If your heating and cooling bills keep rising or your HVAC system doesn't seem as effective as it should be, you may be making some common heating and cooling mistakes. Check out these three common mistakes, so you can be sure to avoid them, which will lower your energy costs and make your system more efficient.

Forcing a Zoned System

There are probably rooms in your home you don't use frequently, such as guest rooms. It may seem tempting to close the vents to these rooms. The theory is that if there are fewer rooms to heat/cool, the system uses less energy. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. The only way to get zoned heating and cooling is by installing a zoned system from the start. These systems have the ability to heat or cool specific areas of your home while ignoring others.

So what happens if you try to force a zoned system? You actually waste more energy. For example, during the winter, if you close the vent to the guest room, air will still reach the room because it is not air tight. Warm air from the rest of your home will be sucked into the cold room, creating drafts in other parts of your home and forcing you to turn up the heat. If you simply left the vent open, you wouldn't create those cold zones.

Failing to Install Enough Insulation

Another common mistake people make is failing to insulate the home properly. If you believe you are doing everything correctly, but your system isn't efficient, check your insulation levels. Start in the attic because it is usually the easiest. You want to see about 10 to 14 inches of insulation. If there isn't enough, add some more, and you don't have to add the same type of insulation. Just make sure the R-value is correct.

Other areas to check include exterior walls and garage ceilings. Checking these may be difficult. You'll need to cut a hole in the wall or ceiling to check the levels. If more insulation is needed, you can use blow insulation, so you don't have to destroy your entire home just to add some insulation. Keep in mind that depending on where you live and where you are adding insulation, the R-value may vary.

Getting the Wrong Size

Bigger is not always better, and when it comes to your HVAC system, you want to ensure you have one that is the right size. It may seem that getting one that is too big is harmless, but it is not true. If the system is too big, it must go through heating and cooling cycles faster because it will heat and cool your home quickly. This puts strain on the system and increases your bills.

Of course, if you have a system that is too small, you run into other problems, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year. With a system that is too small, it will not be able to adequately heat or cool your home, forcing you to use more energy to get your desired temperature, and you may never find it, if the system is much too small. Always speak with your HVAC specialist about which size system is perfect for your home.

If you are sick of overpaying for heating and cooling or if your system just isn't doing its job, it may be a simple mistake. If you think your system is the wrong size or if it has been malfunctioning, contact an HVAC company like Ragan Mechanical Inc to find out if you may need a repair or replacement system.