HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
To maintain your HVAC system properly as a homeowner, is vital since it plays a critical role in your home. It guarantees it works efficiently, smoothly, and lasts long while keeping expensive repairs at bay, and saves you money on energy bills. Check out the following maintenance tips for your HVAC system:
1. Schedule regular maintenance checks
To ensure optimal performance, it is important to regularly maintain your HVAC system, just as you would any other piece of equipment. A competent technician can identify any potential problems and conduct necessary repairs. Various HVAC companies provide service agreements that incorporate routine maintenance inspections. Failing to conduct these inspections can result in more severe complications and costly repairs. It is crucial to note that certain issues may not be apparent to the untrained eye, and that’s where professionals come in. During a routine maintenance inspection, a professional HVAC technician performs various tasks, such as:
- Check the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly
- Clean or replace filters
- Lubricate moving parts
- Check the refrigerant level
- Listen for unusual noises
- Inspect the condenser and coils
2. Change your filters regularly
Regularly replacing air filters is one of the most important and simple steps for HVAC maintenance. If filters become loaded with debris, it can restrict airflow, which will force the machinery to work harder and result in decreased capacity and higher energy bills. The manufacturer may suggest changing the filters every few months. Remember, faulty filters may put your property at risk of catching fire.
3. Keep the area around your HVAC unit clean
To maintain proper airflow and prevent overheating, it is important to keep the vicinity of your HVAC system clean and clear of any debris. Be sure to check the external part of the unit regularly and remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris. Regular sweeping and clearing of dirt and grass around the unit is also recommended. Moreover, make sure to clean the external coil of the system at least once annually.
4. Don’t block the airflow to your HVAC unit
Make certain to provide ample area around your HVAC system to enable proper air circulation. Avoid putting any objects in front of it, such as furnishings, carpets, or vegetation, as this will limit airflow, resulting in decreased efficiency and increased energy expenses for the system. In addition, impeded airflow can lead to the unit overheating.
5. Monitor your energy bills
One can gauge the effectiveness of their HVAC system by keeping an eye on their energy bills, as a sudden surge in costs may indicate a need for maintenance. Insufficient refrigerant levels or a blocked filter could be possible causes as well. In addition to monitoring energy bills, it’s crucial to evaluate performance by determining the speed of heating or cooling and whether the system is capable of sufficiently regulating the indoor temperature.
6. Use a programmable thermostat
Setting different temperatures for different times of the day using a programmable thermostat can aid in conserving energy and cutting down on costs. You can choose to lower the temperature when you’re away or at night. This will not only reduce your energy bills but also decrease the strain on your HVAC system.
7. Insulate your home
You can also cut down on your energy expenses by insulating your dwelling. By effectively insulating your home, it’ll remain cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. Further, it’ll reduce the amount of energy consumed when maintaining a desirable temperature, lessening the workload on your HVAC system.
8. Get a tune-up every year
To ensure optimal performance of your HVAC system, it is important to schedule an annual tune-up. During this maintenance check, a trained technician will thoroughly examine the unit for any potential issues and perform necessary repairs or replacements. This preventative measure can help you avoid costly repairs in the future and ensure that your system is running at peak efficiency. Keep in mind that an annual tune-up goes beyond basic maintenance and involves:
- A thorough inspection of the entire heating and cooling system
- Cleaning and adjustment of all equipment
- Lubrication of all moving parts
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Testing ignition and safety controls
- Replacement of furnace filters
9. Educate yourself on your HVAC system
Having a better understanding of your HVAC system will help you effectively maintain it. You can increase your knowledge by examining the owner’s manual, visiting the manufacturer’s website, and inquiring your HVAC technician for any clarifications. You will acquire valuable insights into the system’s operation and upkeep. It’s a good idea to pay specific attention to the sounds it produces to detect potential issues.
10. Regularly clean the entire system
It is important to regularly clean your HVAC system in order to maintain its proper functioning. This involves cleaning both the interior and exterior components of the unit as well as the ductwork. You can utilize a brush or vacuum to clean the system and a hose to clean the vents. Regular cleaning of the system is beneficial because it improves its efficiency and ensures that no contaminated air circulates, thereby safeguarding your family’s health against infections.
HVAC Tips for Beginners
I have a pet peeve:
At NexGen Air, we are certified HVAC technicians, but we recognize that not everyone has the same expertise. To cater to HVAC novices, we will commence this section by covering the basics.
The following text serves as a disclaimer:
This is geared towards individuals with very little experience in HVAC who have not encountered any issues before. For those who are already familiar with furnace appearance or ductwork location, feel free to skip to the more advanced tips and tricks related to HVAC.
#1 What does HVAC stand for?
The acronym HVAC refers to the combination of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
#2 What are the components that make up an HVAC system?
A complete central air and heat system is composed of 9 fundamental parts. These include the furnace, heat exchanger, evaporator coil, condensing unit, refrigerant tubes, thermostat, ductwork, vents, and heat pump. (Do not fret, we will describe each of these pieces in greater detail later on.)
#3 What is a Furnace?
Your heating unit is the furnace, which can be powered by either natural gas or electricity. The advantages and disadvantages of both types will be discussed later. The furnace can be located in your basement, garage, or utility closet. Its primary purpose is to generate warm air and distribute it through the ducts to heat your home. It is worth noting that furnaces are often confused with boilers, even though they are distinct devices.
This is an excellent illustration of a newly installed Lennox furnace located in a utility closet.
#4 What is a Heat Exchanger?
Although found inside your furnace, the heat exchanger is separate from the furnace itself. It is responsible for converting cold air into hot air, whereas the furnace simply pushes the hot air into the ducts.
#5 What is an Evaporator Coil?
The evaporator coil present in the furnace receives heat from air that moves over it and utilizes this heat to circulate chilled air into your living space through the vents.
#6 What is a Condensing Unit?
The purpose of your evaporator coil is similar to that of your condensing unit. However, the condensing unit is located outside, typically on the side of your house. While the evaporator coil absorbs heat, the condensing unit releases heat, much like an exhaust pipe for your home when attempting to cool it.
If your air conditioning unit appears less tidy than this, it’s necessary to arrange for an HVAC installation.
#7 What are Refrigerant Tubes?
The evaporator coil is linked to the condensing coil by means of refrigerant tubes, which serve the dual purpose of holding refrigerant and linking the indoor and outdoor components. These tubes are normally constructed of metal.
#8 What is a Thermostat?
The small wall-mounted gadget within your home which facilitates temperature control is known as a thermostat (its location varies). You could install an intelligent Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that permits you to adjust your home’s temperature remotely using your phone.
Your options for smart, wi-fi connected thermostats extend beyond Nest. Keep in touch with your home using your smartphone.
#9 What is Ductwork?
Your home’s ductwork is what allows the conditioned air from your furnace or AC unit to be distributed around your house. Ductwork in Southern California homes is usually found overhead, running through attic and ceiling space.
#10 What are Vents?
The ductwork channels your heated or cooled air into your living area through the air vents.