If you own your own home, or even if you do not, the chances are good that you do not spend a lot of time thinking about your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Despite this, most of us rely on these to keep our home comfortable all year round. In the United States, the costs of running our HVAC systems account for about 48% of our energy usage at home. At least two-thirds of all American homes have some kind of air conditioning. We spend about $11 billion on air conditioning every year. If you want to keep your system healthy and happy, HVAC contractors recommend the following tips:
- Watch the filters. The frequency with which you are going to want to change or clean your air filters depends on a lot of things. These include where you live (if you live in a very dusty place, you may need to do this more), how much you run your system and what kinds of pets or allergies you have. It makes sense to take some time every month to check it. When it is dirty and cannot merely be cleaned, it is wise to replace it. It costs a lot less to replace an air filter than your entire HVAC system.
- Keep an eye on your vents. You probably spend some time vacuuming your home. When you do this, you can also clean your air vents. This can go a long way to keeping the system clean and operating the way it should. You may also find that when you keep your vents clean and clear, you need to replace your air filters less often.
- Get the right insulation. You want to keep your home comfortable but do not need to let the heating and air conditioning get out through the roof or the windows. If it has been a while since your windows were installed, you may want to look into taking care of that. Good windows can save you a lot in energy costs and prevent your system from overworking itself to the point that you need an HVAC contractor to come and fix or replace your system.
- Pay attention to your thermostat. You want to make sure it is placed in the right spot. Cool air from the window or freezer may make it think your home is cooler than it is. Similarly, hot air from a fireplace or oven can have it thinking it is warmer. Neither is good. You want your thermostat to be in a spot where it will not be impacted by these things. If you do not have a digital thermostat, they are easy to put in and can save you money on your heating and air conditioning bills as they can allow you to only heat or cool areas where people are in.
- Pay attention to your unit. From time to time, you should go by and check out your air conditioning unit. Make sure it is not covered in debris or leaves. Make sure you have nothing like furniture or sports equipment covering it and preventing air flow to and from the unit itself. This is a simple thing you can do to prevent needing a visit from the local HVAC contractor.
- Have your system inspected. The worst time to start a relationship with the local HVAC contractor is when you have a breakdown. Not only is that the most expensive time to do this but if your system has broken down, there is a chance that you are not alone and they may be backed up. Having your system inspected and properly maintained will help you develop a good relationship with the local repair people. They also may be able to find and fix small problems before they grow into large and expensive ones to deal with.
Our nation’s HVAC systems are truly the unsung heroes of the appliance world. We rely on them to keep up warm in the winter and cool and collected in the summer. When they break down, that may be the only time they really get any thought. Taking some time to maintain your system will save you money, stress and time.
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