Did you know that home heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that aren’t maintained have to work harder to keep you comfortable? They may even simply shut off and refuse to restart based on system safety settings, which means you could be left freezing on a cold winter night or sweating it out in the middle of summer while you wait for repair service.
If you don’t like paying emergency repair rates (and who does?), there are several things you can do to help your heating and/or air conditioning equipment perform better and even last longer, too.
Change Your Furnace and Air Conditioner Filters Regularly
When was the last time you changed out the filter on your furnace or AC unit?
If you’re not sure and you don’t have a current preventative maintenance plan in place with a professional HVAC service provider, it’s highly likely that filter is clogged and causing your system to waste energy or fuel as a result. Depending upon the specifications of the particular filters you use, you may require monthly replacements to keep your system running at its best, yet this is an HVAC to-do that sometimes gets neglected for years!
You may have even noticed that your system has been underperforming. The reason could be that your system is working harder to overcome the challenge of reduced airflow caused by the clogged filter. If filters become too blocked by dirt and debris, mechanical damage can occur, or your system may overheat, freeze up, or entirely shut down as a safety precaution. Don’t let things progress to this point, or you will certainly be calling for HVAC repairs.
And, don’t forget that dirty filters are not able to stop dust and debris from accumulating in ductwork, which is a major threat to healthy indoor air quality.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance Seasonally
Before you turn your system on for the season – air conditioning in the late spring/early summer and heating in the fall – it’s always a great idea to have it assessed by knowledgeable service technicians.
Similar to your car, your HVAC system has many moving parts, and it needs to receive regular maintenance from trained pros who can keep it running at peak safety and efficiency levels. If you’re a handy sort of person, you may be able to make some adjustments to your system yourself – especially those all-important filter changes – but system inspections and tune-ups are best performed by service personnel who do this work every day.
Get ready for air conditioning season before temperatures begin to rise by having your system checked even if you’re still heating your home. Central air conditioning system maintenance items that homeowners can do include changing the air filter (of course), as well as clearing away leaves and debris from your outdoor unit. You’ll also want to inspect plants and trees growing near the unit and trim back any that are closer than 18” away.
Your professional HVAC service technician will perform additional cleaning and system inspection tasks, which generally include:
- Inspecting and tightening electrical connections
- Lubricating moving parts
- Inspecting and clearing condensation drains
- Inspecting and testing system controls
- Evaporator and condenser coil cleaning
- Checking and charging refrigerant
When air conditioning season is coming to a close, it’s time to have your heating equipment serviced. Many customers in our home service area here in Lancaster County, PA have heat pump units that both cool and heat their home, and so they may feel that it was only yesterday that their equipment was checked. Because heating and cooling are very different functions, however, it’s wise to have the system inspected again.
Those customers who have separate furnaces or boilers will definitely want to schedule service, as their equipment has often been sitting idle for months while they were air conditioning with another system.
Keep Grills and Returns Clean and Open
In forced air heating and cooling systems that utilize ductwork, which are common today in most modern homes, grills and return registers can be found at various points throughout your home to move the air and keep it comfortable. It’s important to be sure that these do not get blocked by household items like furniture, wall hangings, curtains, or even kids’ toys. If air cannot move freely through the system, damage to ductwork and mechanical equipment can eventually occur. If dust has gathered on grills, simply vacuum or wipe clean with a dust cloth.
Check Your Thermostat
Did you know that many people call for repair service when their thermostat just needs fresh batteries? Depending upon the type of thermostat you have installed to control your system, it may require a battery or two to operate (usually AA or AAA in size).
If you’re having trouble with your system, starting at your thermostat is always a good idea. Also, double check that your thermostat doesn’t have a master switch that needs to be flipped between “heating” and “cooling” (some older models do) if both your heat and AC are controlled by the same thermostat.
Lastly, be sure you’re running your system at efficient temperature settings, such as these guidelines from Energy Star, which can save you money on your energy bills and are system-friendly.
Need HVAC Service or Want More Maintenance Advice?
Garden Spot Mechanical offers a full range of HVAC services, and customer satisfaction is our number-one priority. In the Lancaster County, PA area, we’re your trusted heating and cooling expert. Give us a call today!