Why does the air conditioner always seem to stop working on the hottest day of summer? If you have been in a similar situation, you know the dilemma it carries. Even the winter season is in full swing now, which means you have already turned on your heaters. But before it gets colder, consider doing quick HVAC maintenance using our HVAC tips for homeowners.
HVAC systems are necessary all around the year as they help us keep warm during winters and cool during the summers. With continuous usage, there is regular wear and tear of the HVAC system. To prevent this from happening, it's important to do certain things.
Many HVAC Contractor s use kits they purchase at TruTech Tools - the tools are often the sign of a true technician. Your local HVAC contractor can guide you on maintaining your HVAC system. Without any further ado, let's dive in to some things.
Understand the HVAC System
How can you maintain something when you don't really know about its usage and technicalities? The HVAC system includes central air conditioning, mini-split system, boiler, heat pump, etc. The following are the things to know about the HVAC system.
- Age of the System:
If your house is 10-15 years old, there is a possibility that the HVAC system is aging. You must know the age of the HVAC system as older systems can cause a lot of problems if not well installed or maintained.
- Efficiency Rating:
Heating and cooling systems have the following ratings:
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) <- this is a rating for AC systems.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) <- this is a rating for furnaces and boilers .
or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) <- this is a rating for Heat Pumps.
Indulge in Routine Maintenance
There are obviously some things that you can do as a homeowner, but that doesn't mean entirely skipping routine maintenance by the professionals. If you don't have an active maintenance program for the HVAC system, consider getting one.
Lack of routine maintenance can actually increase the risk of problems occurring. A reliable HVAC company will ensure that your system is operating efficiently and its parts are in working order.
- Change Your Air Filters
One of the most important HVAC tips for homeowners is to change air filters. The air filters get clogged with dirt, dust, pet hair and more over time, especially when it's dusty outside. This causes the air filter to be filled with dust, debris, and other particles.
A buildup of all these particles causes your air conditioner to work much harder, essentially it cannot breathe- which leads to an increase in your energy bill. This will also increase the risk of the air conditioner icing over the coil or furnace overheating, that is breaking down and causing you problems.
If you regularly change the filter, you are basically lowering the load of air that the HVAC unit has to move. A rule of thumb here would be to change the heating and cooling system filter AT LEAST every 90 days. You must clean it more often if you live in a dusty environment.
- Use Window Coverings
Believe us when we say that window covering can significantly affect your home's heating and cooling load.
In the summer season, keeping windows closed and using blinds during the day reduces the temperature. On the other hand, keeping windows, drapes, and blinds open allows sunlight to enter the house. You can close them at night to add a layer of insulation between the glass and home interior.
- Check Insulation and Seals
If your house is too old, the insulation might not be doing its job properly. Inadequate insulation can cause losing warm or cooled air from the HVAC system. You may also have to check the seals around windows and doors. You might also consider a blower door test to see if the "building shell" is leaking too much, letting in hot or cold air when increasing the running time of your HVAC system. It would be good to consult with a building performance or insulation professional for the right guidance.
- Maintain Cleanliness
Leaves, dirt, and grass can infiltrate the furnace and air conditioner. This can lead to various expensive problems that can eventually cause a breakdown of the HVAC system. Instead of paying additional costs, you can prevent this issue.
Make sure to regularly clean out any vegetation in the unit. Also, check for debris from time-to-time, especially on the outdoor coil unit of your air conditioner.
- Time to Open Closed Vents
Time and again, you might have heard of closing air ducts that you are no more using. But you don't need that advice!
With closed vents, heated and cooled air cannot travel properly through your home. Plus you upset the operating pressures of your duct system. This makes your HVAC system work harder than before. It's best to open the vents and allow the HVAC system as it was designed.
- Check for Clearance
Whether you have an HVAC system indoor or outdoor or maybe both, it's essential to check for clearance, ensuring that nothing obstructs the airflow. When checking for the outdoor system, look that no plants and weeds are located too closely. Definitely do not build and fences or structures nearby or above the outdoor coil.
For indoors, make sure that furniture or other things are not becoming obstacles, blocking the airflow from the air conditioning system.
HVAC systems are similar to cars. They need proper and regular maintenance to function efficiently and extend their lifespan. The right HVAC system will keep your home warm or properly cooled or dehumidified for years to come.
Be sure to hire a professionals for any of the technical work. Investing in maintenance HVAC does not increase the cost, but it actually helps to reduce the long term operating costs. Since maintenance will allow the system to operate efficiently, it will result in less money spent on electricity, heating, and cooling.
Not to forget that HVAC maintenance prevents the need for emergency repairs as well as complete replacements. We recommend you to go through the above-stated HVAC tips for homeowners and take good care of your HVAC system to extend its life and save costs.