Summer heat is made more bearable by your HVAC system, just as winter cold is held at bay with consistent heating. The heating and cooling system of a home is a key asset, but if it isn’t maintained, it can be a big expense.
The average life of a unit is between 15 to 25 years, but if you are proactive in your attention to the needs of the unit, you could extend its life to the 25 to 30 category. If you completely ignore your unit, you could reduce its efficiency and longevity. The longer you have your HVAC system, the most cost-effective the system becomes. Here are some easy ways to extend the life of your HVAC unit.
Schedule an Annual Maintenance
While there is a lot of work you can do on your own to take care of the HVAC, you do yourself a huge favor by allowing the professionals to come in each year for thorough maintenance. HVAC technicians have extensive training in the components of a unit both on the inside and the outside, and they are able to pinpoint tiny leaks or bent fan blades. Minor issues, when left unaddressed can become serious and costly problems down the road. A belt that is making a funny noise may be at the point of snapping and shutting down the entire unit. A leak may lead to a ruptured refrigerant line. Licensed technicians have to tools and knowledge to check for these subtle conditions. They replace broken components, check for leaks, clean the interior, calibrate a thermostat, and more. It is recommended that you have maintenance done each spring and fall, but if your budget doesn’t allow for that, at least do it once a year.
Clean Your Home
An HVAC technician can clean out your unit, but if you want to do your part, keep the inside of your home clean. By vacuuming, dusting, and keeping the rooms free from clutter, you reduce the strain you put on the system. You will enjoy better indoor air quality, but you can also allow air to move more freely through the home. If the airflow is restricted, the unit has to work harder to pull in enough air to meet your temperature demands. Pet dander and dust build-up, especially near the heat registers, indoor air handler, and even can do serious damage to your unit. Make sure you also clean around the outside of the system, keeping weeds, debris, and dirt from getting tall and uncontrolled near the compressor.
Use Your Unit More Efficiently
The harder you work your HVAC system, the less likely it will be to last 25 years. Pushing your unit too hard is easy to do, especially when you are dealing with hot, humid summers or frigid winter mornings. The extra strain may help you feel more comfortable, but you end up raising your utility bills and slowly wearing down a unit’s longevity. Rather than making your unit keep up with the fluctuating temperatures, keep the thermostat set between 73 and 76 Fahrenheit. If you are away from home during the day, it would be wise to invest in a programmable thermostat and keep it set higher until you get home. You can always adjust your lifestyle or habits to be more comfortable during the different seasons.
Create a Supportive Environment
You can take some of the load off your HVAC system but creating an environment that reduces the demand. You could invest an energy-efficient unit, but you can make your home more energy-efficient for a lot less money. During the heat of the day, close your blinds, pull the drapes, or use shades to keep the heat from entering your living room or bedroom. Your thermometer won’t register the heat as high and will not turn on as much. You can also set your fans to turn counterclockwise. Run a small fan where you are sitting, or in the winter, you can use a small space heater. You don’t need to cool or heat every area of your home. If you are comfortable, it is all that matters.