HVAC systems help seniors stay safe and comfortable while they’re at home. If you’re a senior or someone who helps an elderly relative take care of themselves at home, look at the following HVAC tips. You’ll find there are many things you can do to maintain a practical and functional HVAC system.
Use a HEPA Filter
Wildfire smoke is becoming a regular occurrence in states like California, where significant wildfires often happen during the wildfire season. Seniors are significantly affected by smoke from wildfires, which can complicate chronic heart and lung diseases.
You can improve indoor air quality in your home by using a HEPA filter in the HVAC system. HEPA filters can filter particles from wildfire smoke out of the air, which can help improve your home’s indoor air quality.
HEPA filters, like other HVAC air filters, must be replaced regularly. The EPA recommends replacing your home’s HVAC air filter every three months or sooner if it becomes dirty. If you have a HEPA filter, it may look dirty quickly because it can filter out smaller particles than standard air filters.
Check your HEPA filter once per month whenever the HVAC system is in use, and replace the filter as needed. Look for the air filter slot between the return air duct and the blower. Pull out the filter, buy an identical one from your local hardware store, then slide the new one into place.
Maintain Safe Indoor Air Temperatures
Seniors are especially vulnerable to cold and hot temperatures. Some studies show seniors are more likely to experience falls and accidents in chilly rooms.
For this reason, seniors need to maintain a comfortable temperature at home. Using the air conditioner and furnace at the correct times of the year can help. This is especially important in Modesto, where the average temperature in July is over 90 degrees, and the average temperature in January is less than 40 degrees.
Seniors who live on a fixed income will sometimes maintain less-than-comfortable temperatures at home to save money. Some may also neglect HVAC maintenance to save money on HVAC contractors. Avoid these temptations and always do what you must to maintain safe indoor air temperatures.
Check the Thermostat
Check your thermostat often to ensure that you use your furnace and air conditioner consistently. If money is tight in your household, work out a plan to ensure you can afford to keep your HVAC system running. Make a budget and identify other ways to save money, to ensure that HVAC costs are affordable.
Get Regular Tune-Ups
Preventative care is often less costly than repairs and can prevent HVAC breakdowns from occurring. Many HVAC contractors offer tune-up services to keep your HVAC system in good condition throughout its service life. Shop around to find the best deals. Some contractors may charge lower prices at slower times of the year. Ask about this when you schedule the appointment.
Clean the Air Conditioner Condenser
Debris inside the air conditioner condenser can cling to the coils and may prevent the condenser from releasing heat, which puts unnecessary wear and tears on the air conditioner. To keep your condenser in good condition, vacuum the coils inside the condenser and then spray down the inside with a hose. This is a low-cost way to prevent air conditioner breakdowns.
Remember to turn off the power to the air conditioner condenser before you start this job. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the condenser yourself, ask the HVAC contractor to do this for you during the tune-up.
Reduce the Burden on Your HVAC System
You can also perform a few tasks around the house to keep your HVAC costs down and ensure that the system runs efficiently.
Weather Strip the House
You can maintain a comfortable temperature inside your house with weather stripping. Weather stripping often takes the form of strips of foam that can seal the cracks around doors and windows.
Installing weather stripping puts less burden on the HVAC system and tightens up the building envelope to prevent energy loss. Weather stripping can be done at any time of year, especially before summer or winter.
Once weather stripping is installed, it can be used all year round. However, some kinds of weather stripping will wear down over time. Check weather stripping every fall and spring, and replace it once it becomes too old to be effective.
Reduce Direct Sunlight
You can also reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing blinds and windows in rooms exposed to direct sunlight. This helps prevent the summer sun from warming your home at the height of summer, which can increase air conditioning costs.
Contact Your HVAC Professional
To find out more about how you can take care of your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and perform any required services.