7 HVAC Maintenance Tips To Save You Money
You already know how important a properly functioning HVAC system is to your family – especially on those sweltering hot days, and those freezing cold nights. Unfortunately, most of us take our heating and cooling systems for granted until it suddenly stops working.
There are, however, several things you can do to ensure your HVAC system is not only running smoothly when you need it but will be for a long time to come. Plus, HVAC maintenance is way more cost-effective than expensive, last-minute repairs or replacement.
Read on for a money-saving HVAC maintenance checklist.
1. Schedule an Annual Inspection
One of the best ways to save money on your HVAC system is to schedule an annual inspection with the professionals. This not only increases efficiency and performance but could extend the life of your unit. While you should be conducting visual inspections of the unit on a regular basis, having a professional come out to inspect the more intricate parts such as airflow could save you from a more costly repair later.
During the inspection, most HVAC technicians will:
- Check and test the controls.
- Clean your furnace.
- Inspect the condensation line and drain.
- Ensure proper lubrication of all moving parts.
- Clean your vents and air ducts, and check for leaks.
- Ensure the thermostat is properly working.
- Tighten electrical connections.
2. Change Out Air Filters
This often tops the list of most-overlooked-but-helpful tasks to prolong the life of your HVAC: filter replacement.
Regularly changing your air filters can go a long way toward ensuring your HVAC system is running at optimal levels. Regularly replacing the air filters can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5-15%. Dirty air filters can block airflow, reduce efficiency, and lead to greater damage to the system.
You replace the air filter in your HVAC system every month or two, especially during high-use months. But, if you operate in dustier conditions or have pets, you may need to change them out more often.
3. Seal Your Ducts
Did you know leaky ductwork can result in a 20% to 40% loss in energy? This is why you should be checking for leaks, separated joints, stuck dampers and blocked registers. The air ducts are the backbone of your HVAC system. Sealing any leaks could mean an extra half-ton of air conditioner capacity – for free!
4. Clean Your Vents
If you can’t remember the last time you inspected the louvers on your air vents, it’s time to clean your air vents. Years of use can cause dirt, grime, pet hair, and dust to accumulate on the vent covers.
Not only will a thorough cleaning make them look better, it will help reduce the allergens in your home, and more importantly, it will allow your HVAC system to operate more efficiently.
5. Check Your Outdoor Unit
Visually inspect your outdoor unit on a regular basis. It’s not a “set it and forget it” system. Remove any leaves, branches, or debris that may have settled around the unit. Ensuring there is at least two feet of space will help it run more efficiently.
Consider placing a cover over the unit to protect it from dust, mud, or other debris that may clog the unit. And, lastly, make sure the concrete slab the unit is sitting upon is still even. If it’s on an uneven surface, your unit could be running on overtime.
6. Consider a Programmable Thermostat
While it may be an investment upfront, transitioning to a programmable thermostat could save you money, help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently, and ensure lower energy bills.
Turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees when you’re away can save you up to 10% on cooling and heating costs each year.
7. Take the Pressure Off
Nearly half of your utility bill goes toward cooling and heating your home each year, according to the Department of Energy.
That’s why the last item on your HVAC maintenance checklist includes the ways you can lighten the load on your HVAC system entirely, which translates into greater efficiency and lower bills:
- Install ceiling fans to help in summer (cool the air down) and the winter (push the warm air down).
- Close windows, blinds and shades during the day during summer months; and open the windows to allow the sun’s natural heat to warm the house up.
- Check windows and doors for proper sealing. Make sure you’re not losing precious heat or cool air through air leaks.
- Consider when you’re using your appliances in the summer (make sure they’re not adding unnecessary hot air to the house) and the winter (the oven can help heat the home).
Taking the time to maintain your HVAC system can prevent future problems and unwelcome additional costs.