How to Keep Your Home’s HVAC System in Top Shape
Article courtesy of Eugene Williams: http://diydad.info/
When you invest in a home, you expect it to be more than just a shelter — it’s also a place for rest, connection, and refreshment. In order to enjoy those important qualities, taking care of basic maintenance is a must, and your home’s HVAC system is a crucial component for comfort and good health. Here’s what you can do to ensure it stays in top condition.
Why Does Maintenance Matter?
On a day-to-day basis, most people don’t give their HVAC system much thought unless something goes awry. As long as everyone is comfortable, it can be out of sight, out of mind. However, keeping your HVAC system performing its best is crucial. Air Conditioning Engineers points out that proper maintenance yields key benefits, helping your system run efficiently, ensuring your home’s air is high-quality, optimizing the lifespan of the system, and saving you money in the long-term; after all, you can easily spend roughly $5,000 to install a new unit if yours suddenly bites the dust. Also, if your system is still under warranty, proper maintenance ensures you can take advantage of the benefits it provides.
What Can I Do?
Working on your home’s HVAC system can be an intimidating prospect, but the most important tasks are simple and any homeowner can tackle them. First and foremost is replacing your air filters on a regular basis. Make sure you select the right size filter for your unit by checking the existing filter for the number on its side. Afterward, you can follow these easy step-by-step instructions to replace it, verifying you insert the new filter in the correct direction for air flow. Generally speaking, you should change your filter every one to three months.
Check it once each month, and look for these signs your filter should be changed:
- The filter looks dirty. Keep in mind that the filter is meant to push air through it, so if it looks too clogged with dirt, dust, and debris for air to flow properly, it’s time to change it.
- Vents look dirty. If your home’s air intake vents are getting some build-up, chances are it’s time to change the filters.
- Your home is dusty or dirty. Noticing a lot of dust, pet dander, or other dirt in your home means it’s probably building up on your filters as well.
Your home’s air vents can benefit from routine cleaning. HowStuffWorks offers simple instructions and notes that you just need a few commonplace tools to clean the vents: a heavy-duty vacuum, screwdriver, cleaning brush, and a broom. Be sure to take a few safety precautions before you start. Shut off the power to your system, and if you haven’t taken on the endeavor for some time, protect yourself by wearing a dust mask.
Another task you can tackle yourself is keeping your air conditioning unit free of leaves, grass, and other debris. Make a routine examination of the refrigerant lines for signs of trouble, such as clogs or ice build up. You can use a checklist to keep up with air conditioning maintenance.
When to Call a Pro
It’s important for homeowners to have their HVAC system professionally serviced on a routine basis. Once per year is the minimum, and giving the furnace a once-over during the fall and the air conditioner a once-over during the spring is ideal. However, it’s important to avoid tinkering with the inner workings of the unit yourself since if you don’t know what you’re doing you can damage the system or even hurt yourself.
Your home’s HVAC system is an expensive component of homeownership. What’s more, it’s a key element in keeping your home’s air quality healthy and comfortable. With a few simple, routine tasks, you can maintain it and ensure you save money and energy.