Your HVAC system keeps your home or commercial space as comfortable as possible by heating and cooling during the summer and winter, but also by ventilating. To ensure your system works properly, you need to keep it maintained. Here are some key HVAC maintenance tips for every season of the year.
Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips
During the spring, the temperatures hit the sweet spot where you don’t have to heat or cool your home or office as often. Take advantage of this; open your windows and air out your space. In most cases, the air outside is cleaner and fresher than the air inside and letting in some fresh air helps to improve indoor air quality.
Also use the spring to get ready for the summer. Turn your thermostat a few degrees lower than the current outside temperature and see if your air conditioner cycles on. If it doesn’t, you should contact a repair professional. In most cases, repairs are easier to schedule and potentially even a bit cheaper in the spring than in the summer.
If you wait until the summer to test your home or business air conditioner, you will end up scheduling a repair at the busiest time of the year when everyone is scrambling to address last-minute issues. Even if you don’t need an AC repair, you may still want to have an HVAC professional come into your home to do a check up on your system. They can look at refrigerant levels and top up as needed. They can also address the rest of your system’s components and let you know about potential repair issues before they get out of control.
Summer AC Maintenance Tips
Before turning on your air conditioner for the summer, make sure that your vents or indoor air handling units aren’t blocked by furniture, window treatments, appliances, commercial equipment, or anything else. Even if objects are slightly away from the vent, make sure that they don’t disrupt the flow of cool air into your home or commercial building.
Then, look at your outdoor unit and make sure that it has ample space for airflow. Cut back bushes, weeds, or other plants blocking your outdoor unit, and take some time to remove leaves or debris that has collected on the unit.
Also put in a new filter or clean and replace the existing filter. Depending on the type of system you have, you may be able to upgrade your filter. Pleated high efficiency AC filters feature a static electric charge which attracts and traps particles more effectively than standard AC filters.
During the summer, you may also want to dry off the cooling coil in your external unit. As the cooling coil dehumidifies and cools the refrigerant, it generates a lot of moisture, which can lead to mold or mildew. If you see any mold or mildew, contact a residential or commercial HVAC specialist to deep clean your system and chemically treat the coil to avoid future issues.
Finally, just be aware of issues that indicate you need an AC repair. If you notice any of the following issues with your AC during the summer, you need to call a repair specialist:
- Blowing hot air
- Not generating enough cool air
- Cycling on and off repeatedly
- Making strange grinding, screeching, or squealing sounds
- Building up moisture on external units
- Generating unpleasant odors
- Not responding to the thermostat
- Unexplained spikes in electrical bills
Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips
Like spring, fall also brings in a lot of temperate days where you don’t need as much heating or cooling. As a result, this is a great time to take advantage of the off season and have an HVAC professional come into your home or business to perform routine maintenance on your HVAC system. You should also screen for potential issues by turning on your heater before you need it.
An HVAC professional can check the electrical connections, examine your furnace, look at your indoor air handling units, inspect ductwork, look at your compressor, and perform other maintenance as needed. They can also change your filter.
If you don’t schedule professional maintenance, always make sure that your change your filter before the heating season starts. Dirty filters force your HVAC system to work harder to move air through the system. That increases the wear and tear on your HVAC equipment, decreasing its lifespan and heightening the risk of a breakdown. Additionally, your filter plays a big role in indoor air quality, and a clean filter helps to protect the health of your family, employees, customers, and anyone else in your home of business.
During the fall, you should also check your home or commercial building for air leaks. If warm air seeps out during the winter, you lose some of the warm air generated by your HVAC system, and that wastes energy while unnecessarily driving up your bill. Make sure windows close tightly, look at weather stripping around doors and replace as needed, and fill holes with expanding foam if necessary. If you’re worried about air leaks, you may want to have a professional come in and do a home energy audit to help you identify and address problem areas.
Winter Heating Maintenance
Before turning on the heat for the winter, make sure your vents or indoor air handling units aren’t obstructed. Clean vent slates with a damp towel and vacuum the area to remove as much debris as possible from duct openings.
During the winter, you should make sure that your furnace or heat pump responds to your thermostat. If you have a pilot light, you should check on that if your system ever stops turning on. Also remember to keep an eye out for ice and snow to ensure it’s not accumulating on the outdoor unit.
Beyond that, you just need to be aware of signs that your heating system needs a repair. If your heating systems has any of the following issues, you should contact a residential or commercial HVAC technician:
- Doesn’t respond to thermostat
- Cycles on and off too quickly
- Runs all the time
- Water pools around the furnace
- Emits strange smells, especially gas odors
- Makes thumping, scraping, or other unusual noises
- Unexpected increases in heating bill
- Cold air comes from vents or indoor air handling units
- Uneven heating throughout your home of business
To schedule routine maintenance on your HVAC system, contact us at N.E.T.R., Inc. We work with residential and commercial clients, and we can help you maintain, repair, or replace the HVAC system in your home or business.