How to Test for HVAC Efficiency in Your Home

Testing to make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently is one of the most important things a homeowner can do. Not only is testing the efficiency of your heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system a responsible thing to do financially speaking, especially if you find issues that can be resolved, but it is also the responsible thing to do for the environment. Letting an HVAC system leak energy into the atmosphere can be both expensive and reckless, especially with worldwide global warming afoot. They say that the amount of carbon dioxide released from inefficient HVAC systems is staggering. Here is how to test for HVAC efficiency in your home.

Your first step is to turn on your HVAC system – either the heating, cooling, or ventilation unit – and then do a walk through of your home. You want to make sure the HVAC system is on high, because you want to be able to feel the air moving. What you want to be on the lookout for is rooms where the air is barely moving, or rooms that appear to not be affected by the temperature change. If this unevenness is prevalent in one or two parts of your home, you might have an inefficiency problem.

Another great test is to examine and analyze the ductwork of the HVAC system in your home. When it comes to inefficient HVAC systems, the ductwork tends to be the most common culprit. By examining the ductwork, you can look for things like leaks, tears, and rips that are causing the air that is circulating throughout your system to leak. This can cause a number of other problems – on top of inefficiency – like mold and mildew buildup. Typically, you can find these rips and tears by holding your hand over the ductwork so that you can feel for drafts.

Next, you might also have drafts elsewhere in your home that could be causing your HVAC system to run inefficiently. The best way to test for drafts is to examine your window frames and doors. In most older homes, the window and doorframes have tiny, almost invisible cracks that allow all the air from the inside of the home to escape. Basically, whenever you blast your air conditioner or heating, all of that cool and warm air is escaping. You can find these drafts by slowly moving your hand around the door or window frame, or you can use a candle – if the flame flickers or oscillates weirdly, chances are you have a draft.

Lastly, if you have tested your home for HVAC inefficiency and have found any of the above problems, the solutions range from relatively easy to difficult to fix. For instance, if you want to fix an uneven heating or cooling problem, your best bet is to seal up your ductwork, which most likely has a leak somewhere. You can also add more insulation to the walls or the ductwork itself. In terms of drafts, just a little caulk should do the trick. Yet, if you want to find a preventative measure to always make your HVAC system run efficiently, regular maintenance is the key. Your maintenance plans should include everything from changing filters to making sure the ductwork is spic and span. Keeping your HVAC system running efficiently is good for the wallet and the environment.

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