Each season brings new challenges for home HVAC systems. Here’s what maintenance needs to be performed during each season for optimal use.
- Check and troubleshoot the thermostat.
- Schedule HVAC maintenance with a professional. The spring requires an HVAC control inspection, a refrigerant and leak check, tightening of electric terminals, and testing of the capacitor and condensate leaks.
- Change the air filter to alleviate allergens and pathogens.
- Inspect the condensate drain to avoid mildew and mold buildup and to lower indoor humidity levels.
- Check the blower belt, and oil the blower motor. Belts dry and fray due to increased exposure to outdoor air, which causes the system to slow. If left without lubrication, the blower motor damages due to increased friction and wear.
- Clean the coils of the unit.
- Clear natural debris in front of the outdoor air conditioning unit in order for it to easily pull in cool air. Gardens or shrubbery should be planted at least 2 feet away from the unit to create shade. This cools the air conditioner and controls animals looking for food or shelter.
- Clear away natural debris.
- Change the air filter.
- Schedule HVAC maintenance.
- Seal cracks in the walls, windows, and foundation before turning on the air conditioner.
- Test the thermostat to ensure the system responds before temperatures rise.
- Test the A/C unit. If a home doesn’t feel cool, troubleshoot the appliance or call an HVAC expert.
- Limit heat-producing appliances (the oven, dryer, and dishwasher). Turn on these appliances at night to avoid skyrocketing energy bills.
- Don’t place lamps, televisions, or computers near the thermostat to avoid misreading of the room’s core temperature.
- Rake fall leaves and fallen berries and trim tree branches to rid the incentive for animals to hibernate in the outdoor HVAC unit.
- Relocate the garden away from the outdoor HVAC unit.
- Remove bushes from around the unit to prevent moisture buildup.
- Invest in draft snakes to prevent warm air from seeping out and vice versa.
- Re-caulk gaps and repair weather-stripping on windows, piping, and foundation to reduce heating costs.
- Change the air filter to alleviate.
- Call an HVAC expert to clean the vents.
- Run fans clockwise to reduce heating costs.
- Lower the temperature of the water heater to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Schedule an HVAC maintenance with a professional. The fall requires air duct cleaning; a refrigerant and leak check; testing and sealing duct leaks; measurement of the evaporator coil airflow; verification of the electric control sequence; inspection of electric terminals; motor oiling; belt tightening; and an accuracy check of the thermostat.
- Change the air filter.
- Call an energy provider for a home energy audit to diagnose heat loss. Audits find air leaks around doors and windows and improper insulation in the attic and/or garage.
- Invest in zoning. This controls which rooms receive heat through a programmable or smart thermostat. If a home doesn’t have full forced-air heating systems that offer zoned comfort solutions, close the vents to rooms that need to be kept cool (as long as the thermostat isn’t in that room). Use a space heater or electric blanket when necessary.
- Set the temperature on the programmable thermostat lower during sleep or away hours to reach optimal heating.
- Seal the blower doors to ensure that combustion gasses from the heat system, especially carbon monoxide, exit a home safely. After sealing the doors, install or replace the batteries in the carbon monoxide detector.
For more information about HVAC maintenance or to schedule a check-up for the next season, contact a professional.