Home should be a sanctuary, where you can relax and feel safe. Keeping it that way, however, requires that you invest some time and effort into maintenance. This is particularly true for your HVAC system. Neglecting that maintenance can lead to inconvenient and costly problems. However, by staying on top of these simple tasks, your system will run smoothly and efficiently for years.
The air filter in your HVAC system should be changed every one to three months depending on how quickly it becomes clogged with dust and dirt. It is a good practice, however, to check it monthly, at least until you know how often your particular system needs a new one.
The room that houses your HVAC equipment should not double as a storage room, or be used for any purpose other than keeping your system away from people, pets, furniture, boxes and anything that could interfere with its operation.
The outside unit of your air conditioner should also be free of debris. Keep an area at least two feet all the way around clear of grass, flowers, leaves and tree branches or twigs.
Pay attention to the sounds your furnace and air conditioner make. Rattling, thumping, groaning, squealing or grinding noises could indicate a problem. Some of these sounds are normal when you turn on the system for the first time that season. If they persist or if they get worse, it could be time for a maintenance check.
Vacuum the return and supply vents to prevent a buildup of dust and dirt that can obstruct airflow. Periodically check the airflow to make sure it isn’t becoming weak.
The outside air conditioner unit can collect debris that impedes its performance. Trim nearby plants, shrubs and grass. Wipe down the unit inside and outside to get rid of dirt, or wash it with a gentle spray using a garden hose.
Have your ductwork inspected every few years to check for any leaks, gaps, sagging or blockages that can affect the airflow into your home. Ducts can collect dander, dust and even pests that should be cleared out.
Remember to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance to ensure that your system is running at peak efficiency. Consider a maintenance plan, so you’ll be reminded when you are due for service. Regular maintenance will save money, and the inconvenience of an unexpected breakdown, over the life of your system.