Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is one of the most important aspects of your home. It keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and maintains the air quality of your home. However, for your HVAC system to work at its full potential, and to save money on repairs, proper maintenance is a must. To get the most from your HVAC system, follow these 7 tips.
- At least once a year, the evaporator and condenser coils should be cleaned. Because these pieces are exposed to outdoor air, they are prone to dirt build-up as well as being prime locations for mold and bacteria to grow. The cleaner used should be designed specifically for coils and evaporators, and be completely rinsed off when the job is done to prevent indoor air contamination. Properly cleaning and maintenance improves efficiency by as much as 16%.
- Filters should be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer. Since filters are where germs and dust are collected, it is necessary to replace them often-usually anywhere between 1 and 6 months. When replacing the filters, experts suggest that you use pleated filters made of cotton or synthetic fabrics for optimum indoor air quality.
- At least two times a year, be sure to inspect the area around the air intake. Like other parts of an HVAC system, this section is perfect for mold growth. Be sure that there is no standing water around the air handler.
- Check the cabinet and supply duct for leaks. Common spots are around the screws, latches or gaskets; take action as mandated.
- At least every 2 years, the air ducts should be cleaned. While there is some discrepancy between HVAC manufacturers on how often this must be done, the North American Duct Cleaners Association recommends checking and cleaning the supply side and return ducts so there is less dirt build up in the ducts every 24 months. This is a job that should be done by a professional HVAC contractor.
- As part of an annual maintenance check, clean and adjust the dampers. This is one of the most common causes of poor air flow. Improperly maintained dampers can affect the indoor air quality and results in higher energy bills.
- At least every 6 months, check the belts, bearings and fan as they can fill up with dirt reducing the indoor air quality and air flow efficiency. Be sure the fan motor is moving in the right direction and that bearings are properly lubricated. Also, belts should fit correctly without being too loose or too tight as this can cause system failure.
Proper care and maintenance is essential to getting the most from your HVAC system. Fortunately, it is not something you have to do on your own.