If you are like most homeowners, you consider your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system a year-round necessity. After all, your HVAC system keeps you cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Suffice it to say, it works even harder than your car.
However, just like your car, regular upkeep is needed to ensure it continues to work at peak efficiency. Aside from regular maintenance and complete home duct cleaning, below are other maintenance tips that can help keep costly HVAC repairs at bay:
Ideally, air filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days. It is also recommended that you check for clogs and dirt monthly. The more pets you have and the more people there are in the household, the more frequent your filters need to be changed.
Changing the filters is a crucial task that should not be overlooked. If anything, it should be included in your monthly maintenance routine since dirt and clogs that are left unattended for a prolonged period can ultimately damage your HVAC system.
Creating a maintenance plan is another task that should make it to your list of priorities. Come to think of it, having a maintenance plan can help ensure you won’t miss out on all the amazing benefits of having your system serviced routinely.
Vacuuming the vents can help keep dirt and dust from accumulating and obstructing the airflow. It is also crucial to periodically check the airflow to ensure that it is not weak. If you notice that the airflow is weak, it is ideal to have it checked by a professional right away.
If you have ductwork, have it inspected by technicians regularly for blockages. Understandably, debris can accumulate in the air ducts and can impede airflow. When this happens, the system will be forced to work harder.
In addition, ducts can also trap dust, dander, and even pests. Ducts that are not maintained properly can also develop leaks. This can cause the air to escape and compromise how your HVAC system works.
It’s easy to overlook the outside of the HVAC system, but here’s the surprising thing: the outdoor unit needs routine maintenance as much as the indoor one. For starters, ensure the unit is free from twigs, leaves, and other debris by cutting shrubs and plants by at least three feet.
Part of your maintenance routine should also include wiping the interior and exterior of the unit outside. If you deem fit, consider washing any dirt off using a garden hose.
Pay attention to any sound coming from your HVAC system. Do you hear any rattling, grinding, or thumping noises? While furnaces can be noisy the first time they are turned on, the noises should not continue throughout the year.
If your HVAC system is noticeably noisy, consider it best to have professionals check your system for any problems. You need to also pay close attention to how your home feels. Is it stuffy in some rooms? Is it chillier than what your thermostat indicates? If so, you need to have it checked right away.
You can minimize wear and tear significantly if you use a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to program setback periods while you are away or sleeping. You can also schedule recovery periods to restore a comfortable temperature before you wake up or arrive home.
While DIY maintenance can help prevent costly repairs, only a seasoned and trained technician can carry out a thorough cleaning, inspection, and safety check to ensure your HVAC system continues to function at peak efficiency for years to come.
About the author
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.