The summer season is fast-approaching, and the last thing you want to worry about is your air conditioning unit breaking down. Most people would rather pay enormous costs to learn the hard lessons from HVAC repairs. Let’s take a look at ways to deal with these pocket-book-crushers before they happen.
Instead of wading through the millions of websites where companies are paying to grab your attention, it’s all right here for you:
THE SKINNY ON THE SEASON
Summer and winter—the two harshest seasons—really take their toll on your wallet. They require more work from your heating and cooling unit to make your home comfortable, and that adds up quickly. Overworking your unit during these times of year doesn’t just murder your paycheck—it’s slowly eating up your unit’s life expectancy, too.
To help guard your home against the seasons, look into a home warranty. The prices can range from $250-400, but they are certainly cheaper than paying for a new unit altogether. A home warranty is essentially an appliance service protection plan to cover maintenance expenses on your fridge, HVAC, plumbing, electric, etc. They typically don’t cover pre-existing conditions, but some companies offer plans that do for a little extra on the bill. Especially if you’re considering real estate investments, a home warranty will save you money and help protect all those expensive appliances.
If you’re unit is a little too helpless, or maybe it’s past the point of warranty, look into replacing it with a new HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning) unit. The cost of installing an HVAC unit will vary depending on the condition of your home, the economy, the surrounding area, but typically start as low as $1000. You may think this is hefty sum of money, but if you add the annual costs of a failing HVAC unit, you could pay well over that just to keep yourself comfortable in extra expenditures.
HVAC units with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of at least 13 are becoming almost standard, although some of the more expensive units feature ratings upwards of 20.A word of caution: The price of your unit can increase quickly with the SEER rating, offsetting your savings and becoming more of a burden than a benefit. For the most efficient heating and cooling system for your home, a highly rated HVAC unit is invaluable, but pairing your unit with a programmable thermostat—which can alter the temperature when you’re not home—is a more solid investment in protecting your wallet against sky-high bills.
A LITTLE EXTRA PROTECTION
If you already have the best that your budget could buy, there are other quick-tips to help save during the summer. One of the main things to do is control where you place your heat-producing appliances: keeping lamps and other hotspots away from your thermostat will help control your inside temperature.
Especially in the winter, minimize the use of your oven. Crockpots, microwaves, and griddles are easy to use for a quick, hot meal and don’t do as much damage to your wallet. Likewise, opting to use a line-drying method over running your dryer will significantly reduce your bill.
For appliances that use a lot of electricity, like dishwashers, it is easier on your wallet to run them at night, when other appliances and lights are taking a break. By evening out when you use your appliances, the temperature inside your home is more likely to stay even, in turn lowering your bill.
Finally, ensuring your home is properly insulated against the outside weather will significantly lower the roller-coaster ride of your thermostat. Grab your caulking gun and insulating duct tape. Begin by insulating all ductwork in unconditioned spaces: the attic, garage, crawlspaces. Those areas—often ones you don’t think about—let in outside heat and air, creating pockets of sauna-like heat that your unit is going to work hard to cool.
Your windows are also betraying you, letting the heat creep in through the glass. There are multiple options available to help your windows work for you: reflective window tint will repel the sunlight back outside, where it belongs, and is safe and easy to install. If you’re more traditional, just ensure your curtains and blinds stay closed during the hottest part of the day.
You shouldn’t spend your summer season worrying about your air conditioning and how it’s going to affect your wallet. Even if you can’t afford the more expensive options, employing even a few of these tips will help keep your home cool and your wallet full.