Most homeowners and renters do not give their heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems until there is a problem. The only time heaters seem to want to break down is on the coldest day of the year. Air conditioners seem fine with cooling our homes until the hottest day of the year. With some preventative maintenance and upkeep, you can keep your heating and cooling systems to do what you need them to do.
Call in the professionals. Twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons begin, your system should be checked. When the company comes out to check your HVAC system, they should inspect it, tune it up and clean it. The person who does the work needs to be insured, licensed and properly bonded. This should cost between about $70 and $100. If there is a problem with your system, they can fix it before it causes your entire system to crash.
- Keep an eye on your air filters. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your HVAC running smoothly is to check the air filter on a regular basis. The frequency with which you check them is determined by the environmental conditions of your town or city and the number of pets you have in your home. If you have people who live in your home who have asthma or suffer from bad allergies, you may want to check the air filters more often. If you see they are clogged, you need to change them right away. It is much cheaper to change your air filters than to get a new HVAC system installed Clogged filters can also be a fire hazard.
- Keep your thermostat in a neutral space. Your thermostat does not know that the cool or warm air it senses are from the freezer or a hot lamp. If your thermostat is near a heating source like an appliance that generates heat, your HVAC system and will start cooling your home. The problem is that as long as that lamp is on, your system will keep cooling your home. You can avoid this by placing your thermostat away from appliances that will heat it.
- Install a programmable thermostat. These will save you money by putting the air conditioning and heating on only when people are in the house. There are systems that can monitor your different rooms and change the heating and cooling as set. When everyone in the household is at work or school, you do not need to have your system running.
- Change the temperature on the thermostat. In the summer, if you set it to 78 degrees you will use less energy. For each degree below 78 degrees, you use at last 8% more energy. For each degree above 78 degrees, you can save about $8 every month.
- Consider an upgrade to your HVAC system. New Energy Star rated appliances can save you a lot of money on you energy bills. For many people who upgrade their furnace or boiler, the savings ends up increasing the efficiency from 56% or so to over 90%. This can prevent 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide from going into the environment for homes heated with gas and 2.5 tons for homes that are heated with oil. When you upgrade your air conditioning unit, you can cut your cooling costs by between 20 and 50%.
- Make sure your home is properly weatherized. If you do not pay attention to this, you can end up heating and cooling the neighborhood, which is expensive and wastes a lot of energy.
- Install a good attic fan. These can decrease the need for using your air conditioner as much as this will increase the ventilation and air flow throughout your home. This is one sure fire way to cut your cooling costs, take some stress off of your HVAC system and keep your home feeling comfortable.
Modern heating and air conditioning systems make living in much of the United States a lot more comfortable. It is hard to imagine life in the coldest and hottest areas without it. With a few simple steps, you can keep your system running all winter and summer long.