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How to Maintain Your Home’s HVAC System

Your home’s HVAC system is your defense against the bitter cold of winter and soaring summer temperatures. Are you giving it the attention it needs to keep working year after year? Heating and cooling breakdowns are costly, but many HVAC problems are preventable with proper maintenance.

Routine HVAC Maintenance

The major components of your HVAC system should last 10-25 years, but without proper maintenance, they’ll break down sooner. To avoid unexpected repair and replacement bills, which can add up, make HVAC maintenance part of your annual home maintenance schedule. These are the steps to include on your checklist.

Watch the thermostat

Setting the thermostat high in winter or low in summer makes your HVAC system work harder to heat and cool your home. The ideal thermostat setting is between 70 and 78 degrees in summer and depending on your location in the winter, 60 and 70 degrees in the northern states and 75 to 80 degrees in the southern states.

Replace air filters

Air filters are typically found next to the air handler and/or in the air return duct. Your home may have multiple air filters, so check both places. To find out what filter size you need, inspect the frame of the old filter. If you smoke or have pets or if someone in your family has allergies, change your air filters every four to six weeks. Otherwise, replace filters every two to three months.

Clean around indoor and outdoor units

Don’t let dust accumulate around indoor HVAC units or grass, leaves, and other debris to crowd outdoor units. Make a point to regularly clear away anything that could compromise your unit. 

Clean evaporator coils

Dirty evaporator coils reduce air conditioning efficiency and may cause the unit to freeze up. Clean evaporator coils by turning off the power to the air handler, removing the coil access panel, and gently applying coil cleaner to the evaporator coils. If you notice mold, skip the DIY cleaning and call your air conditioning professional instead.

Inspect the condensate drain line

Your air conditioner’s condensate drain line can clog, contributing to mold and algae growth. If you notice standing water in the condensate pan, you have a clogged drain. Use a shop vacuum to clear the blockage, then flush the drain line.

Schedule HVAC tune-ups

Professional servicing is an important part of HVAC maintenance. Newer systems can be serviced every other year, but aging systems should get a tune-up annually.

Eliminate drafts

If cold or hot air is entering your home, your HVAC system will have to work overtime which can significantly raise your heating and cooling bills. If you have windows in disrepair, take action to correct the issue by connecting with a reliable window repair service. Always work with licensed and insured companies who can provide you with positive referrals. The cost of window repair will vary depending on the type of repair and window. 

Common HVAC Problems and How to Address Them

Even with diligent maintenance, HVAC systems experience problems, especially as the components near the end of their life. Some HVAC problems are an easy fix, while others require professional intervention. Here’s how to deal with the most common issues.

A malfunctioning thermostat

Before assuming your furnace or air conditioner is broken, check your thermostat. It may be as simple as changing settings, replacing batteries, or installing a new thermostat. When upgrading your thermostat, consider purchasing a smart option to save on energy costs.

A frozen air conditioner

Air conditioners shut down when evaporator coils freeze. This can be an emergency situation in hot weather, but there’s a simple fix: Turn off the air conditioning, turn on the blower fan, and wait for ice to melt. Once the coils are thawed, install a clean air filter and restart the system. If that doesn’t work, there’s a bigger problem than a dirty filter and you need to call your HVAC pro.

A faulty ignition sensor

Is your furnace clicking but not turning on? You could have a faulty pilot light on your hands, in which case you’ll need to troubleshoot it. Cleaning the ignition sensor may fix it, but if not, call a professional.

Strange noises

Not all furnace noises are cause for concern, but if you hear whining, grinding, or squealing, it’s worth giving the repairman a call. This could be a sign of a broken blower wheel or failing motor, which are too complicated to DIY.

Your HVAC system is the unsung hero of your home, so don’t let it be an afterthought. If you like a comfortable home and low energy bills, HVAC maintenance should be a top priority. Whether you DIY or let the professionals handle it, you’ll be glad you did.

When you’re ready to buy a home in the Naples and Marco Island area, connect with dedicated realtor Michelle Thomas. 239.860.7176

Blog provided by Katie Conroy;

Image via Pexels

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