Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) can serve you for years. However, for this to happen you must keep up with taking care of it. Maintenance does not always mean running to the service shop.
There are some simple yet practical maintenance tips that every homeowner should know. Not only do you get to enjoy the comfort of a well-functioning HVAC. But you also get to save some good money with these DIYs.
The Importance of Regular HVAC Maintenance
Do you know why its important to have Dallas HVAC Installation and Maintenance experts on your contact list? Its because you’ll notice a significant decline in performance if you don’t keep up with regular check-ups and HVAC system maintenance. Like any other equipment, its efficiency will decrease without proper time. And, its important to have professional maintenance for some of upkeep tasks.
Also, the energy consumption of a faulty HVAC system is very high. Now, you must dig deeper into your pockets to pay huge utility bills. Do you know that simple maintenance like replacing a clogged or dirty filter can lower energy use by 5-15%?
With that understanding of the importance of HVAC maintenance, let’s break down the components of these complex systems.
Understanding Your HVAC System Components
The basic composition of an HVAC system comprises three parts.
The compressor sits on the outside and pumps refrigerants through the system. This raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant, which then goes to the condenser.
The condenser is also on the outdoor unit of the system. As the name suggests, it condenses the refrigerant from gas to liquid. The action results in the release of heat.
The internally located evaporator absorbs the indoor heat, thus cooling and dehumidifying the air. This aids in the evaporation of liquid refrigerant back into the gaseous state.
If there is a breakdown of any of the parts, the HVAC will stop working well. And that brings us to the next point on seasonal maintenance needs.
Seasonal HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Seasonal changes put different maintenance demands on the HVAC system. In summer, for instance, there is more dust, which may require regular filter changes. Use the following checklist to ensure you stay on top of things.
Spring and Summer
– Change air filters monthly to allow proper airflow. This is especially crucial for ensuring good indoor air quality.
– Have a technician inspect refrigerant levels to ensure the system can cool efficiently.
– Inspect the ductwork for leaks or damages to avoid energy loss.
– Ensure proper calibration of the thermostat. Investing in a programmable one will save you good money in energy savings.
– Check the electrical components for any signs of damage or wear. Take the time to tighten any loose connections.
– Test the air compressor and fan motor capacitors to avoid motor failure.
– Clean outdoor condenser coils monthly to improve heat transfer. Dirty condenser coils can reduce efficiency by up to 20%, so keeping the outdoor unit clear of debris is essential.
Fall and Winter
– Have your furnace inspected by a professional before the first use.
– Check for drafts around windows and doors and seal them to prevent heat loss.
– Clean your chimney flue to allow proper ventilation.
– Clean the evaporator coil to maintain heat exchange efficiency.
– If using gas, check the connections to ensure they are leak-free and secure.
– Test the heating mode to ensure it is working.
– Replace humidifier filters and clean the unit.
Should you undertake all the maintenance by yourself? No, professionals should handle some jobs. So, let’s see what you can take on as a DIY and what you shouldn’t.
Professional Vs. DIY HVAC Maintenance
Changing the air filter is pretty simple and a task you can take on as a DIY. However, we’d strongly recommend you call the professionals in the following cases.
When to Call the Pros:
– For refrigerant recharging, leak detection, and coil cleaning
– Electrical component inspections and repairs
– Heat exchanger inspections
– Complex repairs and replacements
– Tuning and calibration
– If you hear strange noises, smell gas, or notice other oddities
– For annual check-ups before peak heating and cooling seasons
– System installation and upgrades.
What You Can DIY
– Monthly air filter replacement
– Checking ducts and vents for blockages
– Registers, condenser coils, and vents cleaning
– Clearing dirt/debris around the condenser unit.
– Thermostat checking and calibration
– Drain lines clearing
Most of the DIYs are simply removing dust, clearing debris, and removing any blockages.
So, what is the linkage between maintenance and energy savings?
Energy Efficiency and HVAC Maintenance
Proper maintenance means the HVAC system runs efficiently, thus significant saving on energy costs. Here are tips to optimize efficiency:
– Regular maintenance prevents overworking, thus extending the lifespan.
– Check ductwork for air leaks to avoid wasting heating/cooling energy.
– Upgrade old components like AC units for improved performance.
– Install a smart thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures and save up to 26% on annual costs, according to Ecobee.
– Clean filters, coils, and chimney flues allow systems to work less to heat/cool your home.
Speaking of smart thermostats, let’s look at how they aid maintenance next.
The Role of Smart Thermostats in HVAC Maintenance
Smart thermostats allow you to monitor system health and adjust temperatures remotely. Besides this, you can also detect issues before they worsen.
For instance, automatic alerts notify you of filter changes and potential system failures before they worsen. Detailed energy reports help identify opportunities for increased efficiency.
Also, smart technology gives homeowners more insight and control for proactive, efficient HVAC maintenance. Finally, remote temperature adjustment saves energy by allowing you to setback when away.
Common HVAC Issues Homeowners Face
Despite your best efforts, the HVAC system can still develop some issues.
1. Strange Noises
Banging or screeching could signal issues like loose parts or a failing motor. Have the system inspected by a technician immediately.
2. Lack of Airflow
Weak airflow could be due to a dirty filter or evaporator coil. DIY the filter change and let the professionals handle the latter.
3. Short Cycling
A malfunctioning thermostat could be why your system quickly turns off after firing up. It will need replacing.
4. High Humidity
Poor indoor humidity signals a problem with the condenser drain line. This is most likely a blockage. Contact an HVAC company to clear the obstruction.
Stay alert for any changes in your HVAC system. Quickly addressing issues minimizes cost and disruption.