Do you hate feeling like things are out of your control? Do you dread getting your utility bill and wondering what more you could have done to prevent paying so much? Fortunately, spring in Richmond, Virginia, is a great time to get to work and raise the efficiency of your home. While there are many home maintenance tasks that should be left to the pros, there are plenty you can do. Take efficiency into your own hands by changing filters regularly, doing your spring cleaning, and sealing in your home's air.
Your HVAC system doesn't just supply your home with comfortable air, it circulates and recycles the air already flowing through your home. That means that dust, dirt, and other particles get cycled through the system. Filters do a great job of catching many of these particles so that the air coming out of your vents is healthier than the air going into the system. Over time, however, these filters get clogged by all the particles passing through and need replacement.
Once a month, you should replace your HVAC filter. Not only will this improve indoor air quality (which is especially important in the spring, when allergens are more prevalent), but it will also reduce strain on your HVAC system, which in turn boosts efficiency. If you or someone in your family is especially susceptible to allergens, it's worth considering a whole-home air purifier. These air cleaners have filters that catch more particles, which increases efficiency as it makes your home healthier.
We know it's not the most exciting DIY task, but don't skip this section just because it says "cleaning." When it comes to HVAC maintenance, cleanliness equals efficiency. Just as filters get clogged with dirt and dust, the same particles contaminate the system itself. Ducts can also experience buildup over time, which can make it more difficult for air to pass through.
Don't attempt to clean the inner parts of your HVAC system; get a professional for that. But you can easily clean up around both the indoor and outdoor components of the unit. Remove debris and clean off what you can easily access. Cleaning around your home will also increase efficiency. Be sure to clean those areas that don't get as much attention, like your curtains and floors. Also use some extra elbow grease around vents and registers.
Seal Your Home
When there's beautiful weather outdoors, you may want to keep your windows open to let in the fresh spring air, but some of your air may be escaping even when those windows are closed. Air can escape through poorly sealed areas, such as around doors and windows, in your attic, and even through gaps in your duct network. Escaping air makes it more difficult for your HVAC system to maintain set temperatures. This means reduced efficiency and higher utility bills.
Of the three DIY tasks discussed here, this is the one to pursue if you're okay with getting your hands a little dirty. Run a fresh layer of caulk around your windows and put some weatherstripping against door jambs where air may be leaking through. Attics will take a little more work if you really want to seal them off. Air can seep up from your living space through gaps around plumbing pipes and outlet boxes, so spray some expanding foam to seal those off. If you're concerned about air passing through the gaps between attic floorboards, roll out a layer of blanket insulation.
Ducts can be a little more difficult to seal off, since most of your ducts are likely hidden behind walls and above your ceiling. It's better to just leave duct inspection and sealing to the pros.
If you've been looking for ways to make your home your own while also finding ways to save money, then set aside a weekend to tackle these three DIY home efficiency tasks. You'll breathe easier thanks to the healthier air, and you'll stress less thanks to reduced utility costs. For professional help with increasing your home's efficiency, call Air Excellence at 804-885-3888 .
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