Professional HVAC installation is the key to year-round home comfort. Still, the benefits of a properly installed system won’t last long without preventative HVAC maintenance. While it’s important to leave in-depth tune-ups to a heating and cooling technician, here are the at-home tips we recommend to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
Change the Air Filter
The purpose of an HVAC air filter is to trap debris that blows through the ductwork. If the filter becomes overly clogged, it could restrict airflow, raising your heating and cooling costs and causing comfort problems. Check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty or as often as the manufacturer recommends.
Maintain the Outdoor Condensing Unit
Airflow is also critical for the condensing unit to work properly. This half of your central air conditioner sits outside on a concrete slab. If it’s dirty, obstructed, or crooked, your home won’t cool as efficiently. Here’s how to maintain your condensing unit:
- Gently hose down the unit to remove debris. Avoid using high water pressure, or you could bend the delicate fins.
- Check whether any fins are flattened. Straighten them with a fin comb to improve cooling performance. If you don’t have a fin comb, applying gentle pressure with a dinner knife should do the trick.
- Trim nearby foliage so no branches come within 24 inches of the unit.
- Rake away any ground-level leaves, pine needles, and branches that could get caught in the condensing unit.
- Assess whether the concrete slab is sitting level. If the pad has settled unevenly, place shims strategically to lift the condensing unit until it sits straight.
Keep Your Air Registers Open & Clean
Many homeowners make the mistake of closing air vents to unused rooms, thinking it will help them save energy. However, all this does is throw off the system’s balance, straining the equipment and most likely raising your utility bills.
As a rule, keep at least 80% of your supply registers open at all times. Also, make sure rugs, furniture, and curtains don’t block return vents. Finally, wipe or vacuum the grilles using the brush attachment to remove dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris and promote better airflow.