5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Home
2020 isn’t just the start of a new year. It’s the start of a new decade. This year feels particularly important for setting New Year’s goals. Promises, that if kept, will bring you favor in the coming decade. What do you want the next 10 years to look like?
While most resolutions focus on personal goals, such as losing weight or changing careers, those are big goals that take time. It’s best to break up your resolutions into smaller, more manageable tasks. Luckily, these 5 New Year’s resolutions for the home are an easy way to get you started on the road to a wealthier and healthier you.
Now is the time to start implementing these homeowner habits into your life. These are resolutions anyone can keep.
Change the air filter
The air filter is designed to trap dust, hair, and other airborne particulates floating around your home. It’s a simple piece of equipment that some people take it for granted. But if you don’t routinely replace or clean your air filters, it can lead to the HVAC system failing and requiring emergency repairs.
That’s because the air filter protects all of the internal HVAC parts from getting dirty and clogged. If dirt and debris can easily flow inside, evaporator coils, heat exchangers, burner assemblies, and other parts will quickly become compromised and eventually cause serious problems.
When we get calls for furnace and air conditioner repairs, one of the main culprits is a missing, clogged, or improperly installed air filter. In addition to protecting the motor, burners, and other parts from getting grimed, a clean air filter will also increase airflow, which reduces strain on your system.
There’s still a lot more winter left, which means your heating system is entering its busiest time. To help keep everything running smoothly, it needs a good, clean filter.
Resolution: Inspect the air filter every month. It’s the most important maintenance task that will ensure the health and efficiency of your heating and air conditioning. We recommend selecting a replacement filter that has a MERV rating between 7 and 13. Just make sure it’s the right size before buying.
Replace old lights and appliances with energy-efficient ones
From accoutrements to the house design itself, each decision to change an appliance or upgrade an area has an impact on the earth and your energy bill. Something as simple as converting light bulbs from incandescent to longer-lasting and more efficient LEDs plays a big role. According to the U.S. Energy Department, “residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.”
Similarly, by switching to energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR certified appliances, you can save money and energy with sacrificing performance. For instance, ENERGY STAR rated water heaters “can save a family of four over $3,400 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the water heater.”
Don’t wait to replace! Once your appliance has reached the end of its life, it’s a good idea to replace it. You’ll save money in the long-run and seriously reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
Consult this list of average lifespans for common appliances as a guide, but keep in mind that things like make, model, maintenance, installation, and repairs are major factors.
Air Conditioners (room) 10
Air Conditioners (central) 15
Dryers (electric and gas) 13
Furnaces (gas warm air) 18
Furnaces (oil warm air) 20
Garbage Disposers 12
Microwave Ovens 9
Range/Oven Hoods 14
Ranges (electric) 13
Ranges (gas) 15
Washing Machines 10
Water Heaters (tank) 10
Water Heaters (tankless) 20+
Source: Consumer Reports
Resolution: When replacing appliances, make sure you are recycling the old one properly and replacing it with an ENERGY STAR rated appliance installed by professional technicians.
Seal air leaks
That breeze coming under and around your doors and windows is costing you a lot of money.
Resolution: To fix the air leaks under your doors, install a door sweep. For leaks around windows, replace the weatherstripping and caulk any gaps and cracks.
Speak with an professional technician about sealing the heating and cooling ducts, too. These ducts can often let excess heat or cold air out, which is simply wasting energy and money that you probably don’t want to be losing. Give us a call today and we can discuss how to make your entire home more energy efficient in spots where it matters.
Do you need more insulation for the decade to come? When adding insulation to your home, first determine where you need extra insulation. Your home should be properly insulated from top to bottom, attic to foundation.
Here are some instructions for measuring the insulation in your attic:
- Put on protective clothing and grab a tape measure and a camera.
- Take a few different measurements of your attic insulation depth and take photos for your records.
- Average the multiple measurement together.
- Determine the minimum R-value and insulation you need for your geographic location.
- If you are measuring anything below 10 inches, you should add some more insulation. If you can see attic floor joists, you probably need more insulation, but it’s a good idea to use measuring tape to measure the depth in inches.
- Watch this video from ENERGY STAR for more personal instructions.
Here are some of the best insulation types for the home:
- Batt Insulation
- Cellulose Mats/Strips
- Loose Fill Insulation
- Spray Foam
- Foam Board
- Radiant Barrier Insulation
Rolls are very similar to batts, but instead of coming precut, they are purchased in rolls. You must cut the material to size. You can use spray foam insulation for walls, wall cavities, and unfinished attic floors.
Learn more about where to add insulation in the home.
Resolution: Speak with a professional about adding insulation to your home, especially if you failed the attic insulation tape measure test. If you make significant insulation and air sealing improvements, contact a professional HVAC technician to inspect the ventilation levels.
Service Your Furnace
The best thing you can do to save money and energy in 2020 and beyond is by servicing your furnace and air conditioner. The best time to schedule professional HVAC maintenance is in the spring for cooling and in the fall for heating. But, better late than never. You don’t want to go through an entire heating or cooling system without some professional help. Neglecting regular maintenance can even void your HVAC manufacturer’s warranty.
Resolution: Set recurring calendar reminders to schedule furnace maintenance in the fall and air conditioner maintenance in the spring.
Contact Brubaker Inc. for your next furnace tune-up and safety inspection. It includes a free air filter replacement and a cleaner and more efficient HVAC unit.