Five Steps to Ready Your Home for a Cozy and Budget-Friendly Fall
American Home Shield offers expert advice on home efficiency ahead of #EnergyAwarenessMonth
Public Company Information:
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With today marking the first official day of fall, many homeowners are glad to see the promise of cooler weather on the horizon. Although the season brings a welcome relief from the record-breaking heat that much of the nation has endured this summer, the experts at American Home Shield, the nation’s largest provider of home warranties, encourage homeowners to do some simple home maintenance now so their homes will be ready and energy efficient for the colder temps ahead.
Whether you prefer to DIY or call in a professional to help, home maintenance should be consistent and ongoing – not when a system or appliance begins to malfunction. According to a recent survey of American Home Shield’s network of contractors, more than 80 percent say that homeowners could avoid nearly half of all service repair calls by following routine maintenance recommendations, and even more (87 percent) agree that following these guidelines could save homeowners hundreds of dollars.
“With a little attention to the inside and outside of a home, homeowners can help avoid some costly repairs and even trim energy bills,” says Dave Quandt, vice president of field operations for American Home Shield, a business unit of ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV). “The most important thing is to be proactive at the start of the season by assessing your home and systems, and to work with a professional on any problems that may have surfaced. This could help avoid costly damage-beyond-repair in the future.”
To help homeowners enjoy a more energy efficient home this fall and winter, American Home Shield and its network of nearly 14,000 professional service contractors have teamed up to share five steps that should be at the top of everyone’s home maintenance checklist.
1. Wake your heating system from hibernation
No homeowner wants to wake up seeing their own breath because the furnace broke down in the middle of the night. Schedule a furnace checkup now with a heating system professional to ensure everything is running properly and that your system meets the manufacturer’s rated efficiency. One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is restricted air flow to the heating system, so have a contractor check that the filters and coils are allowing for enough air flow. Getting ahead of this issue will help you avoid appointment delays during the busy winter season and give you peace of mind.
2. Give your gutters a fresh start
Leaves, twigs and other debris can easily clog gutters, which can lead to ice dams. Ice dams cause melting water to back up and flow into the house, resulting in a very expensive repair. Save yourself the money and trouble by thoroughly cleaning out your gutters after the leaves have fallen. Make sure to tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn sections before it’s too late. Check that downspouts extend at least five feet away from the foundation. If they don’t, buy an inexpensive extension.
3. Mind the gaps
Walk around the inside and outside of your home and check it for air tightness, carefully looking for any signs of cracks where air could leak out, as this can be a significant source of energy loss. An inexpensive tube of caulk can help seal the leaks and also help prevent moisture from getting inside the walls of your home. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes through walls or floors.
4. Get smart – a smart thermostat, that is
The Wi-Fi rage is real, especially when it comes to your thermostat. If you still have a manual thermostat or even a programmable one, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Today’s models can learn your living patterns, heat only rooms that are occupied, turn up the heat as you near your home, allow you to make adjustments remotely from your phone, and much more. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent a year in energy usage (and on your utility bills) by making smart adjustments to your thermostat.
5. Double-check doors
Inspect all doors that open to the outside or to the attic and be sure that they close tightly. An easy way to check for air leaks: place a piece of tissue in a clothespin, hold it at various points along the doorway and watch for any movement near the edge of the door and the frame. If you have a leak, take a photo of your door and door jamb, and ask an employee at your local hardware store for help finding the right weatherstripping or door sweeps. Air leaks cause your heating system to work harder, which costs you more money on your utility bills – and can shorten the lifespan of your system.
*Survey: American Home Shield 2017 Contractor PR Survey
American Home Shield founded the home warranty industry in 1971 and remains the industry leader. Together with all of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, American Home Shield services approximately 1.6 million customers in all 50 states. The companies operate five customer service centers, employ approximately 1,700 employees and have a national contractor network made up of nearly 14,000 independent home service contractors and more than 45,000 service technicians. American Home Shield® is the Official Home Warranty of Minor League Baseball™. American Home Shield is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The ServiceMaster network of companies includes AmeriSpec, American Home Shield, Furniture Medic, Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, ServiceMaster Restore and Terminix.
ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV) is a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services, operating through an extensive service network of more than 8,000 company-owned locations and franchise and license agreements. The company’s portfolio of well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). We serve residential and commercial customers through an employee base of approximately 13,000 company employees and a franchise network that independently employs an estimated 33,000 additional people. The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/ServiceMaster. ServiceMaster® is the Official Home Services Provider of Minor League Baseball™.