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Energy Savings FAQ

Should I get my air ducts cleaned?

Despite aggressive duct cleaning advertising, it is unlikely that cleaning your air ducts will result in a more efficient HVAC system or significantly improve your indoor air quality. You can test for yourself if you need a good duct cleaning by using a flash camera to take a picture of your duct’s insides. If you can see a lot of dust and debris or if you see some of that dust coming out of your vents when you turn the air on, it might be a good time to call the home experts at Universal to see if indeed you could benefit from a full duct cleaning.

What would work better for energy efficiency is to seal your air ducts. Duct leakage causes a lot more inefficiency than dirty ducts. This is a DIY project if you want it to be, but if your air ducts are old and damaged, it might be best to have your ducts replaced.

See our previous blog post about how to seal your ductwork.

If you want your local HVAC technician to conduct a “blower door” test, it will add to your expense, but you will get professional knowledge about where exactly your leaks are and how much air is leaking. To save yourself time and mistakes, we suggest you have this energy audit service performed. In fact, many local building codes require this “blower door” test. Beyond learning how much energy it takes to heat and cool your home, your Universal home expert will let you know of all the ways that you can improve energy efficiency.

Do I really need to have a heating system tune-up every year?

No, you don’t need to have one every year, but we highly recommend it. Having your heating system serviced annually can double your system’s lifespan compared to one that is not serviced every year. We suggest having your heating system serviced in the fall before the winter weather hits. If you wait until that first frigid day to find out that you have problems with your heater, you and everyone else will be calling to have it serviced, and you may have to wait until a technician is available.

Having regular maintenance on your heating system is also sometimes required to keep your system’s warranty in effect. Why? It is common HVAC knowledge that system performance and lifespan drastically suffer and energy consumption increases in non-maintained systems. At Universal Home Experts, over ¾ of our service calls for heaters could have been prevented with proper annual maintenance.

Get your heating system tune-up now!

Before you go ahead and call us because your heater isn’t turning on, check the thermostat to make sure it is at the right temperature setting and make sure there are no electrical shorts or loose wires and that the breaker switch is on. If you have checked these things and your furnace still isn’t turning on, call the home experts at Universal to diagnose the problem.

Do I need more insulation for my home?

It depends. To determine whether or not your home has the correct amount of insulation, there are a few things you can do. First, go up to your attic with a ruler and measure the thickness of your insulation. If it is fiberglass or rock wool, it should be at least 11 inches thick; if it is cellulose, measure at least 8 inches.

There should be insulation on your attic hatch as well as the floor. Here is a good video that shows you how to create an air tight attic hatch.

While you are up there, check for air leakages, including your air ducts and floor boards. Use mastic sealing for your air duct leaks and expandable foam spray or caulk for any cracks and leaks you find in the floor and around pipes and wiring. You insulation won’t be doing much if you haven’t first sealed all the openings in the floors and walls of your attic.

Schedule your annual heating tune-up today so that you don’t find yourself having to suffer through a bitter cold night from a broken heater. At Universal we care about your safety and comfort. Rest assured when you schedule an appointment with us that all of your HVAC needs will be met.

For a full list of services, visit us on our website or give us a call today at (713) 364-0226. Check our website and Facebook or Twitter for more expert advice on how to make your home more energy efficient.