Categories Air Conditoners, HVAC maintenance, hvac service plan, quality hvac

What Temp Should You Keep Your Thermostat To Save On Your Energy Bill This Summer? Here’s Your Strategy To Save Energy Without Discomfort.

Exxel Mechanical

When July hits, it’s hot. If you’re in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, June might have been mild with some cool nights-–but July’s stifling heat can make it tough to turn off the AC at all. So, what’s a person to do if they want to save energy and money, but it’s hot as all get out? There are a few things you can do, whether it’s planning a HVAC temp strategy, thinking about HVAC maintenance, or adding a few non-HVAC cooling tricks. 

Read on to find out how you can manage the heat while saving some energy:

Adjusting the temperature: home & away

During the hottest months, you can save energy by having a game plan for when you’re home and when you’re away. It might take some experimentation to find the temperature you can handle, but with ceiling fans and closed blinds, you might find that you can keep the HVAC temp higher without reducing your comfort level. Once you know how warm you can keep it while you’re around, figuring out temps for short-term and long-term periods away from your house is the next step. 

If you’re going to be away for the entire day, that’s not long enough to turn the entire system off (in terms of saving energy) because of the strain and costs it takes to get the temperature back to comfortable levels for the evening and morning. If you’ll be gone all day, set the thermostat (or better yet, program a programmable thermostat!) to 78-80 degrees. 

Depending on how hot it’s going to be when you’re away for an extended period, you can consider turning off your AC unit completely or turning it up to just under the “high” forecasted for days away. While turning off your AC unit completely will save energy, experts suggest that it’s better for homes in extremely hot and humid areas to keep the AC on. Some reasons for this are the strain on your AC to suck all the humidity back out of the air when you return and because some homes can be damaged by intense humidity.

Generally, one to two days away should mean your system is on and the HVAC temp is set high. If it’s a week or two, you might opt to turn off the unit completely. 

DIY HVAC maintenance 

There are also a few routine maintenance activities you can do yourself to prevent having to resort to costly HVAC repairs (or find yourself in “replace HVAC” territory). These also save on energy and costs. These include: 

  • Clean your vents 
  • Clean or replace your air filters
  • Make sure the AC unit outside is clean and in a shady spot (but not obstructed at all!)
  • Check on your insulation, specifically in your attic and around ductwork

By maintaining your HVAC system and all its parts on your own, you increase its ability to heat and cool your home while saving energy. For maintenance you can’t do on your own– professional ductwork cleaning or other internal cleaning– make sure a professional is brought in at least once a year or every two years! 

Tricks to keep the heat out 

There are many things you can do besides adjusting your HVAC temp to help take the pressure off your HVAC system. These include: 

  • Window treatments 

Putting up blackout curtains–thick curtains or blinds that keep the sunlight out–can keep the heat out, too. White curtains specifically work best to deflect the sun, preventing direct sunlight from coming through your windows and heating up your house. 

  • Fans (going counterclockwise)

Ceiling fans can work wonders, keeping you comfortable while the HVAC temp is set to up to four degrees hotter than normal! While fans don’t cool the room or lower the temperature, the air movement does contribute to you feeling cooler. But to make sure it’s pushing the air downward, set your ceiling fan blades to move counterclockwise. 

  • Smart cooking practices

If you have a grill or other means of cooking outside, this is one way to keep the incredible heat from appliances from heating up your house and combatting your HVAC system in the cooling process. If you can’t cook outside, using your cooking appliances in the evening after the sun goes down when things are a bit cooler is a good compromise. Being smart about how these major heat-producing appliances make your HVAC system work harder can help you save energy.

These are just three tips that can help lessen the strain on your HVAC system and are some of the best ways to save energy.

HVAC repair or replace HVAC 

We always suggest that you get your HVAC checked before peak seasons to ensure you’re not setting yourself up to pay extra in energy bills. If it’s been a while since you’ve had any HVAC repairs, you might notice that you’re doing everything right: keeping HVAC temp set high, closing the blinds, and grilling outside as often as possible, but what if your summertime costs are staying the same or even increasing? 

In this case, you might need a HVAC repair to make sure your HVAC system is working properly. 

If your HVAC system has needed multiple repairs and also is toward the end of its lifespan of 15 to 20 years, your Google search might be looking less like “HVAC repair” and more like “replace HVAC.” But it’s not all bad news. If you must replace your HVAC system, you’ll find that newer systems are far more efficient. And replacing a HVAC system also gives you an opportunity to replace your thermostat with a smart thermostat, which can help with costs through the ability to schedule your house’s HVAC temps to suit your lifestyle.

Call us 

If “HVAC repair MD” or “HVAC systems MD” or “replace HVAC MD” have been your recent internet searches, you’ve come to the right place. At Exxel Mechanical Services, our priority is safety and comfort for you and your family, delivered through our expertise and attention to detail. We serve multiple areas of Central MD as Owings Mills, Frederick, and Westminster HVAC specialists. 

Whether it’s an issue that’s causing high energy bills, or you just need a tune-up, call or email us today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you. 

Categories Uncategorized

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for HVAC Units

You’re smiling because the crocuses are starting to pop up; you’re scheduling a Saturday to clean up those soggy dead leaves; and you’re thinking you need a tanning bed and some lotion before you bust out those arms and legs. 

Spring is here! 

While you get your affairs in order for the warmer weather and tackling spring cleaning, don’t ignore adding “clean HVAC” or “HVAC replacement” to that list. Here are 10 tips for getting your HVAC ready for spring:

1. Clean the outside of the AC unit 

During the fall and winter months, debris like leaves and dirt can gather around the outside of the AC unit. Make sure that between 1-2 feet around the unit is cleared out, including trimming bushes or plants that may have grown too close to the unit. 

2. Clean the accessible parts inside the AC unit 

After ensuring the AC unit is shut off, clean the fins by vacuuming and wiping off any dirt from the fins of the AC fan, and lightly rinsing off the unit with a hose. You can also use this opportunity to check out as much of the unit as you can see, noting anything that looks damaged so that an HVAC professional can check it out during a routine tune up. 

3. Clean or replace the air filters

Here we go again about the air filters! But seriously, cleaning or replacing air filters is step #1 for making your system run more efficiently and providing cleaner air. Air filters should be cleaned or replaced at least yearly. 

4. Clean the air vents throughout the house

Dust can build up in the air vents throughout the winter, so cleaning them before you switch from heat to AC is a great way to make sure your HVAC unit isn’t working too hard and is circulating clean air. Remove the vents’ grills, vacuum the grills, wash the grills, and vacuum inside the wall vent as much as possible. 

5. Clean the AC coils 

Refrigerator coils can collect dust, making them less efficient. Take some time to carefully clean them off as spring comes around. You can search on the internet for instructions, or you can let your HVAC professional take care of this chore. 

6. Have the ducts cleaned

While this isn’t necessarily a yearly job (once every three to five years is sufficient), you might consider adding duct cleaning every spring to keep your HVAC system efficient and your air as clean as possible. If you live with someone with allergies or asthma, cleaning the ducts can be helpful for alleviating their symptoms. 

7. Dust the house

Dust, pet dander, and other allergens can all collect in the house. Additionally, spring brings its own allergens, the most significant being pollen. Pollen will try to sneak into your home, worsening allergies for those affected and clinging to the dust. Cleaning your home of dust where it has collected in corners, on ceiling fan fins, and in other hard-to-reach places is a good move to get ready for spring. 

8. Get rid of “things” 

Another part of your spring cleaning that’s also directly related to helping your HVAC system run well is getting rid of excess furniture or clutter. Extra stuff, especially clutter blocking vents, reduces air flow and spreads dust in the house. If possible, clear out the areas in front of or on top of air vents so that your HVAC system can run more efficiently. 

9. Seal windows & clean window treatments 

Vacuuming and re-sealing your windows is a spring cleaning task that will also help an HVAC system efficiency in time for warmer weather. Vacuuming and beating the dust out of window treatments will greatly reduce dust buildup in the house.

10. Have an HVAC professional clean & tune up all the rest

HVAC repairs or tune-ups are smart to schedule in the fall and in the spring. While you might do a great job of cleaning everything you have access to, there are some internal pieces and parts to your HVAC system you can’t reach. Having a professional come to clean your system will leave you satisfied knowing your system is running as smoothly as it should be, and it’s ready to cool your home as the warmer months approach. 

Call us 

Whether it’s HVAC repair, HVAC cleaning, or HVAC replacement, Exxel Mechanical Services is ready to help you get ready for spring! We serve a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland in Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick, Maryland. Call us and see why our reputation precedes us! Call or email Exxel Mechanical Services today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.