It’s almost impossible to believe, but winter will be here again soon!  While we don’t normally see the crippling effects of sever cold, heavy snow, and oppressive ice here unlike the Northern states, we do tend to get a few harsh weeks with occasional harder winters.  In the Triangle, we typically get three to four weeks of colder temperatures, with a couple of snows or ice storms sprinkled in for good measure.

Unfortunately, this is typically the time that most people experience heating outages.  With a heavier than normal load on your HVAC system, this is sometimes the last straw before systems begin to fail or underperform.  While it may handle the milder temperatures of late fall and early winter, Raleigh winters can take an occasional deep dive, and you’ll want to be sure that your system can take the punishment.

How to know if your system is efficient?

One of the first steps to ensure that you’re ready to weather the winter storms is to assess the efficiency of your existing unit.  Are you getting the proper output for your investment?  Is the system doing an adequate job of heating the entire house?  Here are some tips for you to consider

Age of the HVAC Unit

Age is a strong indicator of a unit’s ability to keep up with the demand placed on it.   Typically, an HVAC unit will last around fifteen to twenty years, assuming it was well-maintained and had proper upkeep.  While you may do a great job of scheduling regular maintenance on the unit, were there previous owners who also took care of the unit?  

Also consider that many homes are built with just barely adequate HVAC units for the square footage of the home.  If you’re pushing a smaller unit hard to heat and cool each season, this can add wear and tear to the unit, making it less likely to reach the estimated years of service.

Utility Costs

Many people in the Raleigh/Wake Forest/Rolesville area are noticing higher electricity bills this year, but are your costs increasing dramatically?  Often, a tell-tale sign that your heating system is struggling is increased costs for usage, compared year-over-year.  If you’re paying a lot more than last year, you may have a problem waiting to arise.

AFUE Ratings

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, or AFUE, is a score given to appliances to rate how well it uses energy.  The higher the percentage, the more efficient it is deemed to be.  You can check your documentation to see your system’s score.  

How to Improve your efficiency

Regardless of whether your unit is in great shape, or if you have concerns about the output of your system, you can still take several steps to help improve the effectiveness of the unit and get the most out of it.  

Change your HVAC Filters

If there’s been one thing we’ve discussed at length on this blog is the importance of regularly changing your HVAC filters.  For a host of reasons, this is one of the most critical steps a homeowner can do to help the longevity of their units.  This is also one of the simplest steps a homeowner can take to maintain the system.  Set an alert on your calendar and change those filters!

Home Insulation

It’s one thing for your system to generate the heat you need for a warm and comfortable house, but it’s another to keep the heat in your house while keeping the cold out.  This is where insulation plays a critical role.  Look through your attic and crawlspaces, and see if there is any missing, damaged, or disrupted areas where the insulation needs to be addressed.

Digital Thermostats

Are you still using an analog thermostat?  It’s time to upgrade!  Swap these old thermostats with newer digital ones, and begin using timers on your systems.  This will help potentially give your unit a break during warmer periods of the day, but can also help you more accurately adjust the temperature in your home.  With many, you can also you simple home automations to adjust the output only when you’re in the home, not away at work or running errands.

Schedule regular maintenance

Another key area of concern is regular maintenance.  Scheduling regular maintenance calls goes a long way in keeping major issues at bay and can help eliminate costly service calls later.  We are proud to offer an affordable service plan here at Southern Seasons, and many of our customers take advantage of the plan.

Let Southern Seasons Help Your Efficiency

There are several things you can do to help your system be more energy and cost efficient.  However, one of the best things you can do is to sign up for our Residential Comfort Club Service Plan and let us optimize your system!  We can find potential problems, advise you on best practices, and add years of efficient service to virtually any system.  Call us today, and begin resting comfortably with your efficient energy system.

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