A Short Guide to Seasonal HVAC Maintenance
HVAC maintenance is something you don’t want to neglect, or you run the risk of having the system breakdown on you suddenly at highly inconvenient times. It’s paramount that you perform preventative maintenance on a regular basis. Change of season is the best time for HVAC maintenance. Quick tune-ups ahead of a Bay Area winter or summer can ensure the system doesn’t disappoint when it is needed the most.
DIY HVAC Maintenance Tasks
These are a few tasks you can undertake on your own. For all others, such as repairs, installation and maintenance you should use a certified HVAC contractor.
- Changing the air filter: Air filter helps in keeping the home clean and dust free. You need to change the air filter regularly for it to do its job. The frequency depends on the air quality and length of usage.
- Cleaning air vents: Air vents tend to get clogged with dust and dirt. This can reduce the flow of air reaching you. It may not be as warm or cold as you want it to be. You can prevent dust accumulation by incorporating frequent cleaning of air vents.
- Outdoor unit: You need to check the outdoor unit if you have a heat pump or a traditional HVAC system. Debris and dirt can affect the functioning of the unit. Make sure you trim the branches and leaves as well of any plants around the outdoor system.
- Inspect the furnace: Carry out a quick inspection of the HVAC system’s furnace before winter starts. Generally, furnaces are located in the basement which is also used as storage by many. You need to ensure the immediate space around the furnace doesn’t have a lot of clutter.
Professional Maintenance and Repair Tasks
You should call the pros for every other inspection, maintenance and repair task. HVAC systems involve complex components and machineries which require the expertise of a skilled technician. Get a trained technician to inspect your system at the start of the season. Never ignore unusual noises or a drop in efficiency. These are signs that there is something wrong with the system. You should have it checked out immediately to avoid expensive repairs later.
HVAC Checks Before Summer
You should call an HVAC professional once you are done with minor maintenance tasks and preliminary checks. Professionals generally carry out the following tasks during a routine AC maintenance check:
- Check refrigerant levels
- Clean evaporator coils
- Clean outdoor condenser coils
- Clean the ducts
- Repair damaged ductwork
- Check the drain pan
- Check the condensate line
- Flush condensate pan (if required)
- Check thermostat settings
- Check blower motor, condenser fan, and capacitors
- Inspect all frayed wiring and electrical connections
Heating System Checks
The HVAC technician you call should carry out the following tasks during a pre-winter furnace checkup:
- Change the filter
- Vacuum inside the unit
- Brush off dirt and debris
- Lubricate blower bearings and motor
- Inspect the fan belt for cracks and damages
- Check the heat exchanger
- Check the electrical wiring
- Inspect the flue pipe and gas line
Maintaining the Heat Pump
Heat pumps allow for both cooling and heating. Maintaining heat pumps involves the following:
- Duct cleaning
- Cleaning outdoor unit
- Furnace checks
You should consider getting in touch with your HVAC contractor to schedule seasonal tune-ups.