Properly taking care of your HVAC systems can add years to their lives. Alternatively, if you don’t take care of them, you’ll be paying a lot of unnecessary money to have heating and air conditioning parts repaired and replaced far too often. There’s a few simple things that you can do when it comes to making sure your HVAC systems are functioning at their highest capability.
- HVAC filters should be replaced every three months or so. If you have a pet, you might want to replace the filters more like every month. You should at least check the filters each month to make sure they aren’t too dirty. If you are interested in conserving energy and saving money on your electricity bill, you can actually buy high performance air filters. They are a little pricier initially but they last longer than regular filters and they are much more efficient.
- You should never store anything in the same closet as your system. If one of your HVAC systems is in the ceiling like at an apartment or condo, then you won’t have to worry about this one. However, if your system is stored in a specific closet or cupboard, then do not use the same closet for anything else. Many people like to store cleaning supplies or such items in those types of areas. Not only is this incredibly dangerous but if any of the chemicals got on to the system, it could cause corrosion, rust and other damages.
- If your system is an outdoor system then you will want to make sure that it is always kept free of leaves, sticks, dust and other debris. There should be a two foot clearing around the system sloping gently downwards. This will help to ensure that any rain water or anything like that will run off and not sit or pool at the base of the system. This is the same reason you don’t want to plant any trees, flowers or shrubs within two feet of the system; whenever you water them, the water would seep into the system. It’s also a good idea to cover the system with a canopy or something similar in order to protect it as much as possible. However, you never want anything to touch the unit.
- HVAC systems should be professionally checked twice a year. A good rule of thumb to follow is to have your unit checked out and tuned up every fall and spring. These are known as ‘low use’ months. If the unit is given the okay during these seasons then it will be running as efficiently as possible when the ‘high use’ months role around, which are summer and winter. You may need to call in an expert at other times during the year but even if you don’t have to, a professional should be at your house, inspecting your unit no less than two times every year. Another reason to have it checked out during low usage months is because the electrician may want to turn it off to ensure his or her own safety. If you are in constant use of the unit, this will cause a lot of discomfort. However, if the weather is mild then there will be no problem turning off the machine.
- There are other things that you can do periodically to your system such as:
- Inspect the refrigerant lines monthly.
- Turn off the water to the humidifier in the summer.
- Replace the humidifier filter and turn on water in the winter.
- Replace the carbon monoxide battery yearly.
- Clean the condensate drain with bleach and water yearly.
If all of these things are done, your unit will last you a full life span of 10 to 15 years, possibly longer. You can’t be to careful when it comes to this. Regular maintenance is not expensive but replacing parts and whole units will put a strain on your bank account. It’s better to spend a little on good care than to risk a whole lot on potentially having to replace an entire system in the middle of summer when you need it to function and last you the most. It’s not a good idea to procrastinate but it’s never too late to start responsible upkeep.