The old saying goes, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ For those who have experienced first hand the misery of having no air conditioning for the birthday party on the hottest day of the summer or who have worn three layers watching the NCAA National Championship Game with no heat in the house, consider the simplicity of preventative HVAC maintenance. Here are five things to adopt that can save you money, keep you warm in the winter, cool in summer and perhaps make the air in your home cleaner.
- Changing your air filters is the easiest and most important step for those who actually live in a home. Change the air filters for every HVAC unit in your home every 30 days. Dirty air filters may cause dirt particles to adhere to the coils within the unit that allow heat absorption. This makes the entire unit have to work harder which tends to show up on your energy bill with costs of 5-15% higher according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This is especially devastating in Nashville for air conditioning as it can cause severe damage to the unit. Household dust and pet hair are primary culprits. Air filters can be found at the intake grates in your home. Identify the location of these intake grates as soon as possible and make sure that you can access them regularly. Some common locations for these grates are in hallways, in ceilings or low down along walls. Make sure you have a step stool and a screwdriver to be able to gain access to the grate and be sure to secure them once you have changed out the filters.
- Examine your external HVAC unit each time that you mow the lawn. Grass and wind-blown debris can accumulate after you mow your lawn, trim the hedges surrounding the unit, or even after a big storm. The thin pieces on the outside are called fins and are easily bent if you, the mower, or even a weedeater come into contact with them accidentally. Made of aluminum, the fins are designed to accommodate air flow to evaporator and condenser coils. Consider purchasing a fin comb that can be used to restore fins to near original condition. The fin combs cost between $8-$15.
- Check the condensate drain to make sure it has not become stopped up with debris. Water needs to be able to drain from the unit and away from the foundation of your home. Using a stiff piece of wire to run up the drain channel should do the trick.
- Keep a close eye on your thermostat. Everyone wants to be comfortable in the home, but your home’s thermostat is another piece of equipment that can go bad over time. Especially consider checking your wall-mounted thermostat if it is battery-powered or controlled by an app on your wireless device. Technology is great, as long as it works properly. Look at what happened in “The Terminator.” We don’t need that in Music City.
- Consider creating a plan, either by actually programming your programmable thermostat or by setting up a schedule to adjust your thermostat manually when you are not going to be home. Even a few degrees warmer in the summer time and a few degrees cooler in the dead of winter can still feel comfortable and, the energy savings do add up.
The Property Management Connection continues to track rising costs involved with the maintenance and replacement of HVAC units for all properties. Guess what? The costs to replace HVAC systems increase regularly. One extra step under consideration is partnering with a service that would send new air filters to each property that would be installed on a 30-day basis by tenants. Filters would be delivered right to each home and can be installed instantly by the tenant. Stay tuned for more information. Don’t be the one who has a dirty air filter that looks like your grandmother’s shag carpet.