To help educate homeowners on the best ways to maintain their heating, cooling and ventilation systems, we have developed a DIY Maintenance Plan to combat dust, heating and cooling inefficiencies, mold and mildew, and duct problems.
- Change or clean your furnace and air conditioner filters once a month or according to the filter manufacturer’s instructions. Temporarily seal the filter in place with metal-back duct tape. Write the date on the tape with a marker so you know when it was last changed.
- Your clothes dryer should be vented directly to the outside. Inspect the vent duct. Make sure it is attached securely to the dryer. Check that it is clear of obstructions (e.g. – lint). Check for holes that leak air. If vent duct is damaged replace it with a metal duct. The vent duct should be cleaned at least once a year. Check out The Consumer Products Safety Commission Additional Safety Tips for Dryer Vents.
- Consider leaving your shoes at the door so you don’t track outside debris – often the largest source of dust – into your house.
Heat & Cool Smartly
- Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money.
- Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
- Using a Programmable Thermostat- Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.
- Adding a More Efficient Ceiling Fan- Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.
Mold, Mildew or Musty Odors
- Where does the problem occur? Attic? Basement? Below a bathroom? Ceiling? Where the problem occurs can lead to what is causing the problem. If the problem is localized – a spot on the ceiling, wall or corner, it is possibly caused by a water leak. If the problem is in a large area like a whole wall, room or basement then it might be caused by high humidity.
- Stopping water leaks immediately to minimize the potential mold growth.
- Use ventilation fans in kitchens and baths to control moisture. Check to make sure ventilation fans vent directly outside. In some cases the vent fan may have been installed to vent into the attic or become disconnected or blocked.
- For best results hire a contractor who is an energy specialist to do an in-home evaluation. A good specialist will use diagnostic equipment to evaluate the performance of your home and generate a customized list of improvements.