Although it doesn’t always seem like it, since warmer weather is on the way it’s a good time to think about preparing your car and home for the change of season.
For the Home:
The Air Conditioner:
Has your home air conditioner (A/C) not been quite doing the job during the last few seasons? What about your furnace. If your furnace and A/C are over 15 years old, it may be time to consider replacing the one or both. New Blue Energy Star label units use less energy and are more efficient. Although you are on the hook for the upfront cost, your benefit is lower heating and air conditioning bills for years to come and a probable boost to your home’s resale value.
A/C Spring cleaning:
If you decide that an upgrade is not needed, cleaning the A/C condensing unit of leaves and debris and replacing old filters can increase efficiency.
Evaluating Your Use Patterns.
If you’re not home during the day, how cool does your home need to be? A programmable thermostat may be just the ticket. Setting the thermostat higher during the day and as cool as needed when you are home can mean big savings on your electrical bill.
When you heat your home in the winter or cool it in the summer, do you leave your front door open? If weather seals around your doors or windows are worn out, it’s the same as leaving the door to your home open. Heated air escapes in winter and the hot outdoor air invades your home in summer. A 1/8” gap around an entryway door is equivalent to having a 5 1/2” hole through an outside wall. Use silicon weather stripping, typically available at your local hardware store to seal those gaps. It shrinks or expands with the change of seasons and is a straightforward do-it-yourself weekend project.
Checked your attic insulation lately?
New weather stripping around doors and windows won’t have the desired effect if the same type of air leakage happens through your attic. The R-value of insulation is a measure of its ability to resist heat flow. The level of insulation in your attic should be even and cover the joists. If not, add more. Also, check for attic ventilation. Energy star reports that a well-vented attic will move super-heated summer air out of the attic and protect roof shingles from moisture accumulation.
Don’t forget your car
Routine Vehicle Maintenance: 1) tires, 2) oil, and 3) brakes.
When the weather gets warmer, if you have winter tires installed, they should be changed out. Have tires checked and rotated and have air pressure checked in all tires. Is it time for an oil change? Another checkpoint is the type of oil. Some people use a different weight of oil in warmer weather. And since you are checking, don’t forget to have all the brakes checked too.
Vehicle Air Conditioner (A/C) Inspection
An A/C check can identify potential problems. If your car needs coolant, that can indicate an issue. It’s never good to be stuck in traffic without A/C.
Although you can probably identify more items to add to this checklist, this will give you a good start. Have a great summer!