As we head into spring, many people start to think about a comprehensive cleaning and tidying session to freshen up their homes. Spring is a time for renewal, and it’s natural to feel an urge for a clean and fresh start for the rest of the year. Many people limit their spring cleaning to some vacuuming, washing, and scrubbing, and they forget a vital element. Cleaning the HVAC and associated system is also a great idea; we will be relying on them again when the weather turns warmer. Also, it’s worth noting that a clean HVAC system will even help you to keep your home clean. Let’s take a closer look at four HVAC Spring cleaning tips for your home.
- Cleaning and Changing the Air Filter
Studies have shown that a single ounce of dust may contain around 40,000 dust mites. Dust mites and their associated materials can trigger allergic reactions and significantly lower the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home. Removing dust mites with regular vacuuming can help, but it’s important to understand that the HVAC system circulates the air in your home multiple times each day. So, if you have a high concentration of dust mites, they will be circulated throughout the home. All of the air, including any airborne contaminants, passes through the air filter.
The air filter may be a unit that’s removed to be cleaned or a replaceable air filter. Each filter is sized for the HVAC equipment, so if you do need a new air filter or replaceable units, make sure they are the correct size. If the air filter is too small, the air will simply pass around the side, rendering it useless. The full instructions to clean or replace the air filter are detailed in the owner’s manual for your HVAC equipment. It’s a great idea to clean the air filter once per month or more often if you have a larger family or pets.
It’s also worth considering the Minimum Energy Reporting Value (MERV) of the air filters that you use in your HVAC system. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the airborne particulates that it will remove. But, there is a note of caution, very high MERV rating air filters are only suitable for laboratories, clinics, hospitals, and commercial HVAC systems. These systems are larger and more powerful, which means that they can force the air through the air filters. A domestic HVAC system is not powerful enough to do this, and it may choke because it cannot force the air through the filter. For the best domestic performance, look for an air filter with a MERV rating of 11-12, and the IAQ will improve. Alternatively, you can ask your local HVAC specialist about air purification systems for your home.
- Deep Cleaning the Bathroom
Another contaminant that can enter the HVAC system and be circulated throughout the home is mold spores. Many people don’t know that the grout in their bathrooms has pores, and these can become clogged with mold spores. This is why it’s important to clean the tiles and the grout between then when you clean the bathroom. Spraying the tiles and grout with some white vinegar and scrubbing will kill any mold lurking there.
Another key area to clean is the bathroom fans. These are vital to remove condensation, and if they are dirty, they will be less efficient. Schedule an annual clean at the beginning of spring, and your bathroom will be less prone to mold. Cleaning the bathroom fans is easy, turn off the power, take off the cover, and wash it in clean soapy water. Then clean the visible dirt off the fan blades gently with an old toothbrush, make sure everything is dry, and then put the unit back together. The bathroom fan will run more efficiently, the airflow will increase, and the IAQ will improve.
- Cleaning the Vents and Ducts
The internal surfaces of the ducts and vents are a location where dust and debris can gather, and this material is added to the air passing through them. The vents are easy to clean with a vacuum attachment, and it’s important to keep them clear and partially open. If the vents are removed, it’s possible to clean the ducts up to the limit of your reach with a longer cleaning tool. But, the best way to get your ducts cleaned is to hire a local HVAC specialist. They have the experience and specialized tools to give your ductwork a thorough clean. It’s a great idea to schedule an annual cleaning for your ducts and vents, and the IAQ will improve dramatically.
- Cleaning the Outdoor HVAC Unit
Over the course of the year, a large quantity of dirt and debris will accumulate in and around the outdoor HVAC unit. This debris will reduce the airflow and the cooling functionality of your HVAC system. This means that you will be paying the same or more for the energy to run your system, and the performance will be compromised.
Start by cleaning out any dead leaves, grass clippings, dirt deposits, and any other debris by hand. Then take a low pressure hose and give the entire outdoor unit a good clean. When the unit is dry, check underneath to make sure the drainage hole at the base of the cabinet is clear. This drainage hole has to be clear to ensure the airflow is maintained and the cooling ability is optimal.
Spring cleaning is a fantastic way to get your home ready for the warmer months ahead. Cleaning your HVAC system will improve the IAQ and improve your heating and cooling equipment performance and efficiency. A great deal of this cleaning can be carried out by the homeowner themselves. But, some of this cleaning is more effective if it’s carried out by a local HVAC technician. Scheduling some annual maintenance and cleaning for your HVAC system is a great way to improve performance, IAQ, and energy efficiency.