One of the few things all homes have in common is the need for regular maintenance. Homes that are left to age without any intervention will end up needing repairs much sooner and the systems won’t run efficiently. The price you pay is increased expenses in the short-term and long-term.
If you focus your energies on maintaining the systems below it will make homeownership a little more affordable and eco-friendly.
Central air is an absolute must in hotter climates, but your HVAC system does more than control the temperature in the home. It can also help regulate the humidity level and improve the indoor air quality. Any HVAC expert will tell you maintenance is key to efficiency and comfort. Because when an HVAC system goes completely down it can be a serious and costly inconvenience. For example, hiring a company in the middle of July might mean waiting it out in the heat for a few days. That’s why it’s best to get your air conditioner serviced before the heat of the summer.
When you do hire someone, make sure they are the best. One Austin air conditioning repair company notes their use of North American Trade Excellence (NATE) certified technicians to ensure top-quality service.
Professional HVAC servicing will look at every aspect of the system, including:
• Air ducts
• Seals around the ducts
• Air vents
• Electrical connections
• Condensate drain
• System controls
• Condenser coils
• Refrigerant level
• Blower components
There’s another advantage of having a pro check the HVAC system. Only a professional can recharge the system with refrigerant so that the air cools off properly. Once the professional is done it will be up to you to change out the air filters every month or two.
If you do find yourself in a bind, you can keep cool in Houston and other humid areas with alternatives like swamp coolers and wet sheeting. If nothing else, having to rely on these alternatives for a few days will give you a newfound appreciation for your AC and motivate you to keep the system maintained.
The type of water heater you have influences the efficiency, but wear and tear can also be an issue. Over time sediment can build up in the water heater causing it to run less efficiently. Eventually, water heaters that aren’t taken care of will give out altogether.
There’s nothing worse than a cold shower in the morning. An unexpected water heater breakdown is a huge inconvenience. If your water heater is over 15-years-old you may want to consider replacing it. Annual servicing is also a good idea for any water heater regardless of age. At least once a year, drain your water heater so that the sediment can be cleaned out.
The appliances in the kitchen have to withstand a lot of use. Every day fridges, stoves, freezers and dishwashers work to make at-home food preparation possible. A lot of work and technology has gone into designing super energy efficient appliances, but there are a number of maintenance measures you can take to optimize efficiency.
• Even when you aren’t cooking, the refrigerator is constantly running. Dirty vents limit the airflow of the engine and make the refrigerator work harder.
• The catch traps/filters of a dishwasher should be cleaned out at least once every six months.
• Stoves require regular cleaning or they won’t heat as efficiently.
• Wash refrigerator door seals and replace the sealing if it’s damaged.
• Move refrigerators and freezers so that they aren’t sitting in the direct sunlight.
• Keep the coils of the refrigerator clean.
• Defrost the freezer as needed.
• Check the refrigerator thermometers regularly. The refrigerator temperature should be 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer should be kept at 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Updated electrical systems aren’t just a matter of being able to power your growing number of devices, electronics, and appliances. It’s a serious safety issue. Electrical problems are one of the leading causes of house fires.
A well-maintained electrical system is one that:
• Has no faulty electrical outlets.
• GFCI receptacles in the kitchen and bathroom.
• Electrical panel with adequate amperage.
• Circuit breakers that are properly labeled.
• Arc fault interrupters (AFIs) in the bedrooms.
• Good connections and covers for all electrical boxes.
• Use smart power strips for the entertainment system, office and other areas with numerous electrical appliances and devices.
It’s extremely important to make fixes as soon as an electrical problem is discovered. Common signs of an electrical problem are flickering lights, faulty outlets and appliances or electronics that suddenly lose power.