19 Sep 6 Easy Steps For HVAC Maintenance
In Raleigh, NC, this summer, 2016, was officially the third hottest since 1887. After working overtime to keep up with the extreme temperatures and humidity, fall weather provides a well-earned reprieve for your HVAC system. Before changing your thermostat to heat, autumn weather offers an excellent opportunity for homeowners to perform maintenance on their heating and air conditioning systems.
Routine and proper HVAC maintenance is vital to the effectiveness, efficiency, and lifespan of your unit. We often respond to service calls for costly repairs that could have been avoided with regular maintenance. We compiled these six steps to guide homeowners through the process of HVAC maintenance and help ensure their families will be warm during the winter.
1) Replace Your Air Filters
Your heating and air conditioning system is designed to maximize airflow. Dirty air filters significantly reduce airflow, thereby reducing your system’s effectiveness, efficiency, and lifespan. We often respond to service calls related to the damage caused by prolonged, unchanged filters. Dirty air filters can even lead to the premature failure of your HVAC unit.
Both traditional and pleated one inch air filters should be changed monthly. Three to five-inch air filters remain functional for as long as six months; however, it is still important to check them regularly.
2) Check Your HVAC Unit for Damage
Identifying HVAC issues early provides homeowners with the best opportunity to avoid costly repairs. While the weather is pleasant, inspect your system for signs of damage such as:
- Leaking Coolant Lines: Leaking coolant will eventually lead your system’s components to over-compensate and malfunction.
- Electrical Damage: Shorted or grounded wires may leave behind burn marks. Electrical issues are hazardous and should be addressed immediately.
- Damaged Fan Blades: Dented and damaged fan blades will reduce airflow and cause your unit to be unbalanced when it is engaged.
- Unbalanced Unit: Rain from Hurricane Matthew may have loosened the soil underneath your unit. Make sure your HVAC system is on level ground.
- Unusual Noises or Odors: Strange sounds or smells are often indicative of malfunctioning HVAC components.
If you observe signs of damage, contact a professional HVAC technician. The best way to avoid costly repairs is to address issues immediately.
3) Open and Clear Air Vents
An HVAC myth we often encounter is that closing vents in seldom used rooms increases the system’s efficiency. Proper airflow is key to the effectiveness and efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system. Closed and blocked vents inhibit airflow, reducing your system’s efficiency, and threatening its longevity. Before turning on the heat, make sure your vents are open and clear of furniture and debris.
4) Maintain Clearance Around Your HVAC
To ensure proper airflow, homeowners must maintain at least two feet of clearance around their HVAC units. Hiding your HVAC system with fencing, trees, and shrubs may improve the aesthetics of yard; however, when landscaping encroaches on your system, it can threaten its efficiency and lifespan. During the fall, it is also important to regularly clear fallen limbs, leaves, and grass clippings from your unit.
5) Look for Signs of Excess Moisture
One of the major functions of your heating and air conditioning system is dehumidification. Increased humidity and moisture in your home may be a sign your HVAC system is malfunctioning. In your home, look for signs of excess moisture in these locations:
- Check your home’s basement or crawlspace
- Check bathrooms, bathtubs, and showers
- Check windows and window sills
- Check under sinks and appliances
If you see signs of excess moisture, your home may be susceptible to the development of harmful mold. Contact a professional HVAC technician or licensed plumber to correct moisture issues.
6) Sign Up for an HVAC Maintenance Agreement
Our maintenance agreements are the most effective way for homeowners to ensure their heating systems will keep them warm during winter. By performing the above maintenance steps, as well as several others, our technicians detect and diagnose issues and malfunctioning components early. Early detection is key to helping homeowners avoid costly repairs or catastrophic system failures.
Heating and air conditioning maintenance is vital to maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of your system. Whether you do-it-yourself, or partner with us, performing routine and proper maintenance is the only way to ensure your family will be safe and warm when you turn on your heater.