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Feb 19, 2013

Keeping Warm in the Winter

During Salem’s cold winter months, homeowners can stay warm and save money with an efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning, or HVAC, unit. When a system is more than 10 years old, HVAC owners may consider upgrading the unit since older machines tend to be less efficient, costing them more money over the year.

How an Efficient HVAC Unit Provides Cost Savings

Simply put, HVAC units with higher efficiency levels will save homeowners money. Today, HVAC manufacturers rate a unit’s efficiency according to its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, grade. A device with a higher number will provide more cost savings. For example, when homeowners spend $100 heating their home with a unit that has an 8 rating, they would spend just $48 if their system had a SEER grade of 16 while a machine that is rated at 21 would cost them $39.

About HVAC Maintenance

An HVAC unit should receive annual maintenance to continue at peak performance. With upkeep, the system will expel cold and warm air more efficiently. Homeowners should change the unit’s air filter every one to six months, depending on the level of use. In addition, water retention in the drain pan, which is there to capture water from the evaporator coil, is a sign that the system may have a clog. When a homeowner suspects that their system is clogged, they should call an HVAC specialist to repair the unit.

Signs of HVAC Inefficiency

An inefficient unit will result in a higher power bill. Furthermore, a noisy machine may mean that there is a problem. Rooms that are hotter or colder than other spaces are another sign that the HVAC unit is running inefficiently. If a home feels humid, then the homeowner may need to have an expert look at the system. Residents should also keep an eye on the amount of dust that they have in their home because leaky systems permit air particles to enter the home, thus resulting in possible sickness and allergen buildup.

Safety for Self-Maintenance

Before completing self-maintenance on an HVAC unit, homeowners should turn off all of the system’s power and natural resource sources. In addition, units may feature sharp edges that can injure homeowners, so be sure to always inspect the equipment thoroughly before beginning routine checks. When working with refrigerant, homeowners should wear protective clothing, gloves and eyewear to protect against hazardous materials and leaks. With proper HVAC care, a system will work efficiently, and it is likely to last longer.  If at any time, a homeowner is uncertain or uncomfortable with self-maintenance, contact a certified HVAC specialist immediately.