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Five Tune-Up Steps to Keep Your Heating and Cooling System Trouble-Free

Posted by Dan McKee, Guest Columnist

May 2, 2016 11:33:32 AM

furnace-filter-green-builder.jpgSpend a few dollars now to maintain the part of your house that's often the most expensive to replace.

Your home HVAC system is one of the biggest "systems" you own. Unless you want to replace it with a new one after just a few years, you need to keep it running cleanly and smoothly. Some of these are DIY items, the others may require a pro. But those site visits will only be required every couple of years. Think of them the way you do having your teeth cleaned at the dentist: A bit inconvenient, but much better than sipping soup through a straw.

1. Replace the Air Filters

Change the air filters in your HVAC unit every month during heavy use, or as recommended by your make’s manufacturer. When you don’t replace the air filters periodically, they get clogged with dust, dander and cat hair (gross, right?), and your system needs to work much harder. This not only uses more energy, it also decreased the life of the moving parts in your hardware.

2. Trim Foliage & Clean Gutters

Surrounding bushes and foliage can actually decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system. The presence of water and moisture also adversely affect the quality of indoor air. Trim the bushes and clean the gutters during spring and summer to keep the moisture levels in check and your system running at its peak performance. 

3. Schedule a Maintenance Check for your Heating & Air Conditioning System

Have your HVAC system checked for replacements periodically by a professional. They will check and adjust the combustion in the case of furnaces and boilers, and, red flag any potential problems.

4.Install Programmable Thermostats

Newer programmable thermostats not only schedule when your HVAC runs and save energy, but also give you greater control than ever over your indoor environment. Wifi-enabled units from Honeywell, NEST and other companies allow you to schedule and control settings with your smartphone.

5. Seal Leaking Ducts

Ductwork can leak more than 35% of the airflow in your HVAC system, and waste a lot of energy. Depending on your DIY skill level, you may want to have a professional seal all the HVAC ducts that run throughout your home, to save as much as 15% on your utility bills. This procedure only needs to be done ONCE, however, not annually.

More than 50% of your combined energy use comes from your HVAC system. These earth-friendly tips will help you conserve energy and keep your systems running smoothly at all times. Celebrate the earth day with these easy tips and reduce your environmental impact.


Three More Tips: Here's What to Look for in a New HVAC System

These 3 tips will help you pick the right HVAC system so that your home remains ready for every season:

1. Go Silent and Go Home

Nobody likes a loud and noisy air conditioning system with a rattling furnace. A silent HVAC system is not only essential for those who live in townhomes and condos but also important from an environmental perspective. The reasons for noisy systems are varied. Ducts may be too small, or leaky, or not anchored properly inside wall/ceiling cavities. Tell your installer where sound matters most, and make sure keeping things quiet is not an afterthought.

2. Spend a Little More for Better Efficiency

Do the energy math. When replacing your old, bulky HVAC system, be sure to check the energy efficiency ratings. Look for a high "SEER" system. The added cost for better efficiency is usually recouped quickly in energy savings.

3. Size Properly

The size of your HVAC unit plays a vital role in creating a comfortable environment. Installing a small system in a large house will lead to system overload and create efficiency issues. Similarly if your house is small, you don’t need to invest in a big, expensive unit for your heating and cooling needs. An experienced HVAC service provider can help you determine the right size depending on your location, needs, and the size of your house.

When you have the right HVAC unit in place, your home will remain comfortable in every season, you will save money, your energy bills won’t break your bank, and your carbon footprint will be reduced.

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