The Christmas tree is up. The ball is about to drop from Times Square. And you’re making your new year’s resolutions. Does your list include reminders to be nice to your HVAC system? If not, here are 12 suggestions (hint: not “one a month”; take care of them as quickly as you can).

  1. Change your filters. Clean filters keep the air coming into your home cleaner and make your furnace and air conditioner run more efficiently. Change your 1-inch filters monthly, thicker filters twice a year. You may even want to input “change filter” on your phone’s calendar to remind you.
  2. Maintain your furnace and AC. Have a professional HVAC contractor tune up your AC in the spring and your furnace in the fall. That will make them ready for the hot summer and cold winter, respectively, and will allow you to identify small problems before they become large problems.
  3. Invest in a programmable thermostat. These allow you to preset the temperature based on the time of day, so you can be comfortable when awake and at home and save money when you are asleep or not at home. Most programmable thermostats today are Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control the temperature from your tablet or phone.
  4. Consider zoning. If your house has more than one level or if different members of your family prefer different temperatures, zoning your home might make sense.
  5. Check your ducts for leaks. Leaks in the ductwork can result in heat loss (or cooling loss in the summer) as well as allow contaminants such as pet dander, pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to enter your home.
  6. Clean your ducts. Even if there are no leaks, ducts will accumulate contaminants that can enter your home. Have your ducts cleaned by a professional duct cleaning service.
  7. Install an air purifier. An air purifier contains a filter with a high MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) that will trap small particles, removing contaminants from the air.
  8. Seal. Seal cracks around your doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home during the winter and hot air during the summer.
  9. Insulate. Make sure your attic is properly insulated as well, keeping air from entering your home.
  10. Curtains (and shades). Keep the curtains and shades open during the day in the winter, letting the sun warm your home. Then close them at night. Conversely, keep them closed during the day in the summer to keep the hot sun out. Then open them at night, and even open the windows if it is cool enough.
  11. Unblock vents. Make sure furniture is not blocking vents and preventing them from bringing air into your living area.
  12. Ceiling fans are a great way to save money. Have them spin counterclockwise in the summer, and clockwise in the winter to make your room more comfortable and to save on utility bills.