9 Common DIY Heating and Air Conditioning Mistakes

There are basic maintenance tasks you can handle on your own, but avoid making some of these common mistakes that may end up costing you more money and causing damage to your system.

1. Ignoring noise from your system. If you notice your system is making strange loud noises, call a professional right away. This is a sign that something may not be working properly.

2. Installing a thermostat yourself. Programmable thermostats are great because they allow you to have more control over your home’s heating and cooling functions. If set correctly, they can boost energy-efficiency, which can save you a chunk of change. However, if you want to ensure that you maximize your savings, call a professional. They will make sure that the thermostat is installed properly and working as it should.

3. Placing appliances close to the thermostat. Make sure that lamps, TVs, or other appliances that emit heat are not near the thermostat. The thermostat will sense the rise in temperature which can result in higher energy bills in the summer and a cold home in the winter.

4. Hiding your system. If you have an outdoor HVAC system, you may be tempted to “decorate” around the unit with shrubs and plants. However, to work effectively, the outdoor unit needs at least 12 inches of space around it. Otherwise, overcrowding may block ventilation and clog the system.

5. Turning off your ceiling fans. Use your ceiling fans in conjunction with your heating and cooling systems. Set your fans to turn clockwise in the winter, which creates and updraft that pushes warm air down. In the summer, set the fans to turn counter-clockwise to create a breeze effect.

6. Skipping annual maintenance. At Burkholder’s we recommend annual (and in some cases semi-annual) cleanings and tune-ups. Keeping up with your maintenance can improve efficiency and extend the life of your equipment. Our trained professionals can spot a small problem before they become a major, expensive one. Also, some warranties require homeowners to service their systems on a regular basis. Otherwise, you may risk voiding the warranty.

7. Ignoring stale smells. If you suddenly notice your heating or cooling system is emitting a strange order or the air in your home seems stagnant, call a professional. This may be another sign that something is amiss with your system.

8. Skipping filter changes. Remember to check and change your systems filter on a regular basis. We recommend every 1 to 3 months depending on the type of system. Filters that are clogged or dirty will impact efficiency and may even cause damage to the system. If you live with pets or a smoker, you will find you need to change them more frequently.

9. Calling the cheapest service company. Keep in mind that the lowest bid may not be the best deal. As a homeowner, it’s important to use a qualified, professional, HVAC company. ┬áRemember, the cost to heat and cool your home makes up about 54% of your utility bills. ┬áSo, spending a little extra for a knowledgeable technician now, may help you save money in the long term.