When you’re trying to lead a simpler, healthier, happier life, it’s all too easy for some things to get lost in the shuffle. For example, have you thought about your home’s HVAC system recently?
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Your home’s HVAC system is what ties your furnace and central air conditioner together and coordinates them into a smoothly functioning team that keeps your family comfortably warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
While HVAC maintenance isn’t a particularly sexy subject, it’s an important part of your life considering that your family’s health and safety depends on a properly functioning system. There’s also the consideration of lower energy bills.
Energy Star recommends that you have an HVAC professional check your furnace every fall and your air conditioner every spring before you turn them on for the first time in the winter and summer respectively. While this is excellent advice, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. Here are five pretty simple DIY ideas.
1. Change Your Furnace Filter
Changing your furnace’s air filter frequently can lower your energy bills by 5-15 percent. In addition, if someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, a dirty air filter only worsens your indoor air quality and causes greater discomfort. There are several types of air filters, all of which can be purchased at your local home improvement store. The most common types are:
- Fiberglass – very inexpensive, but remove less than 10 percent of air pollutants
- Pleated polyester – somewhat more expensive, but remove up to 45 percent of air pollutants
- Washable – not recommended since they can collect bacteria and fungus which can then circulate through your home
- High-efficiency – can remove up to 85 percent of air pollutants, but may restrict air flow in some furnaces
Make certain that there is a cover over the slot where you insert your furnace filter. An uncovered slot prevents efficient air return and could pose a safety hazard.
2. Install a New Thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, installing one is a simple DIY project that can save you significant money on your energy bills. Once programmed, it decreases your indoor winter temperatures during the day while everyone is at work or school. It likewise decreases temperatures during the night while you’re asleep. Make sure your thermostat is located on an interior wall away from sunlight or drafts. It should be as far away as possible from any source of heat or cold.
3. Seal Your Windows and Doors
If you feel drafts around your windows and/or doors, not only is cold air coming into your home during the winter, but warm air is escaping outdoors. Weather stripping around your windows and doors is another simple DIY project that will make your family more comfortable while lowering your energy bills.
4. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Every home needs a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm. Once installed, however, it’s vital that you change the batteries at least annually. Many people have found that the easiest way to remember to do this is to change batteries at the same time they turn their clocks forward or backward at the beginning and end of daylight saving time.
5. Call an HVAC Professional When Needed
There comes a point when diy hvac tips alone aren’t enough and you need to have an HVAC professional tune-up your furnace, especially if it’s an older model. But remember, being proactive about your family’s safety, health, and comfort definitely is a do-it-yourself undertaking.
Implementing these five pretty simple DIY ideas will keep your HVAC system working properly and efficiently. Your family will be safer and more comfortable and your energy bills will be more reasonable.