Tips to avoid the chill and high bill

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When you walk out your door in the early hours of the morning, it definitely feels like fall. It's a reminder we will soon switch from AC to heat and that could mean your HVAC unit is due for a check up.

Imagine sleeping outside your home on a cold night? If your heating system breaks, inside will feel like outside, so before the fall chill hits, it's important to get your system checked now.

Especially before it gets cold and companies get busy. One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning handles more than 50 maintenance calls a day. Once it gets really hot, or really cold, that's when repair calls come in. This company takes more than 85 repair calls a day. Avoid being one of those calls by maintaining your own system.

"The more you maintain it, you can actually catch problems before they become a repair. Call when you don't have any heat and it's 25-30 degrees outside, you can stay ahead of the curve," said Service Manager of One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Anthony Spadone.

Clean air ducts
You might need an expert to clean your ducts. Experts say this should be done every seven to ten years, to remove anything from dust to dead skin cells, which will stop your system from working the way it should. It could also cause your allergies to kick in and those bills to climb.

Seal leaks
Things you can do now is seal up leaks around your home that let air escape, or come in.

Change air filters
Also, check your filters, both indoor and out. Experts recommend changing air filters monthly. A dirty filter will cost your bills to climb.

"It could be substantial, the difference of probably 40 percent of an increase because the system is working harder to cool or heat," said Spadone. "Without the components being cleaned, it will make the system work harder, it will cause a premature failure in the equipment as well."

Avoid drastic temperature changes in thermostat
Something else that will make your system work harder, is constantly changing the temperature, which may be tempting with this back and forth weather.

Experts say there's not a "golden number" to keep your thermostat on, it's about your comfort level and when you find that comfortable temperature, keep it there. Changing your thermostat by more than two degrees, will change the numbers on your bill.

"The key is to have all these components working properly and clean, to get your best efficiency, which will in turn, keep your bills down," said Spadone.

If you can't check your system, have someone do it for you. The more you maintain your system, the more you will save in the long run.

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