Save Energy, Money and Your Health by Cleaning Your Heating and Air Conditining System And Its Ducts
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are the single largest power users in a home or office building. They account for 30 percent of the energy used in the average home and up to 50 percent of the energy used by most commercial buildings. These systems are therefore the largest drivers of utility bills, and the quickest way to lower a utility bill is to improve the performance of the HVAC system.
Unfortunately, when an HVAC system is not operating at peak efficiency, it draws more power than it should. These systems operate inefficiently when they have too much dirt, animal dander, hair, dust and other airborne particulates within the system. These particles clog filters, vents, ducts, blowers and coils and reduce air flow, which forces the system to work harder and thus use more energy.
The solution is to have the heat and air conditioning system professionally cleaned. This restores the system to peak air flow and reduces its energy usage.
What is an HVAC Cleaning?
When an HVAC system is professionally cleaned, far more than the ducts and registers are cleaned. The service technician will use special equipment to scrub out all the components of the system that are exposed to air flow. This includes the coils of the unit itself, the blower and all the registers. The system will begin operating more efficiently as soon as the cleaning is completed.
An air duct cleaning is a much less involved process that involves merely vacuuming out the air ducts. It does little to improve the overall performance of the system.
What Kind of Energy Savings Result from an HVAC Cleaning?
As stated previously, an HVAC system will begin operating at peak efficiency as soon as the cleaning is completed, which means it will draw less energy and thus result in lower utility bills. How much energy any particular system will save will depend on how heavily it clogged.
A study conducted by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) found that lightly fouled systems, those with only a small amount of clogging, had an energy savings of approximately 11 percent following a cleaning. That translates into a savings of $200 a year for the average homeowner in the United States and more for the average office building. Cleaning a very dirty HVAC system would result in even higher savings.
When and How Often Should an HVAC System Be Cleaned?
The HVAC system in a home or commercial building should always be cleaned before a new occupant moves in. This is true even when the building is brand new because the construction process puts a lot of debris in the air that tends to get lodged in the HVAC ducts.
The system should be cleaned periodically after that. How frequently it needs to be cleaned will depend on whether there are smokers, pets, or allergy or asthma sufferers in the home. The NADCA recommends that all buildings have their HVAC systems cleaned at least every five to seven years and more often if any of the above conditions apply.
Other Benefits of HVAC Cleaning
Having an HVAC system cleaned confers more benefits to the owner than mere energy savings. A cleaning improves indoor air quality by reducing indoor air pollution from dust and other particulates. This can be a real boon for people who have allergies or asthma.