Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming one. Many first-time homeowners overlook the importance of maintenance, but spending the time and money on these important tasks will help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
An inefficient HVAC system can send your utility bills soaring, and simple maintenance tasks can help make your system more efficient.
1. Change Your Air Filter
A dirty air filter is a clogged air filter. Dirt blocks the airflow, which makes your system less efficient (i.e. it works harder and uses more power to do so).
Check your air filter every month. If you can't see light passing through the filter, it's time to change it.
A good quality air filter will last anywhere from 60-90 days. Some last a year, but it's still important to inspect them on a regular basis and replace it when necessary.
2. Unblock and Clean Vents
You vacuum the floor to get rid of dirt. You vacuum the ceilings and corners to get rid of cobwebs. But do you vacuum the vents in your home?
Dust and debris that may be blocking your vents can easily be removed with your vacuum cleaner. Just like with a dirty air filter, dirty vents will inhibit airflow and make your system work harder to heat or cool your home.
It's also important to keep vents clear. Move any furniture, blinds or toys that may be blocking the vents in your home.
3. Schedule a Professional Tune-Up
Preventative maintenance can go a long way in protecting your HVAC system and improving efficiency. A professional tune-up from an HVAC specialist can help pinpoint any issues that may turn into bigger problems while keeping your system running optimally.
Maintenance is especially important for AC systems.
"Regular air conditioner maintenance can help you save on your Electric bill because the AC system is clean and can process more air and cool more efficiently." says Miranda Home Services.
During a tune-up, the technician will go through a maintenance checklist that covers everything from moving parts to electrical connections. The tune-up will also help detect problems that may be making your system less efficient, such as incorrect refrigerant levels.
4. Be Strategic About Oven and Dryer Use
If you have a habit of using your oven and/or dryer during the hottest hours of the day, you may be inadvertently running up your energy bills.
The dryer will draw warm air into your home and the oven will add additional warm air. Using either of these appliances in the middle of the day may make your system work harder and cost you more money.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your budget allows, install a programmable thermostat. This is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to improve your system's efficiency and save money.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dropping your home's temperature in the winter and raising it in the summer by 10-15 degrees can save you between 5% and 15% on your heating and cooling bills.