Buying a new home can mean inheriting attached equipment and appliances from its previous owner. While your home inspector will check if your new home’s equipment and appliances turn on properly and are in working order, their age and efficiency may not receive much attention. Even after you move in, equipment and appliances can unexpectedly break down, costing you thousands in repair or replacement.
To help save you money, the following is a list of steps you can take when you move into your new home, plus ongoing maintenance tips.
Steps to take now:
- Replace air filters to improve your home’s air quality, maximize heating and cooling efficiency, and help avoid breakdowns.
- Schedule a professional to clean and sanitize air ducts.
- We recommend you change the indoor air filter every 2-3 months during the heating and cooling season to maximize efficiency. Homes with pets or smokers should have filters changed more often.
- It’s also a good idea to keep a stock of replacement filters.
2. Central air conditioner
Why: If your air conditioner isn’t working properly it will use more power and become more prone to breakdown.
Steps to take now:
- Clean the outdoor unit, removing all leaves, seedlings and weeds with a light brush or shop vac, and cut back all plants at least three feet in all directions from the unit’s exterior.
- Locate your thermostat in an area that is more frequently occupied to minimize over-cooling of less-used spaces.
- Consider a professional tune up.
- Clean the outdoor unit as detailed above at least twice during the cooling season to avoid heat build-up.
- Have a professional tune up every couple of years to cut down on costs and avoid mid-summer breakdowns.
- Consider upgrading to an R-410a system: these ultra-efficient air conditioning systems can save as much as 80 percent in energy costs compared to older units.
Why: If the furnace isn’t working efficiently, it could cost you more in energy as well as break down.
Steps to take now:
- If you own a gas furnace, have a qualified vendor perform maintenance, including a safety check, combustion chamber inspection and a burner tune-up.
- If you have an electric furnace, have a qualified technician perform maintenance, including checking for burned wires and loose connections.
- Oil furnace maintenance should include a safety check, combustion chamber cleaning and inspection, fuel nozzle inspection or cleaning, burner tune-up and an oil filter replacement.
- Hot water or boiler systems should also have the pressure relief valve tested.
- Keep the area around the furnace clear of obstructions and free of dust. Dust can get into the blower motor, causing overheating and premature failure.
- For safety, maintain an operating carbon monoxide detector near the furnace or boiler to identify potential leaks.
- Have a qualified technician perform annual maintenance.
- Check the air filter every month during the heating season and replace when dirty. The filter should be changed at least once every 2-3 months. Homes with pets or smokers should have their filters changed more often.
4. Check the energy rating of your appliances
- Upgrading inefficient appliances like the refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer, and dishwasher to modern ENERGY STAR® models can significantly reduce energy bills and lower your carbon footprint.
- Is there an older second fridge in the garage or basement? It’s probably consuming twice the energy of a more modern kitchen refrigerator.
5. Protect against costly breakdowns with insurance
- Manufacturers’ warranties on new appliances only cover manufacturer defects and are limited to a specific product or part, for a short period of time, such as one year. If you read the fine print, you may find that not all replacement parts or labour are covered.
- Extended warranties are expensive (up to 20 percent of the purchase price) and exclude many causes of breakdowns, such as faulty installation, improper usage, or lack of maintenance.
- Service contracts cover only a limited range of parts, and will not replace complete units should they become irreparable.
- Sensitive micro-circuitry now controls much of our home equipment, making breakdowns more common than ever.
Home Systems Protection is whole-house protection, covering both parts and labour for a wide range of home systems and technologies, and costs just pennies a day.
Contact us to find out how to get this coverage and access to MyHomeWorksTM online tools.
Central Air Conditioner-maintenance and loss prevention tips
Electric Furnace-maintenance and loss prevention tips
Gas Furnace-maintenance and loss prevention tips
Oil Furnace-maintenance and loss prevention tips
Thermostat-maintenance and loss prevention tips
© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.