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How Can I Manage My Energy Costs?

January 24, 2019

Through the coldest and hottest moments in Portland, your heating and cooling system is an essential ally in keeping your home comfortable. However, it’s also your worst enemy when trying to lower your energy consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your HVAC system could be the culprit behind nearly half of your energy usage.

That large draw of energy makes your HVAC unit a perfect place to start improving your energy habits. Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or want to lower your energy bill, there are several ways—big and small—to manage how your heating and cooling system consumes energy.

Replace Your Air Filters

The air filters in your HVAC system are important to upholding your home’s air quality. They help capture a variety of debris—including dust, dirt and other small particles—and block them from polluting your home. However, when your filters become dirty, it isn’t just your air quality that is affected. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a dirty filter can decrease air conditioner efficiency by up to 15 percent. Replacing your air filter consistently keeps your system from using an excessive amount of energy. Replace one-inch pleated filters every month. Remember, filters could need more frequent attention if your HVAC system is in constant use, is by dusty conditions, or you have pets inside. Contact Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to find out what frequency of filter change is correct for your system.

Schedule Routine HVAC Service

If you want your HVAC system to work as efficiently as possible, routine maintenance is a must. Once it is spring, have an HVAC professional assess your air conditioner and clean its coils, check refrigerant levels, adjust system controls and more. In the fall, have them return to check up on your furnace and make adjustments before the cooler weather sets in later. Regular maintenance confirms your equipment is ready to operate exactly as it was planned to—with peak efficiency. Three Rivers Heating & Cooling technicians are qualified to help your system get back on track.

Switch Out Your Thermostat

Lowering that utility bill can be as simple as adjusting the temperature in your home while you’re asleep or gone. The closer your home’s temperature is to the conditions outside, the lower your energy bill can be. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to take extreme measures each day. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends lowering or increasing (depending on the season) your temperature by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from the home.

You could make these adjustments yourself each day, but a programmable thermostat automates the process. These thermostats allow you to determine a schedule for your HVAC system and automatically regulates the temperature in your home to meet that temp. A smart thermostat takes your control a step further, usually allowing you to set the temperature wirelessly from almost anywhere. Consult with Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to see if either of these options are a good fit for you.

Upgrade Your Equipment

Old HVAC equipment can be a drain on your energy bill each month. Whether they’re no longer working efficiently, are the wrong size for your home or lack the energy efficiency new systems have, there’s a likelihood your system is costing you extra money if it’s more than 10 years old.

When you’ve come to the conclusion it’s time to look for a replacement system, Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can give give you a hand. We’ll help you recognize different efficiency ratings and select a system that will work for your needs.

If you have other questions about watching your energy costs, need to arrange maintenance or want to discuss new system choices, the team at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling in Portland is prepared to guide you. Contact us at 503-213-4433 or schedule an appointment online.