Whether you own a turn-of-the-century farmhouse with fireplaces in every room, a mid-century modern fixer-upper with a furnace, or a 21st-century loft with a thermostat that talks to your phone, maintaining your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) is crucial.

When the pipes or the filters get clogged, things get sluggish and can make you and your home sick. We’ll share some expert tips to keep your HVAC systems functioning well. Not only will it keep your family safe and healthy, but it can also improve the value of your home.

Fireplaces

Fireplaces are charming and can augment your modern heating systems, as long as they’re well maintained. The most crucial component is the chimney, where creosotes can build up and become highly combustible. In addition to observing safe-burning practices, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect and clean the chimney regularly.

Appliances

Following the directions in their manuals, change filters on air and water handling appliances (air circulation systems, furnaces, and dehumidifiers) and keep compressors clear of obstructions. This will prevent the combustible engines in your appliances from overheating and help them work more effectively.

Thermostats

Replace old thermostats with programmable models, then use them to maintain consistency. Moving the numbers up and down too often minimizes efficiency. However, lowering the temps while you’re out and bringing them up as you approach home will lower utility bills without straining your system.

Get a Home Energy Audit

If you feel your home systems aren’t as efficient as they could be, consider scheduling a professional home-energy audit – there are private inspectors who perform the service, but your utility provider may offer a free or discounted program. Let a professional evaluate the structure of your home and how much energy it loses around doors and windows, water heating, lighting, appliances, and heating and cooling systems. You’ll find out what else you can do to maximize the energy efficiency of your home, lower utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and maintain your systems safely.

Replacing your HVAC System

If you replace your HVAC system, consider the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) – the higher the rating, the better – and factor in any future expansions that the system will need to serve. Look for government incentives that can help you manage the costs upfront, then watch for the lower utility bills likely to come once your home runs more efficiently.

Don’t allow an old HVAC system to hold up your home sale after an inspection. If you’re about to put your house on the market, making these smart updates will sell your home faster and for more money. Contact a BHHS Fox & Roach real estate professional for more expert guidance.