The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system acts almost like the lungs of your home. It circulates air in and out, to create optimal breathing conditions. And since it can be more difficult to breathe in extreme heat or cold, the HVAC keeps you comfortable at ideal temperatures to match the seasons, so you can breathe easily and in contentment. A poorly functioning HVAC system means the air you breathe is less clean, and can be harsher on your respiration. While certain types of HVAC maintenance are best left to professionals, there are some steps you can take in your weekly, monthly, and yearly upkeep that will benefit your health, and the functionality of your system.
- Replace the Filter – This is one of the simplest aspects of maintenance, yet it is often neglected. The filter should be replaced every 90 days, but it is best to check it every month. If it appears to be heavily clogged or dark and saturated with filtered particles, then it should be replaced. This is especially common in households with pets. Pet owners are advised to change their filters every month. When selecting which filter to use, look for one that is pleated, as these are more efficient; they use electrostatic energy to catch even the smallest bacteria-carrying particles.
- Keep Outdoor Components Clean – Outside, there should be a minimum clearance of 2 feet around air conditioning units or heat pumps. Be proactive about the upkeep of these areas. Check every week for debris, such as fallen twigs or leaves, and clear them away from the area. Clean pollen off of the components. When mowing the lawn in the vicinity of the unit, don’t allow the cut grass to be expelled in that direction.
- Check Refrigerant Lines Monthly – These are the pipes or tubes that move refrigerant through an air conditioner or heat pump system. Each set will consist of two pipes or tubes. One, the suction line which carries refrigerant in a gaseous state, will be insulated, whereas the other, the liquid line, is not commonly insulated. Check these lines, and the insulation in particular, every month. It’s best for any damages to be repaired as soon as possible.
- Seasonal Considerations – During the summer months, turn off the water supply to the furnace humidifier. Later on, when the weather turns chilly and you want to turn on the heat, replace the humidifier filter, and turn the water supply back on. Programmable digital thermostats help regulate your energy consumption, allowing you to shut the system off automatically or lower the temperature when no one is at home. Consider updating your system if it is older, as newer models can be much more energy efficient. To save energy and retain the desired temperature in your home once it is established (cool in summer, warm in winter), be sure that your doors and windows stay shut and are properly sealed. If air escapes your home through poorly insulated or broken windows, you are wasting energy, so find problem spots and fill them with caulk or other insulation. Also check to make sure air isn’t escaping through heating or cooling ducts and, when necessary, seal these as well.
Winter and summer are the busiest times of year for HVAC professionals, so it is best to make appointments for annual maintenance in the spring and fall. This will also give you peace of mind, going into winter or summer with the foreknowledge that your system has been checked and is running smoothly.
Even if you’ve been vigilant in maintaining your HVAC system, breakdowns can happen that result in water damage, or even the growth of mold, where water leaks occur inside your home. If you find a breakdown in your system and resulting water damage, call Warren Restoration. We will take care of the water damage, properly drying the area and checking to make sure there is no possibility of mold. We serve an approximate 2-hour radius from our two family-owned and operated offices in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC.
We also advice you to follow our fire safety rules to get you house secured.