Natural gas prices are surging after a dramatic change to U.S. weather forecasts indicating that winter-like temperatures will take hold in much of the country over the next few weeks.
According to CNBC, the surprise forecasts comes on the heels of a two-month rally that increased natural gas futures up 12%. Prices have been trading at highs going back to January as U.S. stockpiles of the fuel are actually at the lowest levels in over a decade.
As homeowners across the country prepare for the upcoming colder temperatures, it’s important to stay on top of air conditioning maintenance, both in terms of maximizing household gas efficiencies and preventing some serious financial and health concerns.
For instance, neglecting proper AC maintenance inside the home over the winter can end up filling your home with dangerous mold and mildew. According to The Washington Post, that exact thing happened to Jeanne Huber.
“We began to see mildew on coats in our front closet — so bad that I had to throw some away,” Huber said, who replaced her 25-year-old whole-house air conditioner. “I replied our basement dehumidifier, but found no evidence of any water leaks. Then, I discovered milder on our furniture that flanked an AC vent, which was also covered in mildew. Now I have mildew on my dining room hutch, two jam cupboards, and on items stored in a basement that had been fine for the 22 years we have lived here.”
Neglecting AC maintenance — even over the winter — can easily lead to mildew buildup inside a home, as well as increased energy bills and wasted gas. Here are some common causes for mildew inside a home that homeowners should be aware of:
- Clogged drip pans
- Clogged or dirty filters
- Moist ductwork
- Clogged condensate drain line
- Dirty interior parts of the AC unit
Replacing central air conditioning equipment — especially components that are more than 15 years old — can result in energy savings and prevent mildew and other issues. Yet even in the age of Energy Star appliances, about 20% of homes built during the 1980s still contain HVAC equipment that is at least 20 years old. Don’t neglect your AC maintenance over the winter in order to keep your home comfortable, efficient, and mildew-free.