- Troy Huisman
5 Tips to Lower HVAC Costs This Summer!
Here are 5 Tips from the Superior Control family to help reduce HVAC energy costs this summer!
Summer is here! Unfortunately, that typically means some pretty big fluctuations in your HVAC energy costs.
This usually ends up being a pretty big slap in the face when the utility bill comes around at the end of the month – and what then? All the BBQ’s and lemonade in the world won’t take that sting out of your wallet.
Fortunately, we at Superior Control not only understand your plight, but we also deeply, deeply empathize.
How could we not? After all, we too have an office building that requires ongoing HVAC energy consumption through the summer days, and it’d be a shame if we didn’t share some of the cost-reducing tips that we use ourselves! Right?
1. The 1 Degree Rule
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Depending on where you are located, the size of your building, and the size of your HVAC system, the thermostat will be set to a fixed temperature for optimal office comfort. This number tends to range from 21-23°C (69-73°F)
For this example, let’s just say your office is at an even 70°F.
Are you ready? Okay. Raise the temperature by 1°F.
And you’re done.
This miniscule change is virtually imperceptible to the occupants, but a 1°F increase (done so that the temperature disparity is decreased between outside and in) will have an exponential effect on the HVAC’s energy output.
Try for 2°F if you’re feeling brazen! Don’t believe us? Try it for a month. Then check your bill.
2. Check Your Air Filters
We can’t really stress this one enough.
Believe it or not, this very straightforward procedure oftentimes goes overlooked in most commercial buildings and homes. Especially in homes.
Air filters become obstructed by dust and debris over time, and this blockage of air flow can lead to additional (and unnecessary) HVAC energy output to compensate for the difference in air movement.
Most HVAC manufacturers recommend changing out the air filter once a month, depending on the specifics of the site.
3. Check Your Seals
Again, a very simple procedure in commercial buildings and homes that often times goes unappreciated.
A single worn out seal, or a forgotten cracked window, can create compounded strain on your HVAC costs by allowing for cool air – generated by ongoing energy output – to be lost needlessly.
A weekly routine sweep of your office windows and seals should be sufficient to catch any potential issues that could result in inefficient HVAC energy use during the summer.
4. Make Sure Your HVAC System is Programmed Correctly
There’s no use in wasting HVAC energy on an office building when no one is there.
While you’ll be hard-pressed about flipping the switch off during peak demand hours, outside that time table, there’s simply no need to have your system running at anything but a fraction of the power.
Yes, most commercial buildings will have an automatic setting to do just that – but it never hurts to be mindful and aware of potential programming errors that result in unnecessary HVAC energy use.
Regular maintenance of both the physical HVAC equipment AND the programmable thermostat are recommended.
5. Variable Frequency Drives Are Not Miraculous Fix-Alls
While VFD’s are arguably one of the best energy management devices that’s ever been applied to motors, it doesn’t always mean installing one is the right move.
At Superior Control we love VFD’s, don’t get us wrong.
In the right setting and the right place, they can yield to HUGE energy savings (between 30%-50% compared to conventional constant speed motors), but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best option for all scenarios.
When installed with poor understanding of VFD motor integration with an existing HVAC system, you will not get the return on investment you were promised.
That’s one you can research yourself, or leave to us.
Long story short, you don’t have to replace an entire portion of your HVAC system to reduce energy costs this summer!
Though, if it’s getting bad enough, it may be worth taking a look at down the line.
Most of our clients are initially hesitant to finance large upgrades in their HVAC system, but once they sit down with us and hear us out – and we oftentimes have very much to say on the subject – their perspective changes from cost to investment, and in most cases, they reap the rewards of returned capital in less than two years!
At Superior Control, we’re always looking for our next HVAC energy challenge – give us a call to see how much money YOU could be saving this summer!