Spring is when many homeowners take stock of how the winter months have affected their homes. It’s when thoughts turn to getting the home ready for the year to come and getting the house clean. This is the perfect time to get rid of any dust or dirt that has accumulated in the home over winter when you didn’t want to open the doors and windows. But, spring is also the time to clean and carry out some much needed maintenance on your HVAC system. In this article, we will examine five tips that are essential for spring HVAC maintenance.
Do You Need HVAC Maintenance?
Many homeowners avoid HVAC maintenance to “save money,” but this is a false economy for a number of reasons. A well maintained HVAC system will provide cleaner air, but it will also run more efficiently and use less energy. This will lower your energy bills significantly, but you can save money in other ways too. When any piece of equipment is maintained, it will be less likely to fail, and an HVAC system is no exception. When you have your HVAC system regularly inspected by a trained specialist, they can find smaller issues before they develop into larger problems. Generally speaking, a minor repair is cheaper to fix than a major one, and there will be less downtime. Finally, if you look after your HVAC system, the service life will be extended, which means you can save a lot of money over the years.
- Regularly Changing the Air Filter
The air filter should be changed regularly throughout the year. But, if you’ve forgotten to change it over winter or you can’t remember when it was changed last, change it now. Despite being an easy task that anyone can carry out without any special training, air filter changes are often ignored. This is a mistake because a clean air filter can have a dramatic effect on your HVAC system. Many people believe that an air filter is needed to improve the indoor air quality (/IAQ), and although this is true, it isn’t the primary function. The air filter prevents particles from entering the sensitive HVAC components where they could cause damage.
The HVAC system relies on an obstructed airflow to work correctly, and if the air is blocked, it can cause problems. The system will work harder to move the air, and this will use more energy driving up your utility bills. This also causes the heating and cooling equipment to overwork leading to component failures that can be expensive to fix. If you have a washable and replaceable air filter is should be cleaned and washed every month. If you have a disposal filter replace it monthly and make sure the model number matches your HVAC system requirements. If you have pets in the home, you may want to replace the air filter more frequently because pet hair can cause serious clogging issues quickly.
- Check and Clean the Ductwork
The ductwork is essential, it delivers the treated air throughout your home, and it can get very dirty over time. If you have any cracks or leaks in your ductwork, the treated air can escape, and this wastes a lot of energy. Another problem is that pools of condensation in the ducts can be a breeding ground for mold. This can lead to the release of mold spores into your home, which will reduce the IAQ. The first people to notice this will be people with pre-existing breathing conditions such as asthma sufferers. Ductwork can also be an attractive location for vermin, insects, and other unwanted visitors that want somewhere to live during the winter months. It’s a good idea to contact your local certified HVAC specialist about a ductwork inspection and cleaning. Many people are surprised at how clean their indoor air feels after cleaning, and the energy savings are worth the modest investment.
- Check the Drainage Hole
An air conditioner usually has a drainage hole; this is under the cabinet base, and it needs to be kept clear. Many people are unaware that an air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier as it removes heat from the home. Although it isn’t as effective as a dedicated dehumidifier, the AC system can still remove a lot of moisture. This moisture and anything that it contains from the indoor air, such as dirt, dust, pet hair, and more, is collected in a P-trap. The contents can create a sticky clog that blocks the drainage hole which, as you might imagine, leads to the drain. If the P-trap becomes too full, the water will overflow, and you may notice a puddle under the AC unit. Make sure the P-trap and drainage hole are kept clear to avoid the risks of water damage.
- Remove Exterior Obstacles
The outdoor unit for your air conditioner needs to be kept clean and clear. Start by clearing away any loose leaves, vegetation, or debris that’s accumulated around the unit over the winter months. There should be at least two feet of clear space around the outdoor unit, and the plants need to be trimmed back if they are too close. The outdoor unit pulls fresh air into the home, and if it’s obstructed, it will be less efficient.
- Consider a Programmable Thermostat
If you have an older thermostat that you cannot program, this is the perfect time to think about installing one. A programmable or smart thermostat will give you greater control of the indoor temperature. But there are other benefits; you can set your system to lower the temperature or shut-off when the home is empty. This will save energy because you don’t want to heat or cool a home that’s empty. The ultimate in control is the smart thermostat that you can control remotely in real time via your favorite mobile device. This allows you to make changes whenever you like as long as you have a WiFi connection. A smart thermostat will also learn your habits and help you achieve your ideal level of indoor comfort without breaking the bank.
If you want to get your HVAC system ready for the year to come, contact your local certified specialist for professional help and advice.