Proper maintenance is a vital step to ensure that your HVAC systems function efficiently. Whether it’s you’re air conditioning unit or your furnace, failing to perform regular upkeep can cause your energy bills to skyrocket and eventually, the breakdown of your home climate control equipment. Not only that, some little things you do around the house could be inadvertently raking up extra expenses. Avoid headaches and high bills by putting these five key practices into your regular routine.
Set a Monthly Reminder to Inspect Filters
According to the experts at ENERGY STAR, dirty filters result in harder working HVAC assemblies and in turn, higher energy costs. If you’re like most homeowners, you try to make sure they’re regularly changed. With life’s ups and downs and a hectic schedule, it’s easy to forget. ENERGY STAR recommends inspecting your system’s filters each month, and swapping them out monthly during high-usage seasons. Worried that you’ll overlook this critical piece of maintenance? Jot it down on your wall calendar or set a notification in your smartphone’s reminders or calendar app.
Don’t Ignore Your Heating and Cooling Ducts
Duct leakage is a top cause of HVAC inefficiencies. Besides seepage of heated or cooled air to the outdoors, improper duct functioning can lead to uneven humidity and temperature levels between rooms as well as excess dust on indoor surfaces. Inspecting and sealing these leaks could result in a reduction of your climate control costs by up to 20 percent.
Trim Away Greenery From Outdoor Units
Overgrown branches and leaves near your outside air conditioning units aren’t just an eyesore. That unkempt greenery could also cost you money in terms of higher cooling costs. The Alliance to Save Energy advises trimming exterior vegetation until it’s at least two feet away from your air conditioning equipment. Don’t forget to also clean off and rake up surrounding leaves during the autumn season.
Pay Attention to Your Window Shades
You might not think about your window blinds and or shades much, but these could be an overlooked component of your overall strategy to lower heating and cooling costs. Some common-sense yet forgotten wisdom to implement in your battle against higher energy bills includes lower shades or closing blinds during the summer, especially in high-sun areas. Moreover, it’s wise to keep your blinds open during winter daylight hours to maximize warm from incoming sunlight.
Schedule Bi-Annual Inspections and Tune-Ups
Twice a year, you’ll need to schedule inspections for your HVAC equipment. Your pre-season checkups should be done in the spring for the summer season, and during the fall before Old Man Winter makes an appearance. ENERGY STAR reveals that during both visits, your heating and cooling contractor will:
- Check your system’s thermostat settings
- Tighten electrical connections and take voltage measurements
- Lubricate the moving parts of your system
- Inspect and clean any condensate drains
- Verify that your equipment properly starts up and shuts down
Refrigerant levels, blower components, burner combustion, heat exchangers and connections on gas-powered equipment should also be examined during these seasonal inspections. As with any maintenance on your systems to guarantee they stay in top shape, these require a trustworthy furnace repair and air conditioning professional.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that HVAC usage contributes to between 43 and 48 percent of residential energy expenses. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and such a significant component of your energy bill warrants finding ways to lower costs and keep your home efficient. Minor maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, along with modifying everyday practices around your home and ensuring you schedule pre-season HVAC inspections twice a year, can help your heating and cooling systems remain both functional and energy-smart for years to come.