Energy Star has a lot to say about energy efficiency and maintaining an efficient home. According to Energy Star’s website you should be replacing your HVAC filters monthly, in addition to this if your system is not running efficiently, or is over 10 years old, you should consider replacing it. According to their heating and cooling guide an old HVAC system could easily be costing you an extra $200 a year. A new HVAC system is not cheap! By saving $200 dollars a year you probably won’t see a return on your investment until the unit is at least 10 years old and ready to be replaced again, and that is assuming you maintain it so that you still see $200 a year in savings.
Besides replacing your HVAC system Energy Star makes other great suggestions which will result in reasonable returns on investment. If you have not installed a programmable thermostat you should greatly consider it. Utilizing a programmable thermostat can result in $180 saved annually, that’s a return in around 4 months depending on the model you choose! The average filter costs around $20 dollars; will changing it every month pay off? Maybe not, but at a minimum you should be changing it every 3 months or once a season. (Not just winter and summer either, fall and spring as well)
How can you be sure any of your changes are really making a difference? Or, how can you tell if you are fully utilizing your improvements to get the greatest benefits? The solution is to be able to tell exactly when you make the change, waiting 30-45 days can be challenging, especially when the weather is changing, how do you know what caused a decrease or increase? You can’t, unless you are using real-time energy monitoring. Using monitoring you will be able to see exactly how much you are using and exactly how much your energy efficiency projects are saving you. You can tweak the programmable thermostat to be the most comfortable for the lowest cost. If you are sealing your ducts you can make sure that there is a decrease in energy use. Lord Kelvin said, if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. Take control of your energy costs by using real-time energy monitoring.