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FAQs about heating and cooling
To save money on heating and cooling, you need to protect your home from the elements and make it more efficient. Leaks can be costly and cause high energy bills, but they are also often easy to fix. With a couple of inexpensive items like weatherstripping and caulk, you could save money immediately. Search out leaks around your windows, doors, and ductwork. If you feel an exchange of air, seal that area. That way, your warm (or cool) air stays where it will give you the most comfort and cost savings. After all, you don't want to be heating or cooling the entire neighborhood.
Even changing your home's air filter could result in some savings as it places less stress on your heating and cooling system. These items are widely available, and most DIY heating and cooling projects can be completed in a few hours.
Installing a heating/cooling system isn't something to try when you have a few spare minutes. Even if you are a handy person, it's still not something to try. While there are cost savings to a DIY HVAC system installation--like saving about 50 percent--the tools required for a project of this magnitude are likely not something you have around the house, and they're expensive. Plus, you can't buy refrigerants or some of the components needed without a license.
But if saving money is the reason you're considering a DIY install, they are other ways you can achieve heating and cooling cost savings. Purchasing black-out curtains to minimize the sun's powerful rays during the summer can help keep your home's interior cooler. You should also keep your air filter clean based on the manufacturer's suggestions. A clogged filter makes your system work harder than it has to, costing you more money.
There are a few things you'll need to make the most of your wood-burning fireplace. You'll want fireplace tools to stoke, arrange, and rearrange the wood. You will also need wood or a quick light log. Many people find using kindling or starter sticks is the easiest way to light a fire.
Speaking of lighting, don't forget you will need a way to get the fire lit. Some people enjoy regular kitchen matches, while others prefer the convenience of a longer fire starter or lighter that can be lit with the press of a button. It's also a safe idea to purchase a fire mat for your fireplace in case of dancing embers.
After you enjoy your fire and it burns out, you may find that purchasing a broom dedicated to fire clean-up is the most efficient way to dispose of the ash.
The air filter in your home is essential as it does two things. It keeps particles and dirt out of your heating and cooling system and your lungs. If you don't change the air filter regularly, you risk exhausting and damaging your heating and cooling system, leading to a shorter life of the HVAC.
It can also be hazardous to the people breathing the air in your home. Allergy symptoms and asthma can be exacerbated.
Changing the air filter regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions can also save you money. With your HVAC system performing more efficiently, you could see up to a 15% decrease in your costs to operate it.
Finally, keeping your HVAC system running efficiently means it works smarter, not harder. This means fewer greenhouse gasses are released, making for a cleaner environment.
The answer to reusable versus disposable is based on how meticulous you are. It's vital to change your air filter regularly. If you opt for a reusable one, you will have to clean it based on the manufacturer's suggestion. Once clean, it can be reinstalled and used again. This requires an investment of time.
On the other hand, the disposable option takes about a minute to remove the old air filter and slide the new one in. Very little time is required to maintain your HVAC filter this way.
There is more of an initial cost upfront with a reusable air filter, but you'll buy fewer of them over time. Many people who are concerned with the environment purchase the reusable option. However, if you're not going to commit to properly maintaining it, your system will work harder and place more strain on the environment anyway.