To beat the heat as summer sets in, you would require a dependable HVAC system. Sweltering away indoors just because your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system had a breakdown would be an absolute nightmare. Save yourself from that scenario and an expensive repair bill by doing a little preventive maintenance. Apply these seven simple maintenance tips to ensure your HVAC system never lets you down:
1. Install a smart thermostat
If your HVAC system currently uses a manual (analog) thermostat, consider upgrading to a smart one, or at least a programmable one.
The most significant benefit of doing so is that you’ll be saving significantly on your energy bills, especially during the summertime.
Manual thermostats might be cheaper and long-lasting, but they’re slowly becoming a thing of the past as homeowners turn eco-friendly and tech-savvy. A programmable thermostat is also a considerable upgrade on comfort as it is capable of independently adjusting the temperature.
Smart thermostats are even more efficient as they let you set temperature controls and schedules from your phone remotely. It merely means that you don’t have to worry if you forget to turn off your HVAC system while leaving home. You can easily do it on your smartphone no matter where you are.
Moreover, smart thermostats track your energy usage, which results in minimizing energy costs and notifying you if something looks wrong. This helps in preventing premature damage during the summer months.
2. Clean or replace the filter
Ideally, your furnace or air filter should be checked once a month. It usually needs replacement every 1 to 3 months, depending on the usage and season (it gets dirtier faster in the summer). The instruction manual provided will give you detailed information on how to locate your filter and how to take it out.
Once you remove it, hold it up against the light to see if it’s clear enough to let light pass through. If it’s dirty or clogged, order a replacement immediately as it can lead to problems with airflow and cause premature damage. If your system uses a reusable or permanent filter, all you need to do is take it out and give it a good wash periodically.
3. Check your ducts
Ducts are present throughout your house to ensure that filtered, conditioned, and cold air reaches everywhere. If these are obstructed, leaky, or damaged, they can affect both energy efficiency and home comfort. So, it would be wise to include an inspection of your ductwork as a part of your spring-cleaning. Look for signs like peeling duct tape, dark stains on insulation, or damaged flexible ducts. A professional can help you fix this, as well as perform regular maintenance to make sure nothing is stuck inside.
Moreover, to ensure proper insulation and to reduce the pressure on your HVAC unit, seal all the windows and doors. That way, you can ensure none of the cold air goes out.
4. Clear your drainage hole
Drainage holes are present under the evaporator fins on the back of the cabinet. If these get clogged, it can decrease the efficiency of the HVAC system by putting more stress on the unit. If you find that the air circulating inside your home is still humid, it could be because of a clogged drainage hole. One tip for cleaning it yourself is to get the dirt out by using a piece of wire or a paperclip.
5. Check the wiring
While a casual inspection of the wiring throughout can tell you if everything is safe and sound, a thorough look is always required. Switch off the unit and open up its access panel. Make sure that no wires are blackened or burned, there is no sulfur odor, the lights aren’t flickering or dimming, and there is no buzzing or crackling sound. The presence of even one of these electrical warning signs warrants a thorough investigation by a professional technician.
Additionally, ensure that a recognized testing lab should test any electrical equipment that you use for your HVAC system. Avoid using extension cords.
6. Keep the exterior system tidy
The exterior system (or the outdoor unit) is especially susceptible to damage as it is continuously exposed to various elements, like the weather. You need to clean the system regularly as it quickly collects debris (like floating seeds) and dirt on top. To take care of this, you can either dust it off gently, use the small attachment on your vacuum cleaner or hose it all off. Grass and shrubbery that may start growing around the condenser need to be trimmed or removed if it’s less than 12 inches away from the unit.
7. Schedule maintenance by professionals
HVAC maintenance or HVAC tune-up is quite essential to keep your HVAC safe and in top shape. Get an expert technician once every six months to give each component a thorough look by disassembling the unit. He will also be able to perform troubleshooting in case of any electric or motor failures.
Scheduling preventive maintenance once every six months can help prevent costly repairs. This is especially important if you’ve done everything else right and still find the cooling to be inadequate or are receiving high utility bills.
It’s crucial to perform a few maintenance tasks regularly to avoid an overworked and inefficient HVAC system. These seven tips will help you in keeping your air conditioning and ventilation system ready to take on the hot and humid months ahead. A little attention and care can go a long way in prolonging its efficiency and lifespan.