An HVAC system is an expensive piece of equipment. It’s also critical to you and your family’s comfort. In cases of extreme hot or cold weather, it can even be critical to your safety. For these reasons, it is important to do what you can to keep your HVAC system in good shape. You should, of course, have an experienced HVAC professional check your system once a year. (Meanwhile, Crown Point HVAC offers 24 hours service and financing with approved credit.)
They can check for things that are beyond your knowledge and experience level when it comes to such equipment. There are some things you can check yourself, however, and the following items are a good place to start.
Use Quality Air Filters and Change Them When Needed
Regularly changing your system’s air filter is a critical item on any “HVAC maintenance 101” checklist. What constitutes “regular” is the question. Depending on how often you are using your system, it should be changed anywhere from every 30 to 90 days. A dirty and clogged filter will make your system work harder than necessary. This has the dual negative effects of increasing your energy bills in the short term and reducing the life of the unit in the long term.
Keep the Outside Unit Clear of Debris
Your condenser coils are located in the condenser unit, which is outside the home. This unit has slats in the metal covering that surrounds it. These slats allow the hot air to be released by the coils and the fan that it also contains. If they become clogged by bushes, leaves, tree branches or other obstructions, they can prevent it from doing its job and impair the unit’s efficiency. You will especially need to routinely check for and clear obstructions in the summer and in the early fall when fallen leaves may be blown into the unit.
Check Your Fan Blades
Every few months, you should look at the condition of the fan blades in your condenser unit. If any are damaged, an HVAC professional should handle replacing them. Look at them when they are moving as well as when they’re stationary. If they are very dirty, this can also be a sign that you may want to remove the top of the condenser unit casing and give the whole unit a good cleaning with a hose.
Don’t Close Too Many Registers
Many homes don’t get an even distribution of heating or cooling throughout all rooms. One trick that you may use to get around this is to close some of the registers in rooms that get too much warm or cool air. This way, more of it will be forced into the rooms that need it. This can be smart, but don’t overdo it. Too many closed registers can make the unit work too hard, and this isn’t good for its efficiency or lifespan.
Regularly Check the Refrigerant Lines
These are the lines that come from the condenser unit outside and lead into your home. The refrigerant they carry ensures your home reaches the desired level of cool in the summer. Check them every couple of months. If they are leaking or detached, this may be why you could notice your AC not cooling as efficiently. If you detect problems with them, call an HVAC professional to repair them.
Get Rid of Clogs
Your HVAC unit includes something called a condensate drain. It takes away the water produced by your AC system’s evaporator coils when it converts the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. Mold, algae and other waste can build up over time, which can eventually clog the line. You can handle such a problem yourself by pouring a mixture of bleach and water down the condenser drain once a year.
Check the Batteries in Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
Please get in the habit of replacing the batteries in your home’s carbon monoxide detector at the same time you do it for your smoke detector. Sometimes, both of these functions will be in the same unit, which makes it easier.
Prevention Is Worth It
A well-maintained, efficient HVAC system is an asset that will last you a long time. Having to replace such systems is not cheap, so the longer you can put off this day the better. You’ll also see significant savings in your monthly energy bills when you compare them to those of a unit that’s not properly taken care of. Checking the above items on your own HVAC system will also give you a heads up on any potential problems that you won’t be able to handle, so you’ll know to call in a pro.