How to Maintain Your Heating Unit to Keep Utility Bills Down

January 18, 2023
  |   1 Comment

Photo by Life Of Pix/Pexels

This article was written by Bret Martinez, he is the HVAC wizard of words, he demystifies the inner workings of your heating and cooling units. From fresh installations to budget-friendly maintenance. 

It’s that time of year, everyone’s slowly getting back into work, making new goals for the year, and motivating themselves to get back into being productive.

Well, except for us HVAC technicians; for us – the festive season was the start of a thunderstorm of calls. Customers are trying to figure out why their HVAC units burnt through their wallets in the festive season, maintenance calls are at their peak, and overall – we are busy, which is a great thing. 

We all know that famous line – did you turn it off and on again?

While it’s a bit more involved than that, a ton of the service calls that come in around this time of year have a similar solution. When last did you perform maintenance on your unit? Is the filter 10 years old? Well, that explains why your utility bills are eating up your budget!

Fall/Winter Preventive HVAC Maintenance

Let’s start with a quick list for winter. This is the time of the year when heaters are needed and costs soar. With these tips, you can save yourself time and money.

Visual check

  • Check the heat exchanger and ignition burner assembly. Also, ensure the other heating elements work as they should.
  • Examine all of the HVAC system’s moving parts. Lubricate those that can receive oil or WD-40.
  • Examine the drain line. Clear any trash or other foreign matter that clogs it.
  • Check your home’s thermostat and the other HVAC controls. Update to a smart thermostat to save money by creating schedules for your HVAC to streamline operation.
  • Check the system’s wiring. Healthy electrical connections help ensure healthy HVAC.
  • Examine the flue system for possible issues.
  • Check the pan for standing water. Any water present indicates a larger problem. Call a professional for repairs. Without addressing the problem, water can overflow and flood your home.

Noises to watch out for

  • Inspect the heat pump for proper operation. Note any odd noises.
  • Check the gas pressure. Note any gas leaks (detectable by a hissing sound or the smell of gas) and from which component it emits. Seal a leak or turn off the gas and call a professional HVAC technician.

Cleaning 

  • Replace your HVAC system’s air filters. Doing this every three months ensures better operation.
  • Check the fan, blower, ducts, and vents. Vacuum the vents to clean them out. This keeps debris from blowing into your home.

If your heater seems to break down more often, it could be one of two things:

  • Age 
  • It undersized and works hard to try and service an overly large space

For the former, replace aging heaters with a new unit. Despite the initial cost, their better efficiency will save you money in the long term.

For the latter, consider adding a wall furnace to a large room, such as the family room, living room, or workshop. These hard-to-heat rooms can drive up your utility bills since they cause your HVAC system to work harder to heat them.

Spring/Summer Preventive HVAC Maintenance

When winter turns to spring, you’ll have another set of maintenance tasks to go through. This set prepares your HVAC to switch to the air conditioning system. A few items duplicate from your fall/winter list since they need to occur on a regular basis to keep the HVAC healthy.

Visual check

  • Conduct a condenser check and clear the evaporator coil of dirt and debris.
  • Examine the drain lines. Clear any visible blockage to ensure free flow.
  • Check all parts for wear and tear. Replace worn parts, especially any belts showing wear.
  • Check the system and the area around it for mold. If you find mold, phone your HVAC professional and a mold abatement professional. The presence of mold constitutes a serious health risk.
  • Examine the air conditioner’s moving parts. These include the pulleys, fan motor, bearings, etc. Lubricate the moving parts appropriately.
  • Ensure the cabinet door securely closes. It should stay shut and open easily, too.
  • Check thermostat controls and timer. At this point, set the humidity level

Cleaning

  • Replace your HVAC system’s air filters.
  • Clean the outside of the AC unit.
  • Replace the system’s batteries. Double-check the AC’s electrical connections.

If you know little about HVAC systems, you needn’t become an expert. Many local HVAC service companies offer with maintenance plans to assist homeowners with regular HVAC upkeep. For a modest fee, a professional service technician visits your home twice a year to conduct the system checks described above.

During these visits, the technician notes any system problems and recommends appropriate repairs. Their maintenance fee typically includes replacing worn washers or belts.

The secondary benefit of this maintenance comes from spotting problems as they develop. Identifying a developing problem and nipping it in the bud can save time and money. Addressing an HVAC issue before a breakdown occurs saves you the emergency service fee. You also won’t lose service while it’s particularly cold or hot outside. Conduct your HVAC maintenance check today.



One comment on "How to Maintain Your Heating Unit to Keep Utility Bills Down"

  1. Polestar says:

    Yes, a filter in an average home lasts around 3 months, but a number of factors impact whether you need to change the filter more or less often. Here’s how to know how often you should replace filters: https://polestarplumbing.com/tips-tricks/must-know-air-quality-practices.

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