The holiday season is officially around the corner, and with that comes all of the fun, excitement and semi-insanity of friends, family, shopping, cooking, party-going and entertaining. The next four weeks can feel like a marathon; after expending a huge amount of energy and effort, you cross the New Year’s finish line feeling dehydrated, dizzy and sore.
With everything that you’re about to have (literally and figuratively) on your plate, now is the perfect time to make sure your HVAC system is 1. working and 2. operating efficiently. Why bother with this extra step on your already jam packed checklist? Because you don’t want to hear Aunt Thelma complain for the next three years that she had to eat Christmas dinner wearing a parka—nor do you want to open a bill in January that’s three times higher than you were expecting.
The first step requires minimal effort but a small investment: calling in a professional heating and air technician for an annual furnace check-up. Some new systems can cost as much as a small car, so think of it like bringing your wheels to the mechanic for a yearly inspection. Ask your neighbors for a reputable reference, and keep the technician’s phone number handy if they did a good job. Reliable contractors are worth their weight in gold, especially if an unforeseen issue pops up in the future!
Step two requires a little bit of legwork, but will pay off in the long run:
- Examine and replace all of your air intake filters. (My house has two intake vents which are awesomely two different sizes. To minimize frustration and trips to the store, I bought 6-packs of each filter size and keep the extras stashed in a closet.)
- Walk through each room and examine vents on the floor, walls and ceiling. Make sure they’re all open and unobstructed. (I used to think that closing vents in underutilized areas, like a guest bedroom, was saving me money. Not the case!)
- When you are home set that thermostat at 68 degrees and keep it there. (I mean it. Really. Exercise some self control and layer up if you must!)
- When you aren’t home, lower your thermostat by 10 degrees. This can really help you save. (And if you can figure out how to program your thermostat, you can make sure your home is nice and toasty when you return home!)
And if you have more HVAC tips, please share them in the comments.