With the cooler winter weather approaching, fall’s a great time of the year to perform some basic maintenance on your home’s HVAC system. You’ll want to take measures to conserve energy and ensure your that home is warm and cozy. Follow these HVAC maintenance tips and you’ll do both.
Stop Leaks & Drafts
Even new homes develop leaks and drafts. Changes in temperature can cause caulking around windows and doors to crack, which can let cold fall and winter air into your home. You’ll pay more for heating if you don’t weatherproof your home as much as possible.
Weather stripping, door sweeps, and vent covers are inexpensive ways to minimize heat loss so your home stays warm. Stop up any holes in walls that lead to the outside with spray foam insulation too. Experts estimate that up to 35% of heat loss occurs from gaps around doors and windows and poorly insulated walls.
Clean Heating Ducts
Plenty of dust and debris can accumulate in heating ducts and registers over the summer months. You can hire a professional to vacuum them out so when you turn on your furnace it’s pushing out clean air; not pet dander, pollen, and dirt.
Ensure heat and fresh air ducts aren’t blocked by furniture, carpets, or clutter. Without sufficient air flow, you’ll pay more for heat because your furnace will labor unnecessarily.
Change Filters Often
Changing your filters on your furnace once or twice a year may not be sufficient for your home. If you live in a dusty area or you’re renovating your home, your furnace filter will clog often. When filters clog, they cause a machine to work harder and the machine consumes more energy. Considering the cost of a furnace filter, it makes sense to change them often. It’s far less expensive than a major repair causes by an overworked furnace.
If you have a humidifier or dehumidifier in your home, check them too. They can harbor mold and mildew and contaminate your indoor air if you don’t attend to them when necessary.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
The cost of programmable thermostats is so low today you’d be crazy not to use one. They’re often very easy to program and they can lead to tremendous energy savings.
By lowering the temperature of your home when you’re sleeping or away, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on your energy bill. Studies show that lowering the temperature on your thermostat by one degree can save you 1% of your heating bill. Even in cold climates, you can lower the temperature a few degrees for 8 hours or more without the risk of freezing water pipes, damaging house plants, or harming animals.
Insulate Your Attic
If you live in a home with no or little insulation, make adding insulation to the attic a priority. Heat rises, and you’ll lose about 25% without insulation.
Insulation also makes it easier for your HVAC system to maintain a constant temperature so it does not need to work as hard.
Tune-Up the Heating System
Since your furnace sat idle through the summer months, a fall tune-up is a wise investment. A qualified heating technician inspects your furnace and checks whether it’s working as it should. When your home’s furnace runs poorly, it costs you more to heat your home.
Technicians can also spot small problems and rectify them, before components fail. When you schedule an annual tune-up you also reduce the risk of expensive emergency repairs.
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, your homes’ chimneys need maintenance. Even if you have a gas fireplace, it will accumulate residue which increases fire risk.
If you rely on these units for heat, it is especially important you have a professional clean and inspect the units and the chimneys. Even though they have a flue, dirt and debris can impede performance and creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. Fall’s a good time to review your Rhode Island homeowners insurance coverage too, so discuss your policy with your agent.