A professional with the expert knowledge about HVAC systems should ideally take a look a your entire system twice per year, once in the fall before the heating season, and once in the spring before the cooling season. They perform a whole maintenance plan that will keep the system running in top condition and are capable of finding any little problems before they turn into big issues.
In between the professional HVAC services there are some simple home checks that can be done to ensure the system is operating properly and at peak efficiency. Although many of the items on a maintenance checklist do require a licensed technician, most of the little things can be done easily by any homeowner. For units that are mounted outside the home, the most important thing that can be done is to clean in, on, and around the unit to get rid of leaves and other debris that can clog up the unit.
The following 5 tips are for HVAC units that are mounted inside the home:
Tip # 1: Listen
Turn the unit on and listen carefully to the sounds it makes each time that it starts. If it sounds abnormal immediately turn it off and have a certified technician examine the unit for underlying problems.
Tip # 2: Look
Visually inspect the entire unit at least once per month. Observe the unit while it is working to check for sparks or smoke. There should be no frayed wiring, rusted components, or missing parts. It should be relatively free of dust, dirt, and debris with no obvious build-up that is more than a quick sweep with the vacuum can handle.
Tip # 3: Touch
Once per month take a few minutes to ensure that all knobs, nuts and bolts, and controls are firmly fastened. Control knobs should be easy to turn for different settings with only a small amount of resistance. Feel the various components to be certain that they are not overly hot.. a potential fire hazard.
Tip # 4: Clean Filters
Once per month the filters should be inspected, cleaned, and replaced if necessary. Plugged filters compromise the efficiency of the unit and can cause larger problems down the road. Filters are inexpensive and easy to change so it is a good idea to get into the habit of replacing them on a regular basis.
Tip # 5: Follow the Pipes
At the same time that air filters are replaced, it is also a good idea to check the ductwork. Look for obvious signs of wear as well as running your hand along the length to ascertain that there are no air leaks.
These simple tasks take less than 30 minutes and could potentially save customers large repair bills in the future. If possible problems are noticed during any homeowner’s inspection then it is time to call in expert HVAC services to have the issue fixed. Especially when dealing with gas units, it is best to leave problems to the licensed and trained professionals.