Heating and Cooling System Health Check
A Little Preventive Medicine for Your Heating and Air Conditioning System Can Go a Long Way!
As summer is coming to an end and winter’s cold weather is just around the corner, you’ll definitely want to make sure your home’s heating system is functioning properly for the winter ahead…and that your air conditioner has successfully survived the long, hot summer without any damage or problems. The following checklist can help you decide if you need to make some improvements, replace equipment, or consult a professional about more extensive repairs.
If your heater, heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with an Energy Star rated system. When installed by an expert, these units will improve your home’s energy efficiency and can help you save up to 20% on your utility bills.
If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, you may want to research Energy Star certified units. These newer systems are almost 15% more energy efficient than older furnaces, while an Energy Star boiler is about 5% more efficient than an older model.
If you’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the number of times you have to call in a professional to repair your heating and cooling system, or your utility bills keep rising no matter what you try to do to save energy, your current system is not working as efficiently as it should and it may be time to replace your unit.
If you notice that certain rooms in your house are always too hot or too cold, your heating or cooling system may be malfunctioning or your ductwork or insulation could need some attention.
If you spend the better part of the day away from home and you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you could be wasting energy—and money. An Energy Star certified programmable thermostat lets you control the temperature of your home when you’re not there, saving energy and money.
If you notice condensation on windows and sills or the humidity in your home is never quite right, your system could need work and an overhaul. Leaky ducts can also make your home too humid in summer and overly dry in winter.
If you find it nearly impossible to keep up with the dust inside your home, it could mean that your ductwork is leaking. Improperly sealed ducts pull air and dust particles from attics, basements and crawl spaces, circulating them throughout your home.
If your heating or cooling system makes a lot of noise, your ducts could be too small or one of the key components of your system could be malfunctioning.
Use the Home Energy Yardstick found on the EPA’s Energy Star website to determine your home’s energy health. To complete the survey, you’ll need to gather your utility bills from the last 12 months or request a 12-month summary of charges from your energy provider, information about your home’s energy sources—natural gas, oil, electricity, propane, kerosene—and the total square footage of your home. Simply enter this information in the right places and let the yardstick calculate your home’s energy efficiency rating. If you score lower than five, your home is using more energy than average and you are likely paying more than you have to on your utility bills.
Finally, it’s always a great idea to give your heating and air conditioning system a tune-up and cleaning before the start of the summer or winter season. A tune-up will make sure that your heater or air conditioner starts the season in optimal working condition and will operate at peak energy-efficiency. It will also extend the life of your heating and air conditioning system and is your best assurance that your heater or air conditioner won’t break down at an inopportune time — like right in the middle of a heatwave or cold snap!