If you want to improve your HVAC energy efficiency, there are quite a few things you can do to improve performance. Follow these DIY tips and you'll be well on your way to lowering your energy consumption — and your electric bills.

Change Air Filters Often

One of the easiest things you can do to keep your HVAC unit running efficiently is to regularly check and change out your air filters. Clogged filters do not allow air to flow freely so your system works extra hard to try to cool or heat your house, thereby running up your electric bill. Simply change out the filter regularly to help reduce your energy consumption.

Promote Good Airflow

Image via Flickr by DaynaT 
Your HVAC unit needs unrestricted space to facilitate optimal airflow and venting. Inside the house, clear away the cobwebs and dust bunnies, and pick up any stray toys, clothes, or other items that can inadvertently block vents. Head outdoors to check the area around your compressor unit and clear away old leaves, pinecones, and other debris. Don't forget to move any furniture that may be blocking the air vents, which make the system work extra hard to pump cool or hot air into the room. 

Program Your Thermostat

If your HVAC system is running at full speed, you can quickly run up a high electricity bill. Take the time to program your thermostat to moderate the heat and AC when you'll be away at work, out of town, or asleep. You can set it and forget it, and all the while your energy efficiency will improve. Set your thermostat 10 degrees hotter or cooler than you usually would (depending on the season), and you could save up to 15% off your energy bill annually.

Install a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan makes a great complement to an HVAC unit. Finding a fan is easy, and installation can be done in a single afternoon. Once installed, ceiling fans circulate the air coming out of your HVAC vents to make you feel cooler or warmer. With the aid of a ceiling fan, you can turn your HVAC unit up or down a few degrees from your usual setting, allowing you to save more money and energy over time.

Check Your Insulation, Windows, and Doors

Even with a well-maintained HVAC unit, if your home is not properly insulated, cool or hot air will leak out of your home. Your system will work even harder to maintain a constant temperature, which puts undue strain on your HVAC unit. Wherever you can easily access home insulation, check that it's not torn or degraded and replace it as needed. You can also seal up gaps in windows and doors with foam tape, plastic insulation kits, and door draft stoppers. Even thermal blackout curtains help moderate your home temperature and improve energy efficiency.

Even if you have checked all these items off your list, your HVAC unit still might not run at optimal performance. When it's time for service, consult an HVAC professional to inspect your system and troubleshoot and repair any issues to improve energy efficiency.