Useful HVAC Maintenance Tips
Do you need to have an HVAC system maintenance check? Maybe you’ve only had your system for a few years and it seems to be running just fine. Should you put forth the effort to have a maintenance checkup?
HVAC systems are like owning vehicles: Imagine that you bought a brand new car, and you spent a lot of money on it. Would you ignore regular checkups and the service maintenance required? Probably not. If your vehicle is older and you want to keep it on the road and working efficiently longer, regular maintenance is necessary.
It’s the same with an HVAC system. If you invested in a newer heating or cooling unit, you want to make sure it’s working efficiently, and that you’re getting value for the money you paid for it. If your HVAC system is nearing the end of its 10- to 15-year average lifespan, it is essential to get your older system serviced regularly. The minimal investment to do that now will be much less than the cost of breakdowns, loss of efficiency or unexpected repairs.
What are the benefits of regular maintenance?
1 Lower energy bills
2 Fewer repair bills
3 Avoid costly surprises
4 Equipment lasts longer
5 Better air quality for your home
For a winter maintenance check, here are the areas a HVAC technician will review:
Thermostat settings: The right thermostat settings help maintain a comfortable temperature while also saving energy.
Electrical connections: If electrical connections are defective, they may damage HVAC equipment or make it hazardous to operate. Motors should have the correct voltage and current.
Condensate drain: Should the condensate drain be plugged, it may lead to water damage, musty air due to mold 1, and increased humidity in the house.
System controls: The controls work properly if the system starts, operates, and turns off normally. Malfunctioning system controls can become a safety issue.
Heating elements or heat exchanger: If these get damaged, they could lead to problems with carbon monoxide.
Moving parts: If moving parts are not properly lubricated, they can cause friction in the motors (which in turn results in greater energy use).
Flue system: To make sure it is securely attached to the furnace.
Clean air filter: A clean air filter is crucial for an efficient airflow indoors. Air filters should be cleaned or switched out regularly.
Humidifier: For a humidifier to operate effectively, it must be clean and free from mold as well as debris.
Belts and pulleys: Replace frayed belts and pulleys.
While you want to ensure you have an HVAC technician look over your system each spring and fall, there are some things you can do yourself to help keep your HVAC equipment operating efficiently throughout the year.
Here’s what you can do, as a homeowner, for your HVAC maintenance:
1 Make sure to clear debris around your outside units, with at least 2 feet of clearance around any AC uni or heat pump. That means removing leaves, twigs, dirt and pollen from around or on top of the unit. And when you’re cutting grass in the summer, make sure the lawnmower doesn’t throw the clippings onto the unit.
2. Check your refrigerant lines monthly. Refrigerant lines that come from your HVAC unit into your home are what ensure you have the heating or the cooling you need. If those lines get worn, develop leaks or become detached, you won’t get the comfortable temperatures you and your family want. Even in the winter, check these lines at least once a month.
3. Eliminate clogs by, once a year, mix bleach with one cup of water, and pour it down the air conditioner condenser drain to clean out any buildup.
4. In summer, turn off water supplied to your furnace’s humidifier. There is no reason to keep a humidifier running in summer. When the weather starts to cool in late summer or early fall, and you’re thinking about turning on the heat, install a new filter and set your humidistat to around 40 percent humidity. Then, turn on the water supply.
5. Don’t shut too many registers
You never want to shut more than about 20 percent of your home’s registers. If you do, you will put an unnecessary burden on your system by forcing it to work harder to give you the level of heat or cooling you want.
Our company, Small Solutions LLC, offers HVAC installations, maintenance and repairs in the Northern Virginia area. Are you in our area? Give us a call to get your HVAC system running in tip top shape today!