Properly maintaining your HVAC system is critical to keeping it running efficiently through the seasons. Keeping a maintenance routine year-round can also extend the lifespan of your unit and prevent costly service calls and repairs. We put together this list of 8 ways you can keep your HVAC system healthy and make sure the air in your home is comfortable all year long for years to come.
1. Annual tune-up
Once or twice a year call a heating and air professional for an HVAC system tune-up or sign up for a routine maintenance plan. Regular maintenance is almost always less expensive than a repair job and a well-maintained air conditioner lasts longer than one that isn’t. A tune-up can increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home. Make sure the tune-up includes checking the coolant level, cleaning the coils, clearing the condensate drain and lubricating the motor. Did you know that every year you skip maintenance can reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency by 5%?
2. Change your air filters
The number one way to prolong the life of your HVAC system is to change those air filters every month or two. You see those air returns everyday which should be a reminder, but they become part of the landscape and the next thing you know, six months have gone by and as you drift off to sleep one night, it hits you that you can’t remember the last time you replaced them and soon you’re in full-on panic mode that your system is about to seize up. Clogged, dirty filters block airflow and reduce a system's efficiency. Keeping the filter clean can lower your HVAC system's energy use as much as 15%!
3. Clean those air ducts
If you’ve never had your air ducts cleaned before and you live in an older home, they probably need a cleaning. You can hire a professional or just remove your floor registers and vacuum out the old cheerios, pet hair and dust bunnies yourself.
4. Be realistic when it comes to temperatures
If it’s 100 degrees outside, setting your unit at 65 degrees isn’t the best idea unless your home is well insulated and you have an extremely efficient HVAC system. Your home probably won’t ever get to 65 when it’s that hot and your unit will be running non-stop. Running ceiling fans can provide the cooler feeling you want while saving your HVAC system from working so hard and saving you money on your electric bill. Getting a programmable or smart thermostat is another great way to keep temperatures steady.
5. Don’t close or block your floor registers
Closing off vents uses more energy, because your system is working harder to push past the increased pressure that closed vents create. this is especially true if you have a variable-speed system fan that changes speeds automatically. We know that sometimes those floor registers are in the exact, perfect spot where you wanted to sit that end table. Putting that piece of furniture over the register is never a good idea. It keeps the air from circulating in the room and heating or cooling effectively. Forcing the air back into the ducts can also create mold issues in your ductwork.
6. Keep the area around your outdoor unit clean
Don’t let weeds, tall grass or any other shrubbery grow around your unit. When mowing or string trimming be careful not to throw clippings into your outdoor unit. Turning your system off and hosing off the coils and fan is an easy way to keep them clean. In the winter, be sure to keep snow from accumulating on top of your unit since it will interfere with its operation.
7. Use blinds or curtains
One of the easiest way to reduce your energy costs and extend the life of your HVAC unit – is using blinds or curtains. In the winter open them during the day to let in the sun’s warmth and close them at night to keep that heat in. In the summer, blinds can be a game changer - blocking out the sun and keeping your home from feeling like a sauna. The more heat and cold that you keep out, the less your HVAC system has to work.
8. Give it a break!
On those spring and fall days when the temperature outside is perfect and there isn’t a drop of rain in sight, open those windows and give your system a rest! Airing out your home has a host of health benefits like reducing condensation, removing pollutants and can even improve children’s ability to concentrate according to a recent study.