HVAC systems do not require an extensive amount of maintenance, but many people take them for granted and don’t take any steps to preserve their units. There are some items you’ll want to add to your checklist for maintaining your HVAC system to keep it in good health as long as possible. This will help you keep the air quality in your house at a high level, and reduce the expenses you make on energy bills.
Uncover Your Unit For The Season
Prior to starting your HVAC unit for the season you should make sure that it’s uncovered. This sounds like a pretty common sense tip, but it’s easy to forget to uncover the system after you haven’t used it for a few months. Some contractors have had calls where an air conditioning unit was not working properly, only to find that the system was still covered.
Having a piece of plywood over top your unit, while surrounded by a thin membrane is going to have an impact on air flow. This can also overheat the unit causing permanent damage, decrease the lifetime of the unit, and increase your energy costs.
Most HVAC owners know that they need to replace their air filters, but these should be done at least twice a year. This will reduce the buildup of mold and dirt particles in the home, and improve air quality. Even if you can’t find the proper air filter for you, there are custom options that are sized according to your needs.
If you haven’t been able to change your air filter because you haven’t found the right size, you should definitely do that. Poor indoor air quality can lead to a host of health problems, and should especially be completed if you have any children in the home.
Inspect Inside The Unit
It’s important to check inside your unit after a winter season to make sure that there aren’t any mice or critters that have decided to make a home and nest inside. They tend to hang around electrical components and can cause damage to the wiring. Prior to opening the electrical panel make sure you turn off the breaker to the air conditioning unit, and also unplug the electrical disconnect. If you’re not sure how to do this you can research the type of connection you have.
Use a voltage pen to make sure that no electricity is going to the unit just to be safe. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this you can always contact a professional. Mice commonly like to make their home inside HVAC units because it protects them from the elements. They’re more likely to do this if you cover the unit, but covering the unit does add protection from the elements.
Replace Suction Line Insulation
Your suction line is the tube coming from the HVAC that has a wrap of insulation around it. This is to protect from freon cooling too quickly, but the insulation can also extend the life of your unit. Pets tend to like to chew on the insulation, and regular wear and tear can take its toll.
It’s relatively cheap to pick up an insulation wrap to cover this tube, and it will keep your unit in good condition. Moisture can also build up when there is no insulation and moisture prevents thermal efficiency leading to higher costs associated with the system.
Ensure Your HVAC Unit Is Level
A small slant will not impact your HVAC unit in a huge way, but a significant slope can cause problems. Make sure you’re keeping your unit level so that the compressor can run smoothly and the oil is moving. Be careful not to damage any copper tubing because these can contain freon and you’ll have a larger problem to deal with than just a slant HVAC unit. If you don’t feel comfortable moving the unit yourself, enlist some help, or call a professional to come help you. Over a period of time, having a unit on a slant can cause damage.
Always dot your i’s and cross your t’s when it comes to HVAC units in order to save yourself on energy efficiency, and keep your unit in good health for the long term. You can decide to cover your unit, but some contractors say it’s unnecessary (I’d still cover it). If you are due for an air filter change, make sure you get one done, or order a custom filter if necessary. If you keep your HVAC system in good condition it will reward you with better energy efficiency, so make sure you keep up with maintenance.