As we head into winter, even Florida will see its share of chilly days. Although we probably won’t be dealing with shoveling snow, some Florida businesses will still be challenged with the task of ensuring their energy bill stays down in the face of increased heating. As you keep your employees warm, follow these tips to ensure you won’t break the bank on heating costs this season.
During cooler months, air conditioning systems run longer to keep your business warm. On average, HVAC energy use accounts for 40% to 70% of a commercial energy bill each month — and about 50% on an annual basis!
Because of this shift, it’s important to regularly change HVAC filters every two months and conduct yearly tune-ups on your HVAC units (clean coils and check refrigerant charge). Dirty filters, coils and fans reduce airflow throughout the system, which decreases performance by 5% to 15% and can damage your system. Consider scheduling your service in the early fall before the technicians’ busy season picks up, as it may be able to save you money. Additionally, programmable thermostats can help ensure that HVAC systems are not working overtime when no one is in the building.
Upgrading your A/C unit to a newer, more efficient model can also help reduce energy spending. FPL's Direct-Expansion (DX) Air Conditioning program offers rebates on installation costs. This can help you save money that can be applied to other areas of your business, allowing you to stay competitive and financially sound. Explore which units are covered to see if you qualify.
Given the Florida heat, it’s easy to assume a thermostat setting of 72 degrees Fahrenheit is normal. However, during the winter months you may be able to get away with minimizing your A/C use in the office as the outside temperatures make their way inside.
Crack open any office windows for some natural cooling. If that is not possible, you can also lower your thermostat to 66 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the A/C from kicking in as quickly.
Ductwork is found in every heating and cooling system, whether industrial or commercial, and plays a key part in keeping your business warm. It runs through the ceiling as part of your air conditioning infrastructure, and each room contains a rectangular opening on the ceiling so that vents can be installed for efficient airflow. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to maintain your business’ heating ducts and furnaces to ensure heating efficiency.
Finally, check heating ducts for air leaks from joints and holes. If you find one, report it to your building or go to a local hardware store or shop online for the proper UL certified mastic or tape to use for the job.
Your business' energy needs are unique. As we head into the winter months, you should be aware of any weaknesses within your business infrastructure that could result in higher energy usage due to heating.
FPL’s Business Energy Experts audit your business' energy use and deliver a free customized report with energy saving solutions tailored to your unique energy needs. Simply fill out a form and an expert will contact you shortly to discuss your energy needs and recommend ways you can lower costs this winter.
You should also activate FPL’s free Business Energy Analyzer, which gives business owners like you the power to better track, learn and control energy usage to save on your bill. Features include viewing your projected bill, personalized energy-saving recommendations based on your business and in-depth data analysis tools to identify trends in your business’ energy usage. As we make the shift from fall to winter, these features will be able to help you pinpoint areas of improvement for energy efficiency.
That’s all for now, but stay up to date on the latest energy efficiency tips and trends for your business on the Watt’s Happening blog!