Essential HVAC Maintenance Tips

You need to service your heating and cooling system more than once a year, unlike other systems that only need servicing annually. To make sure your HVAC system is performing at its best, there are some checks and tasks you can carry out yourself. You can save on your energy bills, prolong the life of your HVAC system and prevent small issues from becoming bigger and costlier problems when you know what to look for yourself.

During the Year

Trees, plants and shrubs should be cut back so that they are several feet from your unit, and tall grass and other debris should be kept away from your outside unit. Gently brush off any pine needles, pollen, leaves and other debris from your outside unit. And to prevent damage, outside furniture, tools, bikes and toys should also be kept away from your exterior unit.

Visual Inspections

Damaged fins, leaking water, frozen coils or a dirty evaporator are all problems that you’ll need a professional HVAC technician for. Check regularly for these and other issues. And any odd vibrations or noises coming from your unit probably means you’ll need to call a professional technician too.

Every Three Months

So that the air flows properly, be sure to change the filters in your unit every three months. However, the instructions that came with your specific system may call for changing the filters more often than every quarter. Remember that your HVAC unit is probably working harder when there’s a cold snap, and you may want to change the filters more often than every three months in that case.

Thermostat

You can save energy and avoid overloading your HVAC system by adjusting your thermostat setting as the temperature changes. Use the ‘cool’ setting when it starts to get warm; use the ‘heat’ or ‘warm’ setting during cooler times of the year. The setpoint temperature should not be hotter than room temperature in summer and spring, and the temperature outside. And the setpoint temperature shouldn’t be colder than the outside temperature or the room temperature once winter arrives. An HVAC expert can help you with all of these settings if you are one of the many homeowners who find it all confusing.

Electrical Connections

Your system may not perform efficiently and can even be unsafe if you notice connections that are loose or broken, and that’s the time to call a professional. Call an HVAC expert unless you’re able to just replace that loose connection or plug it back.

Fall and Winter

Fall is a good time to have your HVAC system looked over by a professional. All the moving parts should be thoroughly checked during an inspection, as well as all the other important areas of your system. These include the fuel lines, heat exchangers, exhaust outlets, voltage and electrical connections.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Testing your carbon monoxide detector ensures that it’s working as it should, and replacing the batteries regularly is also a must.

Furnace

In the fall, turn on the water supply and replace your humidifier wick.

Ice

A little ice on your unit isn’t a problem, but if you notice blocks or sheets of ice, call an expert rather than remove it yourself. It’s safe to gently remove snow from your unit though.

Spring and Summer

A thorough and professional check of your HVAC system should be carried out in early spring before it starts to get warm. Checking all the moving parts and cleaning any components that are dirty should be included in this check.

Inspect Your Refrigerant Lines

Find the larger of the two copper lines that are connected to your condenser. In the spring and summer, you can tell that you have adequate levels of refrigeration if that line has condensation on it or feels cold. You’ll need to contact an HVAC expert if that copper line isn’t cold or there’s no condensation on it. Whenever your A/C system is being used, you should check the refrigerant levels; one of the biggest causes of system malfunction is a low refrigerant level.

You can get the most from your HVAC system and ensure it lasts as long as possible when you have regular maintenance carried out. We all know that it’s never convenient when you have problems with your HVAC system, especially if it’s in the middle of the night or when it’s 100 degrees outside. It’s worth the cost of calling an expert out, and you shouldn’t attempt repairs yourself unless you know what you’re doing. Annual maintenance on your HVAC system should always be carried out by a technician who is experienced and licensed; this ensures the job is done properly the first time and it also means that you won’t void your system’s warranty accidentally.