Save on Energy Costs With These HVAC Maintenance Tips
Your HVAC system is not just the single most costly home appliance you have, but also the most expensive to operate. Appropriate maintenance at regular intervals can prevent costly repairs and parts replacement. It can also save on energy costs. Here are some tips that can bring down your Bay Area utility bills:
- Annual tune-up
The life of your system can be reduced by faulty electrical connections. These are also a safety hazard. A trained technician can measure voltage, tighten electrical connections, check the current on motors, and make sure refrigerant levels in the AC is optimal. During the annual tune-up, the technician shall also look for other issues that may not be apparent just yet.
During this maintenance, the technician would clean the condenser and evaporator coils in the air conditioner. This step is essential since clogged coils can reduce efficiency and make the system run longer. Likewise, blower components require cleaning as well as oiling of all moving parts.
You can get your annual tune-up from a company you hire on an ad-hoc basis. You can also enter into a maintenance service contract. You may have to pay a flat fee upfront but you may just benefit from discounts later on.
- Condensate drain
You need to check the condensate drain if you want your system to run with high efficiency. You may want to add liquid bleach at regular intervals to prevent sludge from building up in the drain. You can easily unplug the drain on top and pour in a quarter cup of liquid bleach. You should do this step at least a few times a year to keep the drain from clogging up and requiring replacement.
- Air filters
One of the best ways to keep your HVAC system running efficiently is to make sure the air filters are clean. Energy Star recommends cleaning or checking the filters at least once a month, especially during the hot season. It is a good rule of thumb to clean the air filters every time the season changes.
This is one of the reasons why many HVAC experts recommend removable or washable air filters. You can also invest in cheap replaceable air filters. However, these are not very efficient in blocking microbes and other small particles. Dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC equipment during both hot and cold seasons.
- Outdoor air conditioning unit
Ideally, an HVAC outdoor unit should be installed well above the ground in an area that is protected from debris, falling branches, and twigs. It should also be kept away from direct sunlight. However, if your unit is sitting on the ground on a cement pad, you should consider hosting it regularly. Remove any fallen branches and rinse off the dirt and any other debris with a hose a few times a year. This will keep your system working optimally which can reduce your utility bills.
- Indoor vents
It’s crucial that you keep indoor vents open to prevent placing extra pressure on your system’s ECM or electronically commutated motor. This can significantly reduce energy efficiency and can also wear out the motor faster.