Summer is coming.
Although it is only January, we Arizona homeowners can feel the heat lurking in our not-too-distant future. Is your new home ready to embrace the weather? One Avenue Inspectors always find the following little problems in Arizona homes, old and new. These easy fixes can greatly decrease your energy bill and increase your home’s efficiency. In reality, this is a beginning checklist for any Arizona homeowner, not just the new family on the block.
1. Check the attic’s insulation
Many new homes in the Valley do not have attics, however, most old homes have some sort of a storage or crawl space above the ceiling (often above the master bedroom, laundry room, or garage). This space closest to the roof will get extremely hot in the summer due to lack of airflow. When you first move in, climb up and examine the amount of insulation in your attic. Is there at least six inches everywhere? Does it seem damaged?
Here is a guide on attic insulation (and exactly how much Arizona homeowners need)!
2. Check the water heater’s temperature
If you are new to Phoenix, you will soon find out what delights the months of June, July, and August bring us in terms of weather (or lack thereof). Water heaters have a high optimum temperature option- much hotter than any hot water you will be needing. Let’s be honest, the pool will turn into bathwater in a few months anyways. Turn your water heater down to about 120 degrees. Stop wasting energy just keeping extra hot water that you will never use in your water heater! Save some money on your energy bill without even noticing.
3. Check for ceiling fans
The inspectors at One Avenue Inspection cannot emphasize this enough: FANS. Install them in every room now, and you will thank us later. Not only are they energy-efficient to install and use, but due the the air circulation they provide, you don’t have to keep your air conditioning quite as low as you normally would have for the same comfort level. Remember to use the air reversal switch on your fan to blow air down in the summer and up in the winter!
4. Check all vents
All of the vents in your home, whether near the ground or the ceiling, should be unobstructed and cleaned of dust. Take a wet rag around and clean the outer part of every vent in your new Arizona home. You’ll want to do this several times a year as Arizona is still the classic ‘Wild West’ in terms of our dust population… Replace all of the air filters in your new Phoenix home as well, just to be cautious and clean. A bad or dirty filter is not only unhealthy to breathe from, but it puts extra strain on your air conditioning unit (which means extra change from your pocket).
5. Check the seals on the doors and windows
This is fairly simple, yet crucial for keeping your costs and temperatures down. Go over all of the cracks and crevices on your home’s outer walls. If you find places where air is coming through, use some caulk or weatherstripping to keep the cool air inside! Here are some suggestions from Energy.gov about how to properly weatherseal your home.
Finally, write down a home maintenance checklist. Laminate it. Save it to a USB drive. Paste it all over your laundry room cabinets. Whatever works for you so that you continue regular home maintenance, even after you have been living in your Phoenix home for several years. One Avenue Inspection recommends doing a quarterly or semi-annual walk through of your home (particularly between summer/winter) following your initial move-in checklist. This can extend the life of almost everything in your home, which will save you a lot of money in the end!