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A home’s HVAC system is absolutely vital to its functionality. This is why you must show you HVAC system as much love as possible. Failure to maintain your air conditioner and heater can result in inopportune breakdowns as well as an exceedingly uncomfortable home.
The question is, how do you maintain your HVAC system? What does HVAC maintenance entail?
Below, we’re going to get into just that, providing you with a full maintenance checklist. Let’s get into it, shall we?
General HVAC Maintenance
An HVAC system consists of a number of different components, including the furnace, the air conditioner, and the duct system. The maintenance needs of the system as a whole are as follows.
Change Air Filter
Because HVAC systems take in air, they also take in dirt and debris. To prevent this dirt and debris from causing clogs, HVAC systems make use of rectangular, white air filters.
Unfortunately, over time, these air filters become inundated with residue and fail to perform their intended purpose. For this reason, they must be changed on a regular basis.
If you don’t have pets in your home, you should change your filter every 2 to 3 months. If you do have pets, you should think about changing it monthly.
Clear the Ducts
Though HVAC air filters will catch the great majority of dust and debris with which they come into contact, they won’t catch it all. Unfortunately, the debris that isn’t caught escapes through into the duct system, building up over time.
While allowing a little dust into your duct system isn’t going to cause any remarkable problems, allowing a great deal of dust to make its way into your ducts can cause them to become clogged. When ducts become clogged, airflow becomes restricted, and heating and cooling become inconsistent.
This is why you need to clean your ducts on a fairly regular basis. To keep your AC and furnace running at max capacity, you should think about clearing your ducts every two years or so.
Vacuum the Vents
Not only can your ducts become clogged with dust, but your vents as well. For this reason, they also need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Because vents are much easier to access than ducts, you should try vacuuming them at least once a month.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
Maintaining an air conditioner includes a good deal of cleaning, inspection, and repair. The exact maintenance measures which need to be taken are as follows.
Clear the Condenser Area
Your air conditioner condenser exists on the outside of your house and is perpetually vulnerable to a number of different objects, including but not limited to branches, stones, and leaves. Should any of these objects make their way into your AC, they could become impaired and cause serious mechanical problems.
For this reason, you’ll want to keep the area around your air conditioner condenser clear of any objects. Doing so will not only reduce the risk of mechanical impairment but will also increase operational efficiency.
When clearing the AC area, make sure to provide it with at least 2 feet of clearance on each side. Note, however, that the clearer you can make the area, the better off your condenser will be.
Clean the Coils
Over time, an air conditioner’s condenser coils and evaporator coils will become covered in dirt. The more dirt that covers these coils, the less efficient your air conditioner will be.
This is why you need to clean your evaporator and condenser coils every 6 months or so. While you can certainly clean these coils on your own, you could also consider utilizing the services of an HVAC repair contractor.
Straighten Out the Fins
As with condenser and evaporator coils, compressor fins are vital to an air conditioner’s functionality. Unfortunately, over time, they become bent and misshapen. As this happens, they do a poorer and poorer job of performing their function, rendering their corresponding air conditioner less and less efficient.
This is why you need to straighten your air conditioner’s condenser fins regularly. Typically, a straightening every 6 months or so will get the job done.
Like the air conditioner, the furnace requires individual attention. Maintenance measures which need to be carried out for furnaces include the following.
Inspect the Thermocouple
In order to determine whether or not a flame is burning, furnaces make use of a small component known as a thermocouple. If a flame is, in fact, burning, this thermocouple will tell the furnace to maintain a flow of gas. If a flame is not burning, this thermocouple will tell the furnace to stop all gas flow.
Unfortunately, over time, a furnace thermocouple will become dirtier and dirtier. The dirtier it becomes, the more trouble it will have in detecting a flame.
At some point, it will become so dirty that it won’t be able to detect whether a flame is burning at all. This will cause the furnace to either shut off when it shouldn’t be or dispense gas when it shouldn’t be.
To prevent this from happening, you need to clean and/or change the thermocouple regularly. Fortunately, this is both easy and cheap to do and shouldn’t take any more than a few minutes to complete.
Clean the Combustion Chamber
A furnace’s combustion chamber is where the magic happens. This is the location in which gases ignite, and where flames are formed. As such, it becomes extremely dirty over time.
To keep your furnace functioning at maximum capacity, you’re going to want to clean this chamber on a regular basis. All you have to do is shut off the furnace’s gas, take some soap and water, and scrub the chamber vigorously. Doing this every 6 months or so will produce the best results.
Looking for More Home Improvement Tips?
While you might not think it, HVAC maintenance is actually fairly simple. All you have to do is focus on the task at hand and follow the right guidelines. For the most part, it’s a DIY process.
All the same, it’s still recommended that you bring in a professional HVAC technician for inspections. Doing so once yearly should suffice.
Looking for more home improvement tips? If so, you can find them right here at Alternative Mindset. We have tips on everything from roof cleaning to interior design, and much, much more.
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