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The Home Inspector’s Gadgets - The Best Ways to Help your HVAC Help you Lower your Energy Bills

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I live in Florida, by way of Minnesota. Two states in which my home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is crucial to the comfort and well-being of my family and my house daily. Many homeowners do not realize that almost 50% of their monthly energy bill is sucked up by their HVAC system. There is a lot you can do to effectively reduce your HVAC energy costs and lower that bill so that you don’t need to choose between being comfortable in your house and being frustrated with your energy provider each month.

Check for Leaks

On almost every inspection report, I cite air leaks. They are there and you need to fix them ASAP. They let air out and moisture in and you can imagine what that does to your air quality. They can present as cracks or holes in the foundation or walls or gaps in the windows or other areas where weatherstripping or caulk could be used to seal it up. Those of you who have had your homes inspected by me know how I feel about caulk. You can never have too much caulk. The ceiling edge of an attached garage, for example, is a tricky, secret spot. Although it’s a garage, the attic space is connected to the main structure. Go out and check it!

Make your home smarter!

One component of a smart home is a smart thermostat. According to Energy Star, you can save about $50 per year. Each company makes its claims, however. Popular companies like Nest assert you can save up to 10% of your total annual bill and Ecobee, the brand I have in my home, profess to save you up to 26% of your annual bill. That’s a saving of hundreds of dollars and from personal experience, I have lowered my energy bill significantly with the addition of a smart thermostat. You can connect the thermostat to an Alexa or Google device or run it remotely from your smartphone. Program a daytime schedule and another for the night or change it on the go depending on the weather or season. Create zones so you are not cooling upstairs where no one is sleeping. The more control you have over your thermostat, the more money you can save.

Deal with your air filters!

Most people underestimate the importance of their air filters. An air filter not only improves the air quality but also plays a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency HVAC system. When the air filter is clogged with dirt and debris, it restricts airflow, forcing your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. This not only leads to higher energy consumption but also places additional strain on the system, potentially shortening its lifespan. By regularly changing or cleaning the air filter, you can ensure proper airflow, improve energy efficiency, and extend the longevity of your HVAC system. You need to change it monthly, you don’t have to go with the most expensive filter, just don’t go with the cheapest either. Think about investing in a subscription, that way you can just change it when it comes to your door, it's that important.

As always, feel free to reach out!

\Sean Finney

Pivotal Home Inspection

Florida Licensed Home Inspector

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