As the co-founder and business director of the Franklin Music Academy, a music school that prides itself on cultivating lifetime music skills, I am always focused on operating an efficient home business. Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. With temperatures rising as we approach the summer months it is crucial that our customers and instruments stay cool.
HVAC Maintenance | Keep Your House Cool
The big $10,000 dollar question is how diligently are you maintaining your A/C unit? If you own a large home or a multi-floor residence, this question might easily be worth over $20,000 especially when the summer heat knocks out all of your units at the same time. Whether new to homeownership or a veteran, we all too often share one thing in common: neglecting the practical household high dollar items, namely the HVAC.
If you’re new to Austin, take it from me – it’s not fun when your home becomes a sweltering, hot inferno box. When my husband and I bought our first home in Austin, back when real estate was more reasonably priced, I remember the home inspector commenting on how dirty the HVAC filter was. I assumed that the filter was all you needed to change. The whirlwind of buying a home for the first time meant that I became very distracted with consuming, decorating, budgeting, and settling in. I didn’t realize that there was more that I needed to know. Then it happened- the A/C stopped working. To make it worse was the added concern that a drastic drop in temperature could throw every instrument we use for business out of tune. Luckily, we were able to get our HVAC fixed in time, but I made sure to make HVAC maintenance a priority. Here’s what I learned:
- Buy high-efficiency pleated filters immediately (cheaper if you buy these in bulk)
- Change filters every 3 months (newer HVACs require annual filter changes)
- Set the thermostat to as warm as you can tolerate it in the summer. Vice versa in the winter.
- Weather-strip household doors and seal windows to block heat or cold
- Seal air leaks in the attic and areas below your home if you have a crawl space or basement
- Keep some blinds/curtains closed during the day in the summer to block heat
- Keep A/C unit free of pollen, grass, and leaves
- Pour ¼ cup of distilled vinegar in the AC condensate drain line every month
As an alternative, you can opt to get your home professionally weatherized if some items on the checklist seem intimidating. There are home weatherization programs through Austin Energy that will provide assistance to households that have low to moderate incomes. If you don’t qualify for assistance, you should still consider getting this service through the city. It will pay you back ten-fold in utility bills. During the winter storm, my parent’s home was 20 degrees warmer than my house! Austin Energy also offers rebates when you purchase an energy efficient HVAC system giving you breaks on your income taxes.
Shop HVAC | Keep Your House Cool
If you’re considering buying an HVAC system, Costco is offering a full-line of Lennox air quality products. From air conditioners to furnaces, air filters to dehumidifiers, Lennox leads the industry in higher efficiency and lower utility costs. Costco is sweetening the deal by offering up to 15% Shop Card on qualifying Lennox products (offer expires 5/9/21). Last year, I shopped around and eventually decided to buy an HVAC through this service when they were offering 10%. Getting the $800+ Costco gift card in the mail after our install was the cherry on top.