Inflation today continues to keep prices of goods and services high. With the warmer seasons approaching, you’ll likely be paying higher prices to cool your home, too. Especially if it’s time to replace your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. To save money and keep your electricity costs low this summer, ensure your HVAC unit is properly maintained each spring.
An HVAC unit that is professionally maintained saves you money. The regular upkeep extends the life of your unit and keeps electricity costs in check. An annual HVAC inspection lets you know if some work is required or if it’s time for a new unit, which can be costly. (There’s a way to save money on that, too, with TCU’s Eco-Friendly Loan.)
Keep Your HVAC in Good Condition
Schedule a seasonal check-up for your unit. Typically, the cost for routine maintenance is about $100 but will vary by company. It’s a good idea to start by searching for HVAC companies that offer a discount for an initial inspection and cleaning. According to Energy.gov, work that a technician will perform includes:
- Checking refrigerant levels and looking for any refrigerant leaks
- Inspecting the sealed duct system for leakage
- Measuring airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verifying the correct electric control sequence and ensuring the heating and cooling systems cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspecting, cleaning and tightening electric terminals
- Oiling motors and inspecting belts for tightness and wear
- Measuring the accuracy of the thermostat
Savings from Season Maintenance
Having your HVAC unit serviced seasonally can give you peace of mind that the system is ready for the summer months ahead. A unit that isn’t maintained regularly will have difficulty cooling your home and that strain will cost you more when it’s time to pay your electric bill.
How much can you save? According to EnergyStar, a properly installed new heating and cooling unit can reduce your energy bill by up to 30 percent. Duct sealing can improve efficiency by 20-30 percent, while regular maintenance can save you 15 percent on your bill. Upgrading to a smart thermostat can save you 10 percent on your electricity bill.
Self-Maintaining Your HVAC Unit
While a technician will perform the maintenance, there are some items that homeowners will need to do. These include changing the air filters in the house, cleaning the air conditioning coils outside, and ensuring landscaping doesn’t block the unit.
- Changing air filters: Replacing the air filters at a regular interval will ensure there is proper flow to keep the unit running efficiently. It will also make the air circulating in your home cleaner. How often you change it will depend on your HVAC usage, if there are pets in your home and if you live in an area that’s dusty. Your technician can advise you on the timing.
- Cleaning coils: The air conditioning unit sits outside and is exposed to the elements. Within it is a series of coils that protect the inside and allow airflow to pass through it. These coils sometimes get dirty and restrict airflow, causing the unit to work harder. Use a garden hose to keep the coils clean to allow the condenser to operate smoothly.
- Removing overgrown landscaping: The unit often sits on a patch of concrete that may be surrounded by landscaping to hide it. Ensure that weeds and other plants do not encroach into the unit or obstruct it.
How TCU Can Help
HVAC units will age, no matter how much you maintain them, and eventually they’ll need to be replaced. Also, repair and maintenance costs can add up quickly. In either case, Travis Credit Union can help. Our low rate Eco-Friendly Loan can fund the repair or replacement of an HVAC system.
Also, Travis has partnered with PG&E for a Go Green loan program that can help PG&E customers with energy-efficient improvements to their home. To learn more about these energy-efficient loans, visit our hub here.
For more information about convenient financing through local merchants, visit our Merchant Partners webpage. You can learn more about us at traviscu.org.