Saving energy in your home protects not only the environment, but also your pocketbook. Though while most people think saving energy revolves around efficient appliances and solar power, energy efficiency comes in many forms. Preventative home maintenance ensures that your current energy saving efforts aren’t in vain.
To help you save more on your utility bills, we’re bringing you our top five preventative maintenance tips for energy efficient homes.
Clean Your HVAC System
HVAC systems either warm or cool your home with circulated air. But over time the systems eventually trap dirt, dust, and allergens that diminish your air quality and reduce your energy efficiency. These contaminants keep accumulating until your system starts experiencing everything from simple airflow problems to full-scale mechanical breakdowns.
Changing your HVAC filters once a month is an easy solution to prevent system issues and maintain energy efficiency. Clean filters remove dirt build-up, aid in proper airflow, and result in less wear and tear on your HVAC system.
Your appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, and energy efficient air conditioner, all consist of multiple moving parts. The more parts in the appliance, the higher risk of breakdown from normal usage. In addition, worn parts can also lead to your appliance working at less than maximum efficiency.
Performing routine preventative maintenance can help keep your appliances and their parts in tip-top shape. For example, clean out dryer vents often to prevent overheating from lint. Refrigerators can lose energy through leaking door seals, and dirty air conditioner filters cause more energy usage to maintain the same temperature.
Check Windows Seals Annually
Check your exterior window seals for leaks at least once a year. Seals work by closing the space between the actual window casing and your home’s walls, keeping air from entering or exiting your home.
Old seals can deteriorate and leak, while displaced seals also let air in and out. Your heating and cooling system then works harder to maintain your desired temperature, which in turn increases your energy usage.
During your inspection, walk around the outside of your home to look for visible signs of damage such as cracked or broken seals. Window seals that have gaps or those with other damage should be replaced immediately to maintain energy efficiency.
Check Your Insulation Levels
Like window seals, check your home’s insulation levels on a yearly basis. Identifying places with worn insulation helps pinpoint specific areas of energy loss.
For homes with an attic, inspect the height of the insulation throughout the room. Insulation should be an even height throughout the space. Insulation below the floor joists in any portion of the room indicates the potential for heat loss.
Poor wall insulation also hurts your energy efficiency Checking your wall insulation involves removing your outlet covers. Turn off the power to specific rooms and remove the outlets. Looking into the wall should yield visibly thick insulation. If the insulation looks thin, you’re likely losing heat through that room’s walls.
Inspect Air Ducts
Air ducts, like your HVAC system, are vulnerable to dirt, grime, and dust. This is especially true of curved air ducts. When contaminants accumulate they impede proper air flow. This results in lost energy, and leaves you paying more for diminished air quality.
To prevent contaminant buildup, contact an HVAC specialist at least once per year to professionally inspect and clean your ductwork.
While preventative maintenance takes time, it’s cheaper and faster than waiting until your energy efficiency starts to plummet. Keeping your home energy efficient just takes a little foresight, and a hands-on attitude.