There are some furnace and air conditioning jobs that should absolutely be left to a professional who has an abundance of training and the right tools to do the job right, but there are also some maintenance tasks you can on your own. Before you schedule a summer tuneup for your unit, do yourself a favor and take care of a few tasks yourself to save time and maybe even a bit of money.
Change Out Air Filters
Clogged air filters compromise the operation of your HVAC unit, making them work harder than they have to keep your home properly cooled or warm, which means your bills are artificially inflated. Air filters should be either changed or cleaned, depending on what kind of filter you have, at least once a month, more if you use your system a lot. You might also have a unit that tells you when you should change your filter with an indicator light.
Clear Away Outdoor Debris
You should also keep your outdoor unit clear of branches, leaves, grass clippings and the like to maximize unit operation and savings. Not only does keeping your outdoor unit clear help with operation, doing so can also improve the overall life of your unit, allowing you to get as much use out of it as possible. Take some time to take a look at your outside unit to see that it has plenty of room to “breathe.”
Keep Your Air Vents Clear
Just as you should keep your outdoor unit clean, the same is true of the interior. Specifically, you want to vacuum and dust around the air vents when you clean or change out your air filters. Dust, pet dander and other types of debris can become trapped in vents and compromise operation. Be sure to give your vents and ducts a thorough inspection as you’re cleaning them. Should you notice mold or signs of mold, have a professional come out to take a look at your unit ASAP to make sure everything is okay.
Insulate Your Water Heater
While technically this tip is more about cost efficiency and less about maintenance, it’s still a good one to add. By insulating your water heater, you better ensure that heat doesn’t escape your water heater, which can cause you to lose money. Keeping the heater wrapped up allows for more efficient operation and more cost savings.
Keep Registers Unblocked
Your drapes, curtains, rugs or furniture might be blocking the supply and return registers scattered throughout your home. Be sure you check behind them and make adjustments if need be to better ensure air can flow properly. As you’re checking to ensure the registers aren’t blocked, look to see if they’re clean. You’ll most likely be able to easily pop the registers off and clean them with soap and water, clearing them of dust and anything else that might be blocking air.
Know When to Call in a Professional
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do on your own to take proper care of your heating and cooling unit, but it’s just as important that you know when you’ve reached your limit and should get in touch with a professional. Anything that involves calibrating the thermostat should be left to an experienced technician, and the same is true of any loose connections your unit might have. Occasionally, all the moving parts of your unit will need to be lubricated to keep friction from causing your unit to overheat, which is something else an HVAC professional should tend to.
Taking care of HVAC maintenance on your own not only saves you money, it gives you a sense of accomplishment as well. Do yourself a favor and put these tips to good use this summer season.