The fact that the winter here in the South is relatively mild is a big draw for many people, especially those who are new to our area. We are not immune from cold nights and freezing temperatures, however. For those who want to remain comfortable throughout the wintertime without breaking the bank, there are a variety of easy, proactive ways to ensure that the HVAC system inside your home stays in good working order.
- Change the air filter and clean the vents - This is one of the simplest ways to protect an HVAC system. Running a system with a dirty air filter will make it work harder than it would have to under normal conditions, so replacing them is an extremely cost-effective way to protect the system and avoid high energy costs. Experts recommend inspecting air filters on a monthly basis to see if they are clean and replacing them if necessary. Vacuuming off the air vents periodically is also a good idea.
- Have a professional do an inspection - Fall is the best time to have this done, but it is never too late to have your HVAC inspected. A professional will be able to find signs of wear and tear that may have been overlooked. Also, an inspection will include a thorough cleaning of the system to ensure that is operating at peak efficiency.
- Have the chimney cleaned - It’s nice to have a fire in the wintertime, but it is also critical to have it cleaned and inspected every year to avoid a house fire. After a fireplace has been used a number of times, it is not uncommon to see a buildup of soot and creosote, an oily residue that is similar to tar. This is unsafe because it can prevent adequate clearance.
- Test existing thermostat or install a programmable thermostat - Even a newer thermostat can break, causing problems for the system, so it could be a good idea to test it out. Also, having a programmable thermostat installed has been proven as a valuable cost-saving measure. These allow for a temperature to be set at a higher range when you are home, or a lower range when you aren’t there, such as during work hours.
- Inspect doors and windows for air leaks - Air leaks around doors and windows are a common cause of high energy bills. That warm air escaping from inside your home literally equates to dollars and cents flying out the window, so it’s essential to make sure that windows and doors are sealed properly.
- Have insulation checked and replaced if necessary - Insulation does not last forever, unfortunately, and a variety of factors can lead to it falling down, if it’s in a crawl space, or its deterioration, if it is in the attic. Having sufficient insulation can alleviate some of the burden for your HVAC system and this can prolong its lifespan, so having a professional inspect and/or replace the insulation if necessary is an effective way to keep your home comfortable.
- Consider replacing the HVAC system - Having an ancient HVAC system is not as cool as having a vintage car, though it’s likely your home will be cool in the wintertime. In fact, the US Department of Energy reports that purchasing and installing a new system can amount to an annual savings on energy costs of around 20 to 40 percent.
It is likely that some of the service calls we receive could have been prevented by taking note of the practical, easy steps outlined above. An inspection can also work to head off major issues. To schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation to assess your HVAC system, call 910-777-3539.
Salt Air Heating & Cooling provides a full lineup of maintenance, new installation, and service work to residential and commercial clients in and around the Wilmington, NC area. Salt Air is comprised of true HVAC experts, adept at diagnosing and servicing all makes and models of heating and air equipment. The Salt Air team completes 1,000 hours of continuing education per year to ensure our employees are trained on the latest technology. To arrange a free at-home consultation, call (910) 777-3539, or visit the company’s website at www.saltairinc.com.