Most homeowners ignore their HVAC systems unless or until something goes wrong. But, this is recipe for disaster. The old adage is true here: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here’s how to maintain your system throughout the year without it taking up a lot of your time.
Change The Filters
This is perhaps the least-involved thing you can do and yet it could save you hundreds of dollars. Check the filters periodically and replace them when they get dirty. Air filters are responsible for cleaning the air and providing necessary airflow throughout the house.
To maintain the system’s peak efficiency, Energy Star recommends that you change the filter once every month or as needed.
Have It Serviced Once A Year
Aside from a filter change, you should have the system inspected at least once a year. This HVAC service provider, for example, will come out to your home and make sure that everything is working properly. The “tune up” involves checking all systems to make sure that they are operating properly and that you’re not spending more in heating and cooling costs than you absolutely have to.
Routine maintenance can also find small problems before they become serious and expensive.
Check Thermostat Settings
If you have a programmable thermostat, check the settings to make sure the system is heating and cooling as programmed. If you can’t, or don’t want to, do this yourself, have a professional do it for you.
Inspect Electrical Connections
Inspecting electrical connections will help you make sure that none of the connections in the system deteriorates to an unsafe level. Broken, loose, or disconnected connections can cause premature system failure, negatively affect efficiency or safety, and increase the risk of catastrophic system failure.
Lube Moving Parts
Lubricating moving part is also important since, without the right amount of lubrication, your system cannot operate efficiently. And, without lubrication, the parts will wear out more easily.
This is actually one of the easier things your professional tech can do that will help you avoid costly repairs later. Often, a system will rely on multiple components working together smoothly. When one of these components breaks or wears down, other components have to pick up the slack, causing them to wear prematurely.
Instead of having to replace one component, you end up replacing several – at a higher cost, of course.
But, catching worn parts early means that parts wear evenly and require less servicing over time.
Inspect The Condensate Drain
The condensate drain is where condensation drains off from the air conditioning unit. It’s important to keep this drain free of debris, mold, and bacteria.
Check The Start-Up and Shutdown Cycle
Spend some time checking the startup and shutdown cycles for your HVAC system. If you notice it making any odd noises, or it seems to take a long time to heat or cool the house, you should have the system checked and fixed before the harshness of the season is on you.
For example, you should check the heating system prior to November and the cooling system prior to May.
Cindy R. Odell is an HVAC maintenance and repair worker. She likes to share what she has learned by posting online. You can read her articles on many DIY and homeowner sites.