HVAC Staging: How to Keep your HVAC Running Smoothly

acThe myths and strategies that help keep your home feeling just right

Like any good appliance, your heating and cooling system runs in different stages. There is the active stage, at which it will push itself as hard as it needs in order to get your household to your desired temperature. Then, there is the rest stage. This is the more energy efficient of the two stages, because the HVAC is not required to work hard to heat or cool the house, but instead puts itself on standby so it can help maintain the temperature that is already reached.

Understanding the staging of your heating and cooling system can help reduce energy costs by preventing your HVAC from overworking.  There are a collection of strategies that are typically used to help with this process, and some are more successful than others. Before blindly following a tip that you’ve read online, it is a good idea to consult with an expert, like a professional from All Weather Contractors, who can tell you the bottom line as to how you can best care for your HVAC system.

#1: Program your Thermostat for different times of day


Many households have programmable thermostats now. These help to manage the stages of the heating and cooling system by programming when people are home to let your HVAC know when to work and when to rest. For example, there is no point in your AC working at full capacity to prevent the house from getting warm at the noontime sun when no one is going to be home until the mid-evening, when the sun is down and the household temperature is easier to maintain.

When you are programing your thermostat, make sure that you set maximum and minimum limits. If you turn off your air conditioner all together during the day, your home may get exceptionally hot and this will cause your AC to go into overdrive to cool it down again before you get home. Keep your thermostat programmed at a reasonable, slightly warm level—such as 80 degrees. If the home stays at 80 degrees when you aren’t home, it won’t be too much trouble for your AC to push it back down to 77 or 78 before you return home for the evening.

#2: “Zone” your home by shutting vents in unused rooms


This is one of the most common myths out there on saving money, and it is important you listen up as to why this isn’t a good idea. First of all, shutting vents from your heating and AC system can lead to duct leakage, which is an expensive problem to correct. Secondly, it just doesn’t work in preventing your HVAC system from doing its job.

It is basic thermodynamics: if something cold is exposed to heat, the temperatures will conflict and the cold will start to warm up. You may be trying to prevent air from flowing into certain rooms, but those rooms are very much connected to the other rooms in your house. Sure, there is a door there—but a door with wide cracks on all four sides. Rather than stopping the AC or heat from reaching that particular room, this strategy causes the vents in the other parts of the house to work harder and longer, as the conditioned air will escape into the untreated rooms. In the summer, your best bet is to cool those rooms down so that your AC doesn’t have to push so hard to reach the desired temperature. And if you aren’t willing to use your heater to warm the entire house in winter, you may want to look into space heaters to use in between uses of your central heat.

Knowing how to most effectively use your HVAC system can help prevent costly repairs and will leave your heating and cooling system in good shape. For more information, or for help with HVAC repairs, contact All Weather Contractors.