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Money-Saving Benefits of Summer HVAC Maintenance

Money-Saving Benefits of Summer HVAC Maintenance

When it comes to HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) maintenance, there are specific tasks that should be done each season. While some overlap, many are unique to the season. This is because of the differences in weather, as well as the differences in the way each part of the HVAC unit functions.

For the summertime, specifics include cleaning the filters for adequate air flow, lubricating the moving parts, removing debris and moving unnecessary items away from the outdoor unit, and coil cleaning. It’s true that efficiency and comfort are two of the main benefits of HVAC maintenance, but what really brings a smile to a property owner’s face is the amazing money-saving benefits. You can be one of these smiling property owners by focusing on the main areas mentioned above. After all, this money can be much better spent — especially during the summertime!

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Air Filters

The quality of the air you breathe largely depends on the status of the HVAC unit’s air filters. Dirty filters not only restrict the airflow, they contaminate it.

This is how you’re saving money by maintaining the air filters:

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  • You’re preventing health concerns, which can lead to doctor visits. If you’re a residential property owner, you have your health to take care of as well as your family’s. If you’re a commercial property owner, you have many others. For commercial property owners, taking care of the air quality means taking care of those occupying the building.
  • Commercial buildings also come with codes that need to be followed. You’re preventing fines and other issues by making air quality a priority — as it should always be.

Outdoor Unit

Summertime calls for enjoying the outdoors, often including some of our favorite activities, such as bicycle riding and baseball. In order to enjoy these activities in the yard, you most likely have plans to clean it up. This should include removing any covering from the HVAC unit, as well as cleaning up the debris that may have formed around it. Once completed, avoid resting items on it. This might include a bicycle, sports equipment, and the lawnmower.

This is how you’re saving money by keeping the outdoor unit clean and clear:

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  • You’re preventing debris build-up, which can impact the inside of the system, including the efficiency of the moving parts.
  • You’re helping to keep the outside of the unit safe by not utilizing it to hold up items. This will also save your personal items from any damage. Items should be kept safe in a shed or garage, not up against an HVAC system that’s trying to perform its job.

Coil Cleaning

Especially if you live in a metro area, coil cleaning is crucial. Due to the higher amount of contamination in the outdoor air, these coils need to be cleaned more frequently than those that belong to HVAC systems in suburban areas. It’s advised to do this once a month during the summer months.

This is how you’re saving money by coil cleaning:

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  • You’re preventing the coils from overworking due to being dirty. In the long run, this helps to avoid system failure, which will result in a costly repair or the need for a completely new system. If a new system is what you end up needing, there’s a bright side — there are a wide variety of energy efficient models for sale.
  • You’re also keeping your energy bills lower. Because dirty coils are forced to overwork to achieve efficiency, more energy is being used.

Along with these important summer maintenance tasks, ensure that all windows and doors have proper seals. The goal is to avoid the cool air from escaping, causing you to frequently alter the temperature. If the cool air is escaping, warm air from the outside is most likely getting in. Letting air get through is like throwing money out the window. The same thought process goes for business owners. Comfortable temperatures will keep customers around during these months, but not-so-comfortable temperatures can scare them away for the season. In this situation, it’s best to spend the money on an efficient air conditioner and consider regular maintenance.

Featured photo credit: Markus via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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