On paper, there’s a lot to like about having a well-maintained HVAC system.
You have fewer repair costs. You and your loved ones can enjoy having better air quality. And you don’t have to deal with any shocking system failures that end with you saying things like, “I had no idea that my furnace was going to quit on me this winter.”.
According to Energy Star, a boiler or furnace can last for up to 15 years while an air conditioner can last for 10. But that longevity doesn’t mean much to you if your heating system is on the fritz in year 5.
What can you do to maintain your HVAC? How can you make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth out of your major appliances? Keep reading to see our list of four things you need to keep your HVAC system running smoothly for as long as possible.
Fresh Air Filters
When you have pet or pollen allergies, it can feel like your body is just waiting for an excuse to start hacking and reacting away. Changing out your air filters can help you and your HVAC system out in at least a couple of ways:
First, a clean air filter will typically act like a screen that prevents dust in the air from circulating all over your house. And second, it can prevent dust mites and mold particles from getting into your HVAC system and wearing it down.
However, there’s a balancing act you have to go through when choosing your air filter. On the one hand, you don’t want to get a filter that’s too thick for air to easily pass through. But at the same time, you also need your filter to be capable of trapping dust and dirt particles before they pass through your units. For these reasons, we will typically recommend a 20x20x1 filter.
Dust mites, pet dander, and pollen spores are a fact of life. But with the help of a top-notch air filter, these irritants and allergens don’t have to circulate freely through your central air. And to that end, changing your air filter every one to three months can make a huge difference for both your quality of life and your HVAC system.
A Clean and Clear Outdoor Condensing Unit
If you take a walk around the side of your house, eventually you might come across an outdoor heating pump or condensing unit — not to be confused with your outdoor air conditioner. As Real Estate Boston explains, these pumps work by finding heat in the air and pumping it back into your home or your building for a cozy temperature improvement.
But if you have trees and bushes in your backyard or lots of dust buildup on the outside of your unit, it’s easy for mold, fungi, and dust to take over in a big way. Fortunately, the fix here is pretty easy. All you have to do is hose the unit down a few times a year while making sure that there’s a healthy amount of space between the pump and the bushes around it.
An Air Conditioner With Regularly Cleaned Coils
Sometimes even when you’ve been diligent with your air filters, it’s still possible for dirt to accumulate and build on the coils of your AC unit.
A few particles here and there might not necessarily lead to catastrophe. But if enough dirt accumulates, your AC may not be able to function properly.
The good news is that cleaning your air conditioning coils doesn’t have to be a daily or weekly thing. You may be able to get away with doing it once a month during spring and summer. But it pays to check your AC unit regularly to make sure that dust and grime haven’t started accumulating in a bad way.
Regular Maintenance Inspections
When HVAC systems aren’t your main gig, it’s easy to think that everything’s fine as long as your appliances are “working”. But according to a research paper on evaluating efficiency in residential HVAC systems, there’s reason to believe that many homeowners just aren’t getting optimal performance out of their heating and cooling systems.
Although most of us can tell when someone isn’t feeling their best, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a non-medical professional to diagnose an infection accurately. And it’s a similar deal with your air and cooling systems.
If you’re not an especially handy person, you can count on your HVAC technician to do the heavy lifting. And if there are any problems with your units and appliances, your HVAC professional will be able to spot problems early and help you ward them off. As far as bang for your HVAC buck goes, having someone come in once a year or so can give your system and appliances more longevity.
Here’s the Secret Sauce for Maintaining Your HVAC System
Whether you live in a colder climate, a blazing hot climate, or something in between, your HVAC system is a key component of being able to survive seasonal weather changes in relative comfort. But like most things in life, you have to work at maintaining your HVAC system if you want to get more out of it.
Fortunately, maximizing your HVAC system doesn’t have to be complicated. Helping your appliances last longer is a simple matter of sitting down, having a list of tasks to do, and then being consistent.
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