If you want to improve your HVAC energy efficiency, you can do a few things to improve your 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 cool or heat your house, raising 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. Clear away the cobwebs and dust bunnies inside the house, 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. Remember to move any furniture blocking the air vents, which makes the system work extra hard to pump cool or hot air into the room. 

Program Your Thermostat

If your HVAC system runs 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're away at work, out of town, or asleep. You can set it and forget it, while, your energy efficiency will improve. Set your thermostat 10 degrees hotter or more relaxed 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 from your HVAC vents to make you feel more relaxed or warmer. With a ceiling fan, you can turn your HVAC unit up or down a few degrees from your usual setting, saving you more money and energy over time.

Check Your Insulation, Windows, and Doors

Even with a well-maintained HVAC unit, if your home is not adequately insulated, cool or hot air will leak. Your system will work even harder to maintain a constant temperature, which puts undue strain on your HVAC unit. Wherever you can 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 might still need to run optimally. When it's time for service, consult an HVAC professional to inspect your system and troubleshoot and repair any issues to improve energy efficiency.