Unless your house has no source of heating or cooling (and that means you probably live in a pretty rustic abode), you have to be on top of your HVAC needs each season. Spring is the perfect time to ensure that you’re taking care of all the equipment that keeps your home temperate no matter what Mother Nature decides to do.
The following list of HVAC tips has been designed to assist you in making the wisest choices when it comes to protecting your heating and cooling equipment investment.
#1: Have your HVAC equipment checked out twice each year: Once in spring, and once in fall.
Taking this simple step will make a huge difference in how your machinery performs. Just as you wouldn’t allow your car or truck to run without maintenance, you should never force your HVAC equipment to run without tune-ups. Besides, tune-ups are the ideal opportunities for HVAC experts to uncover potential problems before they become too overwhelming.
#2: Replace the air filter in your HVAC equipment.
The air filter in your HVAC unit operates as the “lungs” of your home. In essence, it keeps particles of dust, dander, bug detritus, pollen and dirt from being blown throughout your residence. As you might imagine, it becomes clogged pretty quickly! It’s generally a good idea to replace the air filter every month or so. If you don’t remember the last time you tackled this project, it’s time to do it now.
#3: Take a walk around any outdoor condenser units and clear out the debris.
Over the winter, debris such as leaves, sticks, dead plants and dirt may start to creep against outdoor condenser units. This prevents the air conditioner from working at maximum efficiency and, if the debris is left untouched, can cause a safety hazard. It doesn’t take much to remove the debris, although you’ll want to be careful of any moving or electric parts. (This is a task that an HVAC maintenance professional will be able to tackle or at least provide advice.)
#4: Have your home ductwork properly and thoroughly cleaned.
Over the winter months, tons of particulate will settle into a typical home’s ductwork. Whenever the air conditioner (or furnace) runs, this particulate is distributed into the air. Because indoor air quality is a huge concern (especially for households with family members who have allergies, respiratory illnesses, decreased immune systems or frequent colds), clean ductwork is a “must”.
#5: Make sure you are using a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat will help regulate the temperature inside your home by “telling” your HVAC unit how hot or cold the house should be at any given time of day or night. Most families with programmable thermostats choose to allow their homes to get a bit warmer during the daytime when they aren’t going to be around. By “bumping up” the thermostat in this way by 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 percent can be saved on an average monthly utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
#6: If you don’t understand how your furnace and air conditioning unit work, just ASK!
One of the biggest frustrations for many homeowners is that they simply have never had the opportunity to “get to know” their HVAC equipment. The next time you schedule your regular seasonal maintenance, always ask your SECCO expert to give you an education. This will help you have a better understanding of how everything works, and how you can become more aware of possible issues.
#7: If your air conditioning unit has been losing efficiency year after year, it may be time for a new unit.
After a certain amount of time, all HVAC equipment outlasts its abilities. In the springtime, it’s smart to assess whether your cooling unit has been gradually losing efficiency. You may even want to look at a few years’ utility bills to examine if it’s costing you more to get less benefit from the unit. In the end, a new unit may be a wiser investment to make than to keep spending more and more money on an older unit that is no longer viable or reliable. (As a side note, most air conditioning units will last about 10-15 years.)
Having a home means making seasonal and annual decisions when it comes to all the “moving parts” like HVAC equipment and appliances. By staying on top of the maintenance, you can usually save 90 percent of the heartaches associated with having a “sudden” breakdown which could have been prevented.