HVAC techs from all over the country find that many of the things they fix on a daily basis are things that the homeowner could have done or prevented themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the items that homeowners everywhere can do to make their HVAC system last longer; be more energy efficient and provide a healthier climate inside their homes.
- Clean or replace your air filter regularly. Depending on the type you have, either replace it or wash it every 30 days.
- Vacuum the dust off of the return grille inlet every month.
- If you have a gas- or oil-fired furnace or boiler in a closet, basement or garage, be sure to keep the area around the equipment free and clear of not only combustible materials, but also from household cleaners, insecticides, etc. Even the fumes from bleach can cause the cabinets of HVAC equipment to accelerate in the rusting process, leading to premature failure.
- Keep landscape debris and shrubbery away from outdoor heat pumps and A/C units. Keeping a distance of at least 12 inches from all sides of the equipment to landscaping debris or shrubs will enhance the amount of airflow through the unit. This lowers operating temperatures, increases efficiency and lowers your electric bill. A heat pump or A/C unit that is smothered in shrubbery runs too hot and can prematurely fail. Also, be sure not to have anything closer than 48 inches from the top of the unit so the air may discharge itself properly.
- Flush some water through the condensate drains on your A/C coil or boiler sump drain to ensure algae doesn’t get a firm grip. Also, if you have a condensate pump removal system, flushing with water until you hear the pump activate is good preventative maintenance BEFORE you have water all over the floor.
- If you have a boiler system and use radiators, it is essential that these radiators be cleaned as needed to keep the dust off of them. This could be monthly or weekly! Everyone’s house or office is different. Keep them clean and clear of furniture or toys so they may do the job they were intended to do.
- If you have a humidifier attached to a central heating and air system, know the type you have and keep it clean. Whether it has a foam drum type pad or a honeycomb insert, these pads/filters must be cleaned or replaced as directed by the manufacturer. Also, it is very important to keep the internal bodies of humidifiers squeaky clean so mold and mildew doesn’t form and grow and grow and grow. If possible, only use a steam type humidifier.
- Some parts of the country still utilize what is known as a “swamp cooler.” This type of evaporative cooling is fantastic for those of you primarily in the desert Southwest. These systems have their own quirks and must be maintained to avoid failure of operation and the growth of bacteria.
- Always know exactly where all of the electrical cut-off switches and breakers are for all of your HVAC equipment. Hot water systems my have additional cut-off switches for circulating pumps, etc. If something isn’t working, always check all of the switches and breakers. Properly label and identify every switch and/or breaker.
- Most importantly, no matter what type of heating and cooling system you have purchase AT LEAST at Bi-Annual Preventative Maintenance Plan from your local professional who is licensed, insured and bonded in the profession of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Bi-Annual maintenance is the absolute most important thing you can do to prolong the life of your system; keep your energy bills at their lowest and attempt to avoid nuisance failures of operation in the middle of winter or summer when demand is at its highest. Talk to your local professional. Make sure they clean your HVAC system. All coils, blowers and drains should be cleaned. It’s good to check, but it’s better to clean, too!
Feel uncomfortable performing these maintenance tips? Let ServiceLive connect you with a Heating & Air Conditioning professional in your area.
Blog contributed by Michael Covert @ http://www.covertaire.com