This is the time of year when we all pay close attention to our heating systems – and we are all grateful that they are there for us, especially now that we get regular updates on a “polar vortex” or other cold winter weather systems.
Although heating and cooling systems provide a useful service by keeping employees comfortable, they also account for a significant portion of a building’s energy use, typically, about a quarter. However, it is possible to lessen this impact in both central and unitary systems by increasing their efficiency.
Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. To ensure efficient system operation, it’s important to perform routine maintenance.
Here are some tips you can employ in your business’ office space:
- Change your air filter regularly. Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months like January and February. A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure. If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool, and will waste energy.
- Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
- If possible, install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is ideal for office spaces that are unoccupied during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
- Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent and sometimes much more.
Proper HVAC maintenance by a qualified technician is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems.