakdowns and costly repairs.
Steps to Follow to Ensure Longevity and Best Performance from your HVAC Unit
Reduce Heat Losses of Your House
An HVAC unit maintains the indoor temperature at which it is set. Depending on the outdoor temperature, users will set the temperature indoors at a level that all residents are comfortable with. And your HVAC system will keep adding or removing heat based on this setting.
What You Can Do to Control Heat Losses
Effective insulation all-around your home is the best way to reduce heat loss. This means:
- Your home should have a well-insulated roof and walls
- Cold bridges (door and window frames, beams, pillars, etc.) should receive proper insulation treatment
- Windows and doors themselves should be made of materials with good heat insulation properties
Further, it would be best to consider installing sunscreen systems as they are highly effective in providing energy-efficient cooling, thanks mainly to their ability to control solar radiation.
All homeowners should also install energy-efficient technologies and systems when building the house. It is far more expensive to install heat insulation systems to an already existing structure.
Also, make sure not to use heating and air conditioning simultaneously. Make good use of the control settings available for your HVAC system. For example, a properly set unit will shut the distribution circuit all by itself when it knows that heating is not required. Similarly, timer switches are highly useful when reducing the operating time of the device. With a timer switch, a business establishment can program the machine to stop operating during public holidays, non-working hours and such. The same goes for homeowners as well. And the good news is that smart timer switches for HVAC units have become highly affordable of late. So, make sure you use them to see that your HVAC unit does not keep running when required.
Tips to Avoid Improper Use of Your Heating System
In industrial, commercial or administrative settings, the temperature in the HVAC unit must never exceed 20-22ºC. Higher temperatures are often required at healthcare centers and hospitals, and accordingly, these places most often use advanced HVAC units fitted with state-of-the-art technologies. Make sure to keep your windows closed as much as possible, even in extremely hot weather conditions. You will receive overall better performance from your HVAC unit when you keep your windows closed.
Optimize Your Heating System to Reduce Running Costs
Two types of heating systems are commonly used in homes and commercial buildings — standalone systems and centralized systems.
This kind of system uses electric radiators in conjunction with convector, radiant or blower technology and is used for space heating, meaning they heat each room or section of a building separately. Although there is no energy waste with them, standalone devices are still far too expensive to operate, especially if you use too many of them in a single building. One way to bring down the operating costs would be to use a control system that can switch off the unit whenever required.
Centralized Heating Systems
On the other hand, centralized systems are made of two parts– a heat generator system (typically a boiler or a furnace) and a heat distribution unit. The heat generated by the former is supplied at all the different parts of a building through hot water pipes. This whole design is built around the concept of thermal metering. In yet another kind of system, a boiler generates thermal energy inside the building. With both these designs, one can achieve higher efficiency by using the latest furnace or boiler models fitted with green technologies and adjustable by professional boiler technicians. As for whether or not the device is running at an optimum efficiency level, the users can check this for themselves by measuring the CO2 level and the temperature of the exhaust fume. No matter what type of fuel you are using, you can check your centralized HVAC system’s efficiency in this manner.
A heat pump can either be used with a boiler or as a standalone unit, and it all depends on the heat source of the pump. When the heat source happens to be the surrounding air, one cannot use the pump once the weather gets too cold, mainly due to the ice formation issue. The “Air-Water” and the “Air-Air” systems are by far the most commonly used devices in this range and are used during hotter months through to the mid-season. However, once the temperature runs low, a furnace boiler becomes the preferred choice. There are, however, also heat pumps that work using a “Water-Water” technology. These pumps, using underground water as their heat source, are fast growing in popularity because their operation doesn’t depend on the outdoor temperature.
Despite being a great environment-friendly option, solar heating commonly poses two problems for users. One, the orientation of the solar panels must be done accurately enough to ensure optimum exposure to sunlight. Secondly, the availability of sunlight as the heat source depends entirely on the prevailing weather conditions. As such, soar heating, when deployed, is still only used as a supplement to the primary heating system.
Heating Circuits Optimization
As mentioned earlier, water pipes or air ducts act as the distributor of thermal energy in a centralized heating system. One way to increase the energy efficiency of a centralized system is to reduce the heat loss within the pipes through proper insulation of the pipes and air flues. Further, zoned heating, controlled via several thermostats, is deployed to use only as much energy as is required.
Optimizing Heating Control
The control systems in HVAC units are meant to minimize energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort of the occupants. For example, with the help of heating control, users can set temperatures at a lower level for spaces that are not being used at a given time.
Programming Your Device for Higher Efficiency
Advanced control systems that come with the latest HVAC units (in many cases, they can also be installed separately) allow programming that makes for greater control over your HVAC system. For example, the system can be made to begin operating a few minutes or an hour earlier before the occupants’ arrival. It can similarly be programmed to switch off sometime before they vacate the space.
These fine-tuning and time adjustments from an HVAC company can go a long way in saving substantial amounts of energy. One must also avoid heating vacant and non-occupied rooms throughout the building. Advanced control systems also allow today’s users to set indoor temperatures at different levels for separate rooms. For even greater efficiency, see whether your control system lets you monitor the outdoor climate (sunlight, wind, temperature) since these readings can be extremely helpful in making a pretty accurate estimate of the heat loss from any given premises.