Is Your Home Wasting Money?
Not every home can perform at ideal energy efficiency, as each home is inhabited by various family dynamics that sometimes make it impossible to save a little energy. Some of us are cold-natured; others are polar bears. Some children are constantly running back and forth, inside and out, while others are quietly coloring and reading. Some take long showers, while others don’t. You get the point. And while you cannot change the odd little things that your family does, you can perform routine maintenance that will not only extend the life of appliances and materials but will also trim down those costly energy bills.
Changing Your Filters
If you only take away one thing from this article, make sure that it is to change your filters. When the filters get dirty in your air conditioners, evaporative coolers, and heaters, they have to work that much harder to expel air into the ducts. The result: higher energy bills. Filters are not that expensive, rarely more than $20, and a clean filter will keep your HVAC units from working too hard, thus extending the life of the unit. So whatever machine in your home requires a filter—HVAC unit, vacuum, fish tank—make sure that it never gets too dirty.
Your decks can’t save energy, but if not properly maintained they can waste a great deal of money. Decks take a lot of abuse, from being in the sun all day to having no cover from the rain, to having pets, people, and hot grills on them constantly. Your deck is likely worn out. Wood needs to be treated and sealed so that it is protected. If you let your deck—not to mention wood siding shingles—go too long without being treated, you will have to replace them in full. A good deck, with regular maintenance, should last more than twenty years. They are not cheap, so spending a few dollars here and there to repair a deck will keep you from spending a bundle way before you should.
Clearing Your Guttering
The big time to clean your gutters is during autumn when the leaves have fallen. While it is important to have this done, spring might be even more important. Spring is when the rain hits, and it is also the time when you find that your gutters are actually clogged with birds’ nests, pine needles, dirt, and fallen twigs. You might have removed all of the leaves in the fall, but the winter wind will make several secret deposits.
When your gutters hold water—and water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon—it puts a tremendous amount of stress on your whole guttering system, not to mention your roof and soffits. One good rain and all the guttering on one side of the house could come down. So before the rain hits, make sure that your gutters will allow a path of no resistance for the water, otherwise you could be out quite a bit of money. Gutter professionals can take care of this in no time.
The Method Behind the Maintenance
These ideas are methods that you can apply to anything. If you never rotate your tires, you will need to buy new ones sooner than expected. If you don’t change the lint trap on your dryer, its life will be over very soon. If you never change the oil in your car, it will not last very long. Oil changes and cleaning lint traps are bits of maintenance that we have internalized. Educate yourself about the maintenance on the rest of your things, so that you get the maximum life out of everything you own.