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Ah — summer begins.The pool floaties and sunscreen are coming out of the closet, your warmest sweaters are stowed away til next season. Maybe (if you’re lucky) you’ve already tackled Spring cleaning, and now you’ve set your sights on a higher, loftier, and exceptionally important goal: prepping the house for summer.
After a long winter (whether it was treacherous or mild, depending on where you live, and the chaotic nature of weather in general these days) there’s cleaning and clearing to be done, and preparations that will help ensure a smooth summer and lower utility costs across the board.
You can set yourself up for smooth sailing and potentially BIG savings by tending to some of these maintenance to-do’s early on. Here are six quick ways to prep your home for peak savings this summer:
1. Prep your HVAC.
Dusting off the old HVAC (ok, hopefully it’s not that old) is essential to make sure you’re not overspending on cooling in the summer. It’s also an important step to ensure you’re not overtaxing your system, which could result in it giving out on the hottest day of the season.
First, hose down your HVAC unit with a high-pressure stream to remove any debris that’s gathered inside nooks and crevices during the off season (This is almost inevitable.) Next, it’s time to replace the air filter in your home — the most critical step in regular HVAC maintenance. Most HVAC manufacturers recommend replacing your filter every three months, so at least once seasonally, and certainly at the start of the season. You can easily do this yourself, or have a professional handle it for you.
2. Clean your ducts.
Just like the filters, you can opt to do this yourself, or hire a professional. (Though it’s a bit more involved, so many people do prefer to outsource it.) Cleaning your ducts may help reduce allergens and ensure that air is flowing freely and without contamination — important to respiratory health, and especially if you have pets that shed significantly.
3. Clean your gutters.
Everyone’s favorite activity, right? But just like cleaning your ducts or replacing filters, cleaning your gutters can prevent a problem when it would be least convenient — say, in the midst of a rainstorm. This is probably one of the most important.
4. Upgrade your home's insulation.
A slightly more involved endeavor, but early summer is a great time to take a look at the insulation, particularly in your attic. The impact on your cooling bill could be significant. Even if you have a high-efficiency HVAC, a poorly insulated home could mean that heat is permeating into your home, making your HVAC work harder to maintain the temperature you desire.
5. Clean refrigerator coils.
Possibly something you’ve never considered before — and if that’s the case, all the more reason to tackle it right away. Simply remove the back lower panel of the refrigerator and vacuum the coils, preferably with a brush attachment to help remove dust and other material that’s gathered there. This will help your refrigerator stay cool more efficiently, potentially extend the life of your refrigerator, and ultimately help you save on utility costs.
6. Upgrade to wifi-enabled devices.
Is a smart thermostat really worth the investment? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it is — you could save as much as 10% on utility bills by having a system that syncs and auto-adjusts your home’s temperature during certain parts of the day or during certain activities. Over the life of the product, that could easily equate to thousands in savings.
If you want professional help with your pre-summer home prep, you can find a trusted contractor in your area using our find a contractor tool on our site by clicking the button below. Have a happy and safe summer!