To keep the home comfortable all year round, HVAC maintenance is important. There are some general HVAC maintenance strategies to implement on a regular basis. Some major repairs will require an HVAC specialist, but simple steps can keep a unit functional for years. There are several things the homeowner can do to ensure a long life of their unit.
DIY Maintenance for HVAC Equipment
The first line of defense is buying the best equipment possible and providing an ideal location for the system. Relying on a cheap air filter is the first step toward damaging an HVAC unit. Purchasing a high-efficiency air filter will prolong the life of the ventilation system. An air filter with pleats is preferable. Also, owners should always be mindful of any outside contaminants that could invade the unit. Routine checks for leaves, grass, or weeds should be standard practice. The unit should have a full 2 feet of clear space for proper functioning. A quick glance around the unit will help keep the HVAC functional.
Frequency of DIY Maintenance
In general, maintenance on a cooling system should be conducted at minimum, once a year. Conversely, maintenance for a heating system should also be conducted at least once a year. Both should be initiated before the specific season begins.
Once a month, the owner must service the refrigerant lines. In order to ensure these lines are functioning properly, owners should watch for some key warning signs. Check for ice build up which will indicate a fault in the insulation. Mold and condensation are also warning signs of improperly maintained refrigerant lines.
Changing seasons should trigger more routine maintenance. The air filter should be replaced every 90 days, at least. During the summer months, turn off water to the furnace humidifier. When the weather turns colder, turn the water back on and replace the filter for the humidifier at this time.
DIY HVAC Maintenance for Additional Things
Once per year, an HVAC requires the following maintenance. Check the battery controlling the carbon monoxide detector and if needed, change it. Harsh weather conditions may cause the battery to drain more quickly than advertised. For that reason, check the battery life at least once a year. An outdoor AC unit must be on a firm and flat surface. Ensure that the ground has not shifted and no animals have dug into the ground. One last annual maintenance tip is to clean the AC condensate drain. Clean the drain using a mixture of bleach and water.
By following all these steps, an HVAC unit will have a long life requiring minimal professional maintenance. If the unit begins to function poorly, professional help may be a necessity. Also keep in mind that a professional should always be called for any job that an owner feels is too complicated or dangerous. Otherwise, these steps can help maintain a working system.