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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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