The thing about HVAC repair, it’s expensive. And if you haven’t saved up money specifically for HVAC emergency repairs, you’re going to be hurting in the pocketbook. It’s what happens. But you can save money on HVAC repair. It just takes knowing what to do before you need that repair.
That’s right, it’s all about prevention. Just like when you talk to your doctor and they say, “hey, you can avoid paying for all these expensive treatments down the line if you live healthy.” But you don’t listen to the doctor and end up paying thousands of dollars later in life.
Let’s look at some things you can do to keep costly HVAC repairs down.
1. Save Money On HVAC Repairs With A Home Energy Audit
Really, a home energy audit is a good thing regardless if you have an HVAC system. You can save anything from 5-30 percent on your energy bill by performing upgrades recommended by an audit.
Everything breaks down eventually. But you can mitigate this by having a home energy audit. They will examine your energy bills. They will do thermographic scans. They will perform a blower door test. And they can identify leaks in your system.
You can do this check yourself, but you may miss things. If you do choose to do it yourself, here are a few things you can do.
Check for obvious leaks. Your house can leak in various ways. You are likely to encounter leaks around baseboards, at wall joints, and, of course, around your door jamb. Check electrical outlets to see if you feel a draft. Check switch plates, door and window frames. Cable jacks and phone jacks. Dryer vents. Fan vents.
How do you do this? It’s kind of simple. Pick a windy day. Make sure all stoves, furnaces, and water heaters are off. Now take an incense stick, burn it. Move it around possible leak sites. Any time you see the smoke waver, note that leak.
If you can’t use incense in your home, you can wet your hand and feel for when it gets cold.
2. Preventative Care
As we said before, to avoid an increase in HVAC repair, you need to be proactive and preventative. This is why you should schedule regular maintenance and checkups on your system. This will avoid major problems down the line.
But there are also a few things you can do along the way.
Buy a High-Efficiency Filter.
Some of the filters out there today are electrostatic. They attract small particles that might normally make through a regular filter. Sometimes that’s bacteria. That’s doubly good if you have a family.
Replace The Filter Every 90 Days
We actually recommend doing this every month. But if you don’t have pets or live in a fairly dustless place, you can get away with every 90 days.
Your filter needs replacing if you looks dark and clogged. Having reduced airflow can reduce your unit efficiency by 15%. You will definitely see this on your energy bill. Plus, later, you will end up either having the cooling coil cleaned or even replaced. Avoid that costly HVAC repair by replacing your filter.
Clear The Unit
Your outdoor air conditioning unit needs air to breath. Make sure no weeds or brush or bushes crowd it. It needs at least two feet of air around it to breathe.
Leaves, grass, kamikaze birds, anything could get stuck in your outdoor A/C unit. Inspect it often and make sure you remove any debris that collects on the outside.
Check The Line
Refrigerant lines leading into your house can get damaged or break. Replace them if needed.
Level The Unit
Check that your outdoor unit is on level ground or footing. Take a level and place it on the top of the unit to check the level.
Keep It Clog Free
An annual cocktail for your unit is needed. That’s a bleach and water cocktail. Drop it down the A/C condensation drain. This will prevent buildup of mold and algae. You will definitely avoid some nasty HVAC repair fees this way.
Some heating units have a humidifier. Shut off the water supply to this humidifier in the summer. It’s usually more humid in the summer.
Keep At Least 20% Of The Registers Open
If you close all the vents, you will put a lot of strain on the system.
3. Fix Things Immediately
We understand. We all procrastinate. But your HVAC system is a costly thing. It’s worth not waiting to get things fixed when you actually need HVAC repair.
The longer the problem occurs, the worse and bigger it can get. If your cooling coil gets caked with pet hair and dirt, it could eventually burn out the fan motor. Get that thing cleaned immediately. Especially if the system isn’t cooling your house.
If the filter gets clogged, you’re putting a strain on the system. It could cause many other more costly things to go out of wack. Switch that out ASAP. If you don’t, you might cause seals to break. This decreased air pressure makes the system cycle longer.
You will save yourself a bundle if you tackle problems immediately.
4. Schedule A Maintenance Plan
You really want to make sure you have a professional keeping an eye on your system year-round. This is really the best way to prevent major HVAC repair fees later on.
And really, it’s like getting your car tuned up. It will increase the lifetime of the unit. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be looking at replacing your unit much sooner than you thought.
And, think about, you will be building a professional relationship with a company. You might find yourself with some VIP treatment from your favorite service technician later down the road.
HVAC repair and maintenance really doesn’t have to cost you the whole world. If you keep up with small repairs and change your filter regularly, you will save yourself a bundle.