A properly maintained HVAC system can provide energy savings and a comfortable home on that hot summer day or chilly winter evening. The importance of proper HVAC maintenance goes beyond comfort as well. Dust and pollen from external air can be problematic for allergy sufferers. Improper internal humidity can create the perfect environment for mold as well. Keep your HVAC running smooth for health and comfort each year by using the following tips.
Regular Maintenance Schedules
You HVAC system is a delicate piece of machinery that makes the home comfortable when working properly. A series of maintenance protocols should be followed for the best performance. Air intakes should be inspected twice annually at the same time condenser or evaporator coils are cleaned. Clean coils provide efficiency in an air conditioning unit or heat pump. A gas furnace should have the pilot or electric ignition unit inspected during this annual check to ensure proper combustion is taking place.
Parts prone to dust or water damage should be inspected twice a year or as often as needed. This includes the blower unit and fan pulleys. Pulleys should be tight and fan blades should be free from dust for optimal movement. Excessive dust may indicate a problematic filter or the need for a home HEPA unit.
Fight the Dust
Dust is a constant enemy for home cleanliness. It's also the worst enemy for an HVAC system. It can damage internal components and coat bearings without proper filtration. Consider cleaning your air ducts every two years and using filter with a MERV high rating. However, a filter with too high of a rating can restrict airflow and reduce the heating and cooling affect in the home. Use a standard HEPA filter in the home in addition to the furnace filter to add extra protection against pollen that may find its way in ductwork. A filter should be changed ever few months.
Jotting down memos and keeping a chart of monthly information on the HVAC system can help lower costs down the road and prevent damage before it occurs. A regular record should keep track of maintenance schedules and when a technician performs a repair. A good HVAC record should also include ongoing information on how well a comfortable temperature is achieved and any strange noises or vibrations in the unit heard.
HVAC equipment requires a regular cycling period to ensure proper operation. Each appliance should run for 30 minutes prior to the opening season. For example, the air conditioner unit should run 30 minutes in the spring after frost to check components. The furnace will need to run in early fall as well. However, cycling equipment too rapidly can cause early wear and tear on your components.
Part of the equipment cycling schedule should include testing return air and supply temperatures. Most HVAC technicians will follow this procedure if you subscribe to a regular maintenance package. Gas furnaces should be tested for leaks as well during this cycling period. For other HVAC Ideas check out Modernize.