Buying a home in or near Middletown, NY, is a big step in your life. Maybe you’ve dreamed of becoming a homeowner for a while. Perhaps you’ve already owned a home before, but you’ve decided to move here from another location or purchase a bigger home for your growing household.
As you know, the closing process for real estate transactions have a lot of hidden costs. The last thing you need is another expensive surprise on your first utility bill. Heating and cooling accounts for about 50% of your home’s energy use. Use these five tips to avoid unexpectedly high energy bills the first month after buying your home.
1. Check the Thermostat Settings
In the summertime, make sure the thermostat is set to cool. In the winter, verify that it’s set to heat. If you see that the emergency heat is turned on, turn it off. Using the emergency electrical resistance heating panel will cause your electricity bill to go up.
Take a look at the temperature setting on the thermostat. If it’s a programmable thermostat, you may need to update the settings. Make sure that the thermostat is set to keep your home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter while you’re away. For a smart thermostat, make sure it’s connected to your Wi-Fi service. You may need to input the new password for your router.
2. Change the Air Filter
Operating your new home’s heating or air conditioning system with a dirty air filter could cause it to use 15% more energy than necessary. This could cause a much bigger utility bill than you expected. Plan to check your air filter once per month. It’s a good idea to pick a day, such as the first day of the month, and check it that day. This will help you remember to do it each month. If the filter is dirty, replace it. Make certain to replace the filter every three months or sooner. Keeping a clean filter in the system reduces future repairs and extends the heating or air conditioning system’s lifespan.
3. Clean the Registers and Duct Openings
If any repairs were done to the home before you bought it, the ducts and registers could have a thick layer of buildup on them. This dust, dirt and debris buildup hinders airflow into the rooms of your home. Low airflow means that the heated or cooled air won’t reach living spaces. The thermostat won’t register much of a temperature change, so it will keep signaling to the heating or cooling system to start a new cycle. The rapid cycling will quickly lead to problems, such as a failed capacitor.
To clean the registers, use a screwdriver to remove the cover. Wipe the cover clean with a microfiber cloth dampened in warm, soapy water. Dry the cover with a clean cloth. Use the extension hose of a wet/dry vacuum or your regular carpet vacuum to suction debris out of the vent openings.
4. Schedule Duct Cleaning
Debris may be clogging air ducts in places where your vacuum’s hose can’t reach. This also hinders airflow and overworks your heating and cooling system. Consider having the ducts professionally cleaned before you move into your new home or shortly after moving in. The professional duct cleaning gets rid of dust and debris from remodeling. If the previous owners were smokers or had pets, the cleaning will also remove odors and allergens.
5. Consider Replacing Old Heating and Cooling Systems
There’s no doubt that buying a home is expensive. If your house has an air conditioning system that’s more than 12 years old, it’s using 30% more electricity to cool the home than a system built this year would use. The same is true for heat pumps over 12 years old and furnaces that are more than 25 years old. While you might not want the expense of a new heating and cooling system, it will lower your monthly expenses.
WK Mechanical, Inc. is proud to be the trusted source of heating and air conditioning in Middletown and the surrounding areas. We’re also ready to provide you with quality heating and cooling repairs, replacement and installation services. Our generator, water quality, indoor air quality and home comfort consultation services are designed to keep you comfortable and healthy. To learn more about lowering your Middletown area home’s heating or cooling costs, contact us at WK Mechanical, Inc. today.