Owning a home or business comes with a great deal of responsibility. In addition to the basics, like paying your mortgage on time, you also have to make sure the main functions and systems within your property are working efficiently as well. One of the most important functions of your home is your HVAC system, and we have everything you need to know about keeping it in tip-top shape. No, it’s not always the most desirable set of duties, but you will save a lot of time and energy by preserving the life of your HVAC system with simple maintenance steps.
HVAC is an acronym which stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” This system is responsible for achieving comfortable temperatures and air quality throughout your home or business. It also is responsible for regulating energy efficiency, keeping your monthly utility costs down.
Most HVAC maintenance should be looked at as a way of staying ahead of possible complications and issues that may arise and cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. By staying ahead of your HVAC needs, you are minimizing your risks of HVAC issues occurring in the future. There are so many things that can go wrong when it comes to your HVAC system, including but not limited to, corrosion, leaks, clogged ducts, and the overall distribution of hot or cold air. Whether you run into dirty coils, or a clogged filter, it’s important to stay ahead of your HVAC maintenance to significantly lower the risks of possible issues.
One of the best ways to go about maintaining a working HVAC system is to have a checklist you can follow at-home of tasks you can do every few months to preserve the life and efficiency of your HVAC system. In this article, we will go over the basics that you need to know before making your checklist. We will cover what exactly goes into proper HVAC maintenance, how often you should perform each task, and how much it typically costs.
The Most Common HVAC Problems
As you read earlier, there are several things that can go wrong with your heating and cooling unit, and some of them are more common than others. It helps to become familiar with what these problems are. Here are the three most common HVAC issues to keep at the forefront of your mind as you work on your maintenance checklist.
- Leaks: All HVAC units have connector lines and drain lines that can potentially develop leaks. These leaks force your HVAC system to work harder to achieve the necessary temperatures throughout your home. These leaks can cause you to see a spike in your monthly bill, as well as cause you to replace one or more parts of your unit. Always lookout for leaks in refrigerant lines (details to come), and leaks from the AC condensate line and heat exchanger.
- Corrosion: Whenever there’s a combination of wiring with moisture, you run into the potential of corrosion. This can arise on any of the wires or terminals connected to your HVAC unit. Typically this causes your cooling or heating system to turn on and off automatically. Much like leaks, this will force your HVAC system to work overtime and eventually lead to a complete system breakdown.
- Dirt and Debris: It’s important to make sure all of your HVAC’s components are all free from debris. This includes everything from the electric panel to the air filters. Not only will this hinder the performance of your HVAC unit, but things such as dirty air filters, significantly reduce air quality and flow by pumping dust and allergens throughout your home.
HVAC Maintenance Tasks to Consider
It would be quite challenging to put together an HVAC checklist if you aren’t familiar with this field to begin with. Assuming there are no unforeseen issues already taking place, these are the standard HVAC maintenance tasks you will want to add to your list. We have separated them into specific timeframes, so that you can easily determine what needs to be done more frequently, and what only needs to be done each year.
Following this easy-to-read list is the golden ticket to maintaining an HVAC unit that operates at its highest potential. This will also allow you to identify possible issues before they become costly expenses.
The following tasks are to be checked off the list as soon as possible to reduce the potential for issues that are easily avoidable.
- Make sure the areas around the visible indoor and outdoor HVAC components are free of dirt, debris, boxes, grass, leaves, or bulky furniture.
- Check that there is at least two feet of clear space surrounding each heating and cooling component.
- Switch your air filters to “high-efficiency filters” to maximize the efficiency of your system.
Once a Month:
Carefully assess your AC’s refrigerant lines for possible leaks. These two lines are typically made out of copper and they connect your outdoor air conditioner to your HVAC system’s indoor evaporator coil.
- Replace your air filter every 90 days or at the beginning of every new season
- Turn off the water to your furnace humidifier every summer.
- Replace your humidifier filter and restore the water to the furnace humidifier in the fall.
Once per Year:
- Replace the batteries in all of the carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
- Lubricate your HVAC motor and replace your fan belt if you feel it is not running as efficiently as possible.
- Clean your air conditioner’s condensate drain with bleach.
- Inspect your outdoor air conditioning unit to ensure that it is free of debris and that the unit is placed on level ground.
Following these simple steps will help keep your HVAC system running smoothly for a very long time. The average life expectancy of an HVAC system is about 10-25 years. Keeping up with your HVAC maintenance will help yours last closer to 25 years than 10 years.
When Should I Call an HVAC Technician to Come Out?
Typically, you will be able to handle most of the standard HVAC maintenance tasks all on your own. However, heating and cooling systems can be pretty complex and sometimes may have issues that aren’t easily detected with an untrained eye. It doesn’t hurt to have a professional HVAC technician come out to perform a more in depth assessment.
Its always a good idea to ask a professional to assist with your HVAC maintenance. If your system is newer, you can probably just have a licensed HVAC technician come once a year, or even every other year. For systems that are a bit older, you should plan to have professional HVAc maintenance performed twice a year– preferably in the spring and fall.
Your Locally Trusted HVAC Technicians in Nashville
FiveStar Plumbing & HVAC is a team of highly-trained licensed HVAC technicians who have proudly been serving Nashville and surrounding areas with their heating and cooling needs for over 40 years. Give us a call at (615) 382-8131 to schedule an appointment or have a technician come out for same-day servicing. There is no HVAC problem too big or small for the team at FiveStar. Call today!