The 5 Most Expensive HVAC Mistakes Homeowners Make


From Georgia to Michigan, winter is upon us.  Obviously, the weather depends on where you are located. But the change in seasons means that it is time to take a closer look at the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in your house.  Failing to do so is not only expensive, but it can also lead to health problems for you and your family.  So as a fellow owner-builder, I want to review five of the most expensive HVAC mistakes homeowners make.

1)    Dirty Air Filters

Think of the HVAC system as the lungs of your house.  Now you wouldn’t want those lungs to get clogged up with dust and dirt, would you?  However, this is what millions of homeowners do when they fail to clean or replace dirty air filters.  According to the Red Robin Group, you should check with the manufacturer of your HVAC system to determine how often you should change your filters.

How does failing to change the filters cost you money?  For one, it means that your HVAC system needs to work harder to get fresh air into the system.  It also means that dust and dirt particles are more likely to pass through the filters and end up in your duct work.  Also, a dirty HVAC system will require more energy to run and this leads to higher utility bills over time.  Lastly, a neglected HVAC system is likely to break down and this could end up costing thousands of dollars.  So, remember to change your filters the pennies spent today will save you dollars in the future

2)    Ignoring Planned Maintenance

As a DIY fan, you like to believe that you can do everything by yourself.  Heck, I have a complete woodworking shop in my basement and the toolkit in my garage is the envy of my neighbors.  Even though I perform some the planned maintenance for my HVAC system by myself, I know my limits. 

The tasks which I focus on include cleaning around indoor and outdoor units, testing the thermostat, making sure all registers are not obscured, visually inspecting for leaks or other signs of wear, and cleaning the drain line on my air-conditioned.

Performing these tasks helps me to save money as I don’t need to call a repair tech every three months.  However, I know my limits and I make sure to call a certified technician whenever I notice anything which is out of order.

3)    Not Inspecting Your Unit

Double entendre aside, this is important and you should plan to have your unit thoroughly inspected at least once a year. While this is the minimum, I would suggest twice a year for homeowners who lean heavily on their Air Conditioning in the summer and their Heater in the winter.  This will make sure that everything is shipshape before you head into your relative peak seasons.

4)    Having a Closed Mind

What I mean by this is deciding that closing off rooms is good for your HVAC.  This worked in the old days when people did not have centralized systems, but the systems we are using today rely on proper circulation to work correctly.  As such, closing rooms and vents can force your HVAC system to work harder; this can lead to higher utility costs and defeats the purpose of closing the rooms in the first place.

5)    Blocked Vents

Remember mistake number two above.  One of the things many homeowners forget to do is to check to see if their vents are blocked or obstructed in some way.  This is important in several ways.  First, a blocked intake vent means that your HVAC system is not getting the fresh air it needs to function properly.  While a blocked heating or cooling vent means that air is not being released from the system. 

In both instances, your HVAC system will have to work harder and this will lead to higher utility bills.  It also means that you will have higher maintenance and repair costs.  In addition, a blocked heating vent could be a fire hazard as warm air will back up in your system causing the ducts to heat up and this could lead to issue.

Don’t be pound foolish, take care of the HVAC system in your house and it will take care of you.


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