Another factor in the costs (and risks) associated with being a homeowner is your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and other climate control devices, such as fans.
Properly addressing the HVAC and climate of your house, in a timely manner, is a necessity to ensure:
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Healthier air
- Prevention of mold and mildew
- And even the sale value of your house
Here, we will discuss a couple of essential tips, some ideas to save money on heating and cooling costs, and a few further ideas for HVAC and residential climate investments you can make that could add value to your home.
Safety Note: Always Shut Off Home Electricity and Gas Before Doing Home Electrical Work
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it: you must turn off the electricity before you work on any electrical wiring, HVAC, outlets and so forth in your home. Failing to disconnect the power and touching live wires can result in electrocution or death.
And if you are updating or improving your home near a fireplace or gas line, it is extremely important that you shut off the gas before starting your project. You also need to be extra careful with these types of projects. There are dangers involved when working with gas, and you do not want to cause a fire or injury.
Essential Tips for Heating and Cooling Your Home
For those who want to save money on home HVAC and climate control, in both the short term and the long term, there are a few essential practices everyone should keep in mind and may wish to address as soon as possible.
Regularly Change the Air Conditioner Filters in Your Home (Really!)
Make sure you keep the filter for your air conditioning unit clean and replace it regularly. A lot of problems can arise from dirty air filters. If it isn’t clean, it will use more energy to clean the house. It can also hurt the unit in the long run. It’s a good idea to replace your air conditioner filter about once every month or two. Not only will it keep the air healthy, but it will also reduce your air conditioning and heating costs.
Insulate Your Home’s Plumbing
Before winter arrives, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure your home’s pipes are insulated. Stop by any hardware store to find some foam insulation and related products that should help you easily keep your home’s pipes covered so they are protected from the icy temperatures.
If you do not insulate your home’s pipes, then when the temperature outside is far enough below the freezing point, water can freeze solid inside your pipes—cracking them. Allowing your pipes to freeze in the winter creates far more work and often costs far more than it will take for you to just to insulate those pipes in the first place.
Install Ventilation Fans to Reduce Moisture and Prevent Mildew
Install exhaust fans in all of your bathrooms, your laundry room and above any cooking surfaces. These rooms are susceptible to mold and mildew because of the hot, moist air that exists in these areas of your home, and an exhaust fan will vent the humid air outside. This stops wood rot in your walls and ceilings, too.
Ideas to Save Money on Home Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation
In addition to the above introduction to home HVAC, let’s look at a few other suggestions for how you can reduce the cost of climate control in your house or condo.
Use Fans to Reduce Electric Bill
During the summer, you need to utilize lots of fans. This will help keep you more comfortable while reducing energy. Fans help decrease the energy that is spent on the air conditioner. As a result, your electric bill can be decreased.
To circulate the air in your home, install ceiling fans in your most-used rooms. Ceiling fans will allow you to cut back on air conditioner usage and add efficiency to your furnace by pushing warm air down. Many models of fans are able to reverse their blade direction, allowing on either forcing air up or down.
Sub-Tip: How to Make Ceiling Fans Quieter and Reduce Ceiling Fan Noise
Keep it balanced! Improve the quality of your sound at home. Often a wobbly or noisy ceiling fan simply needs an oiling and a tightening of screws. Sometimes, simply adjusting the screws that attach the blades to the blade holders will do the trick and tighten the screws used to secure the blade holders to the motor as well. Since you’re adjusting the screws anyway, you might as well clean the fan, including all blades, as even a little dust can throw the fan off-balance.
Save on Your Heating Bill by Adding Insulation in the Attic
A great way to save some money in the winter on heating is to put insulation in the attic. Heat rises, and in the autumn and winter, you lose heat if you have poor insulation, especially in your attic. Most hardware stores carry insulation, and its installation is very simple.
Save Money on Heating by Insulating Doors and Windows with Weather Strips, Sealant Strips, and Draft Excluders
Replacing or adding weather stripping is one of the easiest and most affordable ways of creating an energy-efficient home. Weather stripping allows your cooling and heating unit to operate more efficiently by locking in cool and hot air. You can also reduce the drafts you feel inside your home on windy, cold nights.
Reduce Home Heating and Cooling Costs by Glazing or Tinting Windows
One way to make your house more efficient with the energy used for keeping it warm in cold months and cool in warm months is to make alterations to your window glass. Consider the two varieties described below.
Add a Glaze on Home Windows to Reduce Energy Costs and Keep Warm Inside
It may surprise you to learn that homes have been estimated to lose up to 20% of their energy through exterior windows. One idea to keep heat inside is to add a second glaze to your house’s windows. This step alone could save you substantial costs in energy usage, especially during the warm summer months or the most frigid days of winter. You might even see the difference in your bills for heat and A/C right away—and it should also make your home a more comfortable place to live
Tint Your Home’s Windows to Reduce Energy Costs and Keep Cool Inside
If your home is too hot and bright on sunny days, consider adding a tint to your home’s windows (or those in certain rooms). It is relatively easy to tint your windows, and often the average homeowner can accomplish this themselves. And tinting your windows has the potential to reduce the cost of cooling your home!
Ideas for Home HVAC and Climate Investments to Increase Your Home’s Sale Value
In this final section, we’ll discuss some ways you may be able to make your home more valuable by improving its heating and cooling characteristics.
Add Value with Heated Floors Using Radiant Heat Tiles
Installing a source of heat beneath a tile floor is simple and economical. It is especially wise to talk to a professional about installing radiant heat if you are already planning to replace a floor with tile. This heat source feels great and is very efficient. When you are ready to sell your home, this will be an attractive feature for potential buyers.
Cover Air Conditioners Outside with Plants
An air conditioner may stick out like a sore thumb in your garden decor, but it is a much needed appliance in many climate regions. It is easy to hide it with some nice latticework or any other feature. One other option is to use large, ornamental grass. Remember to leave space for the roots to grow.
Do Traditional Wood Fireplaces Help with Home Heating?
While you might be courting the prospect of installing a traditional fireplace to help heat your home, this could be a bad decision. Apart from reasons related to aesthetics, this system could be inefficient due to the heat having to go through the chimney. In addition to this, the fire requires plenty of fresh air, which will be provided from within your house, essentially eating up much of the oxygen inside your home.
Anyone who owns a home knows that it takes effort to maintain it, and some of that effort every year inevitably goes to heating and cooling costs, ventilation repairs, and home HVAC upkeep. The average homeowner can expect to spend 1-3% of the value of their home annually on home improvements. Luckily, there are ways to lower these costs.