HVAC Maintenance Tips
September 1, 2021
Does your conditioner often seem to break down during the hot seasons? If you have encountered this scenario, then you are aware of the challenges associated with the situation. For instance, some areas may experience high temperatures on a daily event. Therefore, there is a need to regularly maintain your HVAC systems to avoid emergency repairs and high energy bills, especially during summer. The following are HVAC maintenance tips that homeowners should consider applying for.
Replace the Filter
Typically, the air filter becomes clogged after some time. This is particularly an issue when the external environment is dusty, since the air filter becomes filled with debris, dust, and other particles which need to be cleaned out. A daily accumulation of these particles can affect the efficiency of the air conditioner. Consequently, this increases the homeowner’s energy bills, raising the risks of the equipment breaking down. Therefore, when you often change the air filter, you reduce the load that the unit has to deal with.
Generally, a person should clean the cooling and heating system once after two weeks. If you reside in a dusty area, you should consider cleaning the equipment more often since this is essential to maintaining your HVAC system.
Wipe the Dust Surrounding the Unit
Surprisingly, leaves, dirt, grass, or even branches can significantly infiltrate your air conditioner and the furnace. This can lead to many costly issues, which eventually cause serious mechanical problems with your equipment. So, why should you incur these costs when you can completely prevent them? It is essential to invest some time clearing the vegetation and bushes surrounding the equipment. Besides, you should also regularly check for debris, especially after your area experiences strong winds due to a storm.
When an air conditioner has excessive dust, the dust fails to release or absorb enough heat to keep the interior areas comfortable. Sometimes, the air conditioner may accumulate some ice, causing damage to the compressor and other parts of the unit. Furthermore, you should switch it off if you detect ice on the internal or external part of the unit.
Let the Air Vents Remain Open
As opposed to the common view, closing the air vents doesn’t reduce energy expenses. When a person closes the air vent, the cool air is usually blocked, drastically reducing the equipment’s performance level. Furthermore, this can be risky on your air conditioning or heating unit since this can significantly raise the pressure load.
Therefore, if you want the unit to function optimally while preventing it from overloading, you should ensure that the vents remain open since this prevents them from any likely obstructions to the airflow. The main issue with closing the air vents is that this causes the penetration of less air into the house. However, the air conditioner still requires the same amount of power to operate while the cooling fan still operates. Therefore, this damages the unit and the ductwork. While this occurs, air leaks start to form within the equipment; hence, closing more vents creates more pressure on the unit. This increases the chances of more leaks forming. However, it would help if you considered undertaking the following things to reduce your energy costs:
- Set up a zone control unit
- Keep the air conditioning and heating system well maintained
- Close the shades and blinds
- Use fans when they are required
Even during the superhot seasons, you should consider turning off the air conditioner from time to time. If the AC runs continuously, it could be an issue for fans. Therefore, consider turning off the fan and observe whether it stops. It is also crucial to check the refrigerant levels and relay switches.
Consider a Maintenance Tune-up
Surprisingly, HVAC services can significantly reduce your cooling and heating bills. So, when was the last time you hired ac and heating services or an ac contractor? If it has taken more than twelve months, your unit may be exposed to more risks, especially during the summer season. So, how comfortable will you be while living in a home without AC? Heating and cooling repair can protect you from losing your air conditioning unit during hot days.
Additionally, a tune-up can detect mechanical issues or other problems before they become unmanageable. Besides, this can even reduce energy costs. Therefore, if you want your AC unit to remain in good condition, then you should consider regularly servicing it to increase its lifespan.
Ensure the HVAC Unit Remains at Optimal Temperature
Although the temperature that a person sets on the thermostat largely depends on individuals’ comfort, many units possess an optimal level of temperature that enables them to use energy efficiently. Therefore, it is crucial to seek reference from the user’s manual, or you can also inquire from AC companies to assist you in establishing the appropriate energy-efficient temperature. Moreover, you should avoid the temperature fluctuating too often since this may cause the system to function harder, making it work less efficiently than it should.
AC experts recommend that the air-con dry mode should be used for one to two hours at maximum. Although the dry mode effectively reduces the moisture, you should avoid using it to lower the room’s humidity ultimately. Besides, it should be applied to maintain humidity at a level suitable for your comfort.
Keeping the fan in Auto mode is the most energy-efficient alternative. This is because the fan runs when the unit is on and not consistently. Besides, there is better dehumidification in the house during the summer seasons. Therefore, when you set the fan on Auto mode, moisture resulting from cooling coils can drip and be eliminated.
Protect the Home from Potential Drafts
Although many people focus on preventing air infiltration during the cold seasons, they overlook the summer periods. Typically, an air leak within the house robs the HVAC unit’s full potential since this affects the cooling and heating processes. Therefore, if you want to attain the best outcome, you should consider closing the windows and doors to ensure you have an excellent weather seal on the house before you switch the equipment on. Besides, placing weather strips on the door can prevent the cold air from leaking through the door. It would help if you also considered upgrading the windows to make them more energy-efficient, hence preventing them from losing heating and cooling through them. The most common areas for draft in a house include windows, chimneys, electrical outlets, doors, and attics and basements.
Check the Ducts
One of the essential air conditioning maintenance aspects is usually ensuring you regularly check the air ducts. As stated earlier, the ducts may begin to leak, and this may have severe consequences. Furthermore, according to many home care companies, leaky ductwork can cost thirty percent more. Therefore, for every dollar you pay, there are 30 cents extra on the energy costs. So, how can you check the air ducts to ensure everything in your residence’s cooling and heating system is operating effectively and smoothly? The following are some of the supplies you should have:
- Grease pencil
- Smoke pencil
- Plastic sheets
- Painter’s tape
- Foil-backed fiberglass insulation
- Fog machine
When you are ready to start, you will begin by turning on the air conditioner and the furnace to allow it to blow with some consistency. Then, you reach the attic and lay plywood over the joists. However, you should ensure you walk through the attic safely, and you should also move the insulation ducts if need be. Next, you will put a hand close to the duct joints, where the ducts are joined. After placing the hand, you will feel the air, and if there is a big leak, the air will be more. Mark the area using your grease pencil. After this, you will light the smoke pencil, although you can still use incense. Then, search for smoke that wavers erratically since this shows a leak in the ductwork. The pencil can help locate any leaks which you could not find using your hands. Consider also marking which leaks in this manner.
One of the indicators that your air duct has a tear is when you observe insulation debris blowing through the ventilation unit. Next, use the painter’s tape and the plastic sheets to tape over the room vent. You will put a fog machine close to the blower intake while pointing at the fan. Then, search for the exit parts in the fog and mark the leaking areas using the grease pencil. After identifying the ductwork leaks, you will undertake some HVAC maintenance where you wrap it using the foil-faced tap and use the mastic. Moreover, you can also seek services from companies that handle HVAC repairs to approach the problem professionally.
Keep the Area around the Unit Clean
Although some people may overlook the necessity of this tip, maintenance also entails keeping the surrounding environment clean since this prevents the unit from obstruction. If you have trees or shrubs near the outer part of the unit, consider cutting off the limbs. Generally, the safe clearance area around the unit is usually approximately twelve inches. Therefore, maintaining this clearance can increase the unit’s lifespan and prevent other issues from popping up.
Clean the Condensate Drain Line
Typically, an HVAC system has a condensate drain line. Therefore, you should ensure that the line remains clean, since when it becomes clogged, it can make the unit begin to freeze and fail to function. Furthermore, cleaning the condensate drain line is one of the easy and quick fixes you can do, and you only need to detach the line with some bleach or vinegar. This helps eliminate some of the algae, sediments, or mold that could be built up within the unit. How frequently a person needs to clean the drain line is primarily based on the general maintenance of the whole unit. For instance, how frequently do you change the air filter, and what is the general efficiency of the air filter?
Keep the Evaporator and the Condenser Coils Clean
Whether it is an outdoor or indoor HVAC system, keeping the coils free from any debris is crucial. This is an essential aspect of good maintenance, since it ensures a smooth running of the airflow. One of the indicators that the airflow could be blocked is the unit’s failure to power on. Although cleaning the coils is a quick and easy maintenance activity, you should carefully follow the instructions before starting the process. Besides, it is also crucial to handle the coils carefully to prevent damage. This can be significantly costly since paying for it may range from $400 to $1200 to change the coil. However, the prices are based on the coil’s brand and the type of HVAC unit you have. Furthermore, expensive units tend to have more costly spare parts.
Besides the coils being costly, spare parts can be hard to get based on the HVAC unit’s model and make. Additionally, you will have to incur labor costs from the service providers. Therefore, it is essential to properly maintain your HVAC unit since you will not need to worry about these issues.
Check the Flame
When you are checking the flame on the furnace, the color should be crisp. In fact, if you detect a different appearance, you should contact an HVAC professional immediately. A blue flame usually shows that the proper combustion is taking place. Besides, if you detect extended orange or yellow streaks, you should hire a technician to clean or adjust the furnace. The expert can also check the condition of your AC install. Proper maintenance of the furnace prevents the unit from causing any safety risks to your residence since it operates appropriately. However, besides reducing its lifespan, poor maintenance can lead to operational issues, which may cause some safety concerns such as flame rollout.
Regardless of the type or model of the HVAC unit that you have, it would help if you serviced it at least once annually. However, this depends on the general maintenance of the system, as seen above. Maintaining HVAC systems such as the water heater, ventilator, and others properly increases their lifespan and their general functionality.