HVAC Tips and Tricks for Homeowners

HVAC Tips and Tricks for Homeowners

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Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (also known as HVAC) systems are a must-have in any modern household to keep the environment inside comfortable and healthy year-round. However, just like any technology, they need consistent maintenance and care to keep them running efficiently and avoid costly repairs. You may ask yourself, “How to maintain an HVAC system for it to serve as long as possible?” While it may seem a challenging task at first, we have collected our best expert HVAC tips and tricks for homeowners to ensure their air conditioning systems run smoothly and efficiently and extend the life of their heating and cooling units.

What is HVAC Technical Maintenance?

HVAC technical maintenance involves many things, including those that can be done DIY and require certified professionals. Regular maintenance ensures that all the basic components of your heating and cooling system function properly, helping to prevent appliance issues and maintain adequate airflow throughout your home. Besides potentially preventing costly repairs that come with breakdowns of appliances, this also helps lower the household's heating cost, allowing the whole HVAC system to work more efficiently. Let’s take a look at the reasons for breakdowns and the best ways how to maintain your HVAC system.

Common Appliance Issues with AC Units

The main reason to consider general HVAC care and AC maintenance is to prevent possible issues that lower appliances’ productivity, raise their work time, and often lead to malfunctioning or complete collapse. Here are some of the most common of those:

Dirty Air Filter

Air filters are responsible for cleaning the air of dirt, fur, pollen, and other allergens. All of those particles tend to build up and clog the whole AC unit, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioning system. A dirty air filter can result in higher energy bills, ice buildup on evaporator coils, and other damage.

Clogged Condensation Drain Line

A condensation drain line is the way for your air conditioner unit to eliminate all the moisture that appears due to the hot air cooling down. If it gets clogged, the excessive moisture may start leaking, potentially causing severe water damage and increasing humidity levels inside the house.

Dirty Coils

The evaporator and the condenser coils tend to accumulate dirt over time. This often results in the unit losing its cooling capacity, leading to increased energy consumption and potential system overheating.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the liquid responsible for the air cooling processes inside the air conditioner. If it starts to leak, it can reduce the cooling efficiency of your AC unit and be quite harmful to the environment. The best way to prevent it is to have regular checks and prompt repairs if necessary.

Change the Air Filters Systematically

At the top of our HVAC maintenance checklist, we have one of the most effective yet straightforward HVAC maintenance tips — simply change the filters regularly. Clogged air filters obstruct the flow of air and spoil its quality in the house, so replacing them can make the environment healthier and save you some money on power bills. In addition, you can often replace the filters inside your AC unit by yourself, which takes only about ten minutes. Depending on the AC usage, your location, and the type of AC you are using, it is recommended to install clean filters once every 1-3 months.

Regularly Remove Debris and Dust from the Outdoor Components

Unlike its indoor part, the outdoor condenser unit is constantly exposed to rapid temperature changes and severe weather conditions. It can accumulate debris, such as leaves, dirt, grass clippings, etc. Ensuring the area around the unit is clean is vital to prevent blockages that can affect the cooling process or even damage the whole air conditioner. Maintaining the condenser unit helps improve efficiency and extend its lifespan.

Track HVAC System Productivity and Energy Bills

One of the easiest things you can do to track your AC unit’s health and performance is just to keep an eye on energy bills and notice when they rise. While oftentimes it can be fixed by applying more efficient settings on the thermostat, it can often be connected with deeper issues with the unit. Once you notice the power bills skyrocket, contact our experienced HVAC technicians at Airmaker to diagnose, identify, and resolve the issue.

Keep Your Vents and Registers Clean

Another part of the AC maintenance plan is ensuring that all the air vents and registers are clean and unobstructed. First and foremost, this way, you can be sure that the temperature throughout your home is consistent and that no contaminants are present. In addition, the fewer obstructions there are, the less power the system needs to do its work. If you clean your HVAC unit regularly, it ensures consistent airflow and effective home climate control.

Check the Thermostat and Calibrate if Needed

The thermostat is the brain of your whole HVAC system at home. A properly functioning thermostat is essential for maintaining a comfortable temperature in the house without manually changing it all the time. However, an incorrectly calibrated thermostat can result in inefficient or sometimes excessive heating and cooling, affecting your comfort and wallet. Check your thermostat periodically and recalibrate it if necessary to ensure it reads the temperature accurately and maintains a constant temperature.

Inspect and Clean Air Ducts

The primary function of air ducts in your AC is to evenly distribute the heated/cooled air throughout your home. However, if not maintained and cleaned correctly, they can become clogged with dust debris or even develop mold over time. Not only does it significantly weaken the overall flow of air, but it can also harm your health. To avoid extra spending and maintain high air quality inside, regularly inspect the state of your AC’s air ducts and clean them to help reduce the workload on your HVAC system, preventing expensive repairs and lessening your AC’s carbon footprint.

Seal Air Leaks

Loose windows, doors, and ductwork can be a massive source of air leaks, especially during those hot summer months. These leaks can significantly impact your HVAC system’s efficiency by allowing the heated/cooled air to escape and the unconditioned air to enter. As a result, it drastically increases the load on your AC unit, leading it to work overtime and break faster. Check for air leaks around windows, doors, and ductwork, and seal them to maintain a consistent temperature and reduce electricity consumption.

Maintain Adequate Clearance Around HVAC Units

Be sure to keep adequate clearance around your HVAC units, both indoors and outdoors. This allows for proper flow of air and prevents overheating. Keep at least two feet of clearance around outdoor units and avoid placing objects too close to indoor units. Also, try to keep the outdoor unit out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating.

Clean Air Conditioner Coils

The evaporator and condenser are the air conditioner coils that should be cleaned regularly to maintain efficiency. Dirty coils can reduce your system's ability to cool your home and increase energy consumption. Clean the coils at least once a year as part of your air conditioner maintenance step.

Schedule Regular Professional Maintenance

While there are many tasks you can do yourself, it's essential to schedule regular professional maintenance for your HVAC system. A qualified technician can perform a thorough inspection, clean mechanical and electric components, check for issues, and make necessary adjustments to ensure your system runs efficiently. Regular maintenance helps prevent costly issues and extends the life of your HVAC system.

Cost of Maintenance and Repair of HVAC Units

The cost of maintaining and repairing HVAC units can vary widely depending on the system's complexity, the extent of the issues, and the region. Regular maintenance typically ranges from $70 to $200 per visit, while repairs can range from $100 for minor issues to several thousand dollars for major repairs or replacements. Regular maintenance can help avoid expensive repairs and extend the life of your system. At Airmaker, we aim to offer the most affordable HVAC maintenance and repairs to save your house’s temperature alongside your wallet.

Signs That You May Need to Have Your HVAC System Maintained

Unusual Noises

If you hear strange noises like banging, rattling, or squealing from your HVAC system, it could indicate a mechanical issue requiring professional attention.

Poor Airflow

If the air from vents is weak or inconsistent, it may be a sign of a clogged filter, ductwork leaks, or other airflow problems that need addressing.

Inconsistent Temperatures

If some rooms in your home are significantly warmer or cooler than others, it could indicate issues with your HVAC system's ability to distribute air evenly.

Warm Air Flow

If your air conditioning unit is blowing warm air instead of cold (or vice versa), it could be a sign of refrigerant leaks, dirty coils, or other cooling capacity issues that need immediate attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the life expectancy of an HVAC system?

The life expectancy of an HVAC system can vary based on the type of system, usage, and maintenance. On average, air conditioning units and heating systems can last 10-15 years, while central air conditioning systems can last 15-20 years with proper maintenance.

What damages HVAC systems?

Several factors can damage HVAC systems, including neglecting regular maintenance, dirty filters, clogged coils, refrigerant leaks, and electrical issues. Environmental factors like extreme weather conditions and improper installation can also contribute to damage.

How often should an HVAC system be serviced?

This is another crucial question on the topic of how to maintain heating and air conditioning in a household. It is recommended that your HVAC system be serviced at least once a year. Ideally, you should schedule maintenance for your air conditioning system in the spring and your heating system in the fall to ensure they are ready for peak usage during the cold winter and hot summer seasons.

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