4 Ways To Maximize Your Geothermal System’s Efficiency
Winter is upon us, bringing snow, ice, and all the cold we could ever ask for. Love them or hate them, the freezing temperatures outside always make us appreciate the simple joy of being cozy inside a heated house. For those of us who have made the switch to Dandelion Geothermal, we know that warmth and comfort isn’t costing us a small fortune in oil or gas!
Some of us want to take these savings a step further though: how can I keep my Dandelion Geothermal system running most efficiently? Or, perhaps more simply, what can I do to make sure my energy bills are as low as possible? Fear not: this post covers a few common culprits of inefficient systems, and—of course—some tips and tricks to avoid them. Let’s get started!
What might cause my electric bill to rise?
Thermostat Environment and Settings
If the area around your thermostat frequently changes temperature, it might be triggering your system more often than it really needs. Additionally, if your thermostat’s set temperature exceeds the actual temperature by 5°F or more, it is likely to trigger Auxiliary (Aux) heat. Aux heat consumes considerably more electricity than normal heating operation.
Old, Clogged Air Filters
First and foremost, they make it harder for your blower to circulate air throughout your home. This usually results in longer run times or higher operation stages, both of which use more electricity than usual. Restricted airflow from clogged filters can make room temperatures uneven, cause dust build up in your ventilation, overheat your system, or worst of all, become hosts for mold and bacteria.
Dusty Buildup in Ducts
Dusty buildup in ducts causes many of the same issues as clogged air filters. A typical system circulates air through the ductwork fast enough to carry the majority of particulates to the filter. If the dust has had a chance to settle, it can become an anchor for more particulates to accumulate. Dust can also build up on equipment like vents and dampers, making them more likely to get stuck open, closed, or somewhere in between.
Duct Equipment Malfunctions
Malfunctioning duct equipment might be distributing air unevenly. This is the least likely of culprits on this list, but it’s still worth mentioning. Zoning dampers (if your home has them) and vents can sometimes jam or otherwise fail. This could be from equipment defects, particulate buildup, or age. In most cases, these malfunctions leave some rooms warm and others cold. In other cases, these malfunctions can mimic (or cause) many of the issues listed above.
How Can I Maximize My Geothermal Savings?
Balance your thermostat’s environment and settings with basic winter home maintenance.
Energy Star has a comprehensive guide on identifying and fixing/preventing leaks that affect your home’s overall efficiency. When it comes to your thermostat settings, we recommend leaving them as they were set during installation. Things like setting schedules can actually cost you more: if you set your Nest to 60° during work/school hours and 70° otherwise, the change from 60° to 70° will likely trigger the more expensive Aux heat. Instead, we recommend setting a comfortable temperature and letting it run. In most cases, your Dandelion Geothermal system can maintain a stable temperature without Aux heat. For more details, check out our Nest User’s Guide and our Homeowner’s FAQ.
Change your filter regularly.
Several things can affect how often you need to change your filter: system run time and frequency, the type and quality of the air filter, the presence of pets and dust are just a few. We recommend checking your filter once per month and replacing it when necessary. When in doubt, change it out.
Have your ducts inspected and cleaned.
Like the status of your filter, many things factor into how dust may accumulate in your ductwork. If you can’t remember the last time you had a professional inspect and clean your ductwork, it’s probably a good time to get that done. After an inspection and cleaning, ask them for a recommendation on how often your home requires duct cleaning maintenance.
Check your duct equipment.
Go through your home and open/close each vent once: this can help prevent from seizing. Check for airflow while the system is running: is there too much air coming through? Not enough? In either case, you may need to adjust vents in multiple rooms to balance the airflow so each area of your home gets the right amount. If you have zoning equipment, the steps are the same.
Basic, routine maintenance on these items can help improve your system and home efficiency, driving down costs while keeping you, your family, and your friends warm in your home. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only things that contribute to (or detract from) your system and home efficiency, but we hope you find them helpful.