Does HVAC Maintenance really matter is a question I get often? The answer is straight forward: efficient operation of your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system) can greatly reduce the cost of utility bills, improve the comfort level of your home, and help avoid an air conditioning repair or furnace emergency. Creating a maintenance schedule for your HVAC system and implementing these steps will increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
A professional checkup of your HVAC units at least once a year will help keep your system operating at peak performance. This generally includes a check of air conditioner chemical refrigerant levels, furnace heat exchanger and burner operation, lubrication check of the blower assembly, control system operation, and filter condition. Keeping your system operating at peak performance will reduce runtime and energy cost.
Homeowner HVAC Maintenance
The introduction and buildup of dirt is usually the primary cause of heating repair and air conditioning emergencies.
Dirt buildup in the filter(s) restricts air flow causing the unit to operate longer. Filters should be checked monthly and replaced at least every three months. Various types of filters are available such as hypo-allergic filters.
Both the introduction of outside air and the escape of system air increase the run time needed to maintain comfortable temperatures. Check house for air leaks. Replace damaged or missing weather stripping at doors and windows. Caulk as needed to seal openings.
Check ducts for air leaks concentrating first on attic and exposed basement areas where open to the outside air, and secondly on ducts inside the temperature controlled areas. Use aluminum tape to seal joints. Insulate exposed areas of duct work to help maintain temperature control within the system
Air Intakes and Diffusers
Check that air return grates and duct openings are clean and unclogged, allowing for free air flow. Clean as necessary.
As humid warm air is cooled, the air conditioner unit removes water from the air. Check that the drain line is open and clear of any buildup of debris.
Evaporator & Condenser Coils (outside unit with fan)
After the refrigerant (or Freon) in the air conditioning system collects heat, it is cooled by the outside air blown thru the coils by the fan. Verify that the coils are clean and free of dirt. Clean by washing out any buildup with a garden hose being careful to keep the water pressure from bending the thin aluminum fins of the coil. Pine needles seem to accumulate in or around the units, especially in the Raleigh area, so make sure you keep your AC units clear of them.
A programmable thermostat with appropriate temperature and time settings is recommended. Check the settings on the Thermostat and verify they are operating correctly. Set the fan control to “Auto” rather than “On.” Adjusting the settings for unoccupied, sleep, and normal time controls will normally reduce run time, save energy, and reduce cost.
Performing regular HVAC maintenance –whether you do it yourself or you take advantage of our twice a year Heating and Air Conditioning maintenance plans– will help you avoid costly air conditioning repair and furnace repairs. In addition, your system will last longer because it won’t be working so hard. Protect your investment by doing regular HVAC maintenance.