Taking care of your HVAC system to keep it running efficiently is an important item to include in your home maintenance plan every spring and fall. While there are some tasks that should be saved for a professional HVAC service company, there are several tasks that you can easily perform on your own to prolong the life of your system. Take a look at our Maintenance Checklist below for an overview of the types of things you can do to help take care of your unit as well as those items that should be completed by a qualified technician.
Indoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist
- Clean the evaporator coil – The coil is usually located behind a door or panel above the blower motor. It is typically constructed in the shape of a letter A and covered with thin sheets of metal that are referred to as fins which are designed to best utilize the cooling effect of the refrigerant. Begin by using a soft brush to remove the outer layer of dust. Then spray with coil cleaner which can be found at your local home improvement store. Allow the cleaner to drip from the coil into the drain pan below. Clean the drain pan and ensure that the drain openly flows. This quick video
- Clean the evaporator drain line – Warm, moist air travels through your evaporator coil. The heat is absorbed in the coil which cools it and circulates it back into your home. This process can create a humid environment which causes condensation on the coil that falls into a drip pan. A drain tube, usually about 1 inch in diameter, then carries the water into a floor or sink drain or sometimes the tube drains outdoors. A buildup of mold or algae can eventually cause a blockage. The drain tube can be cleaned by using a wet/dry vac, a plumbers snake, a garden hose, or by pouring distilled white vinegar through it.
- Turn off water supply to the humidifier unit – Because of the humid environment created near the coil, it is recommended to turn off the water supply to your humidifier during the months when you are using your air conditioner. Some humidifier units are equipped with a Summer setting that will allow you to simply turn a knob to that setting to deactivate the humidifier for the season.
- Change the air filter – this is one of the easiest tasks you can do to keep your HVAC unit running at peak efficiency. Spring is the perfect time of year to change your air filter out since your system has likely been working hard over the previous winter months. Changing your filter now will give you a fresh start to the upcoming summer months, getting you started with a clean filter to allow your system to cool your home with ease. If spring allergies are a concern, we recommend our MERV 11 high-efficiency pleated filters to capture mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mite debris, and other contaminants.
Outdoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist
- Clean the area around the condenser unit – You will likely have some debris that has collected around the base of the unit over the past few months. Leaves, stick, dirt, grass clippings, and other items commonly gather up against the unit. Sometimes, the exit for the ducting of the dryer vent will lead right into the side of the condenser unit. It is important to keep the condenser and the surrounding area clean and free from any type of debris. Clear away any buildup of debris and trash as well as trim back vegetation and branches within a minimum of 2 feet around the unit.
- Clean the condenser unit – Remove the outer cover or grate that covers the outdoor unit. A shop vac can be used to remove any debris on the outside of the unit. A garden hose can be used to spray the fins from the inside to wash away any built-up dirt on the fins. Coil cleaner may also be applied ahead of rinsing for caked-on debris.
- Inspect and straighten fins – Condenser fins are positioned on the covering of your condenser unit outdoors. These function similarly to the fins on your evaporator coil by assisting with airflow and heat extraction. The fins are usually made of aluminum and are thin and easily damaged. When damage occurs, it disrupts an open path for air to freely flow and can adversely affect the efficiency of your unit since it will have to work harder. Here is a quick video with some easy instructions on repairing bent compressor fins.
- Level the condenser unit – Having a condenser that is level allows your unit to function properly. Not only is it unsightly when the condenser pad is sinking off to one side, it also causes the lubricating oil to separate which can interrupt the flow of refrigerant through the system. It can also cause strain on the coolant lines leading to your home. A few simple items are usually all it takes to level the unit.
Hire a Professional
As we have shown above, there are a number of maintenance tasks that you can complete on your own to help take good care of your HVAC system. These items can all be done by a professional as well, if you don’t feel up to it. There are additional items that are important to have a professional take care of on a regular basis. It is usually best to schedule a technician to service the unit at least once a year, but ideally every six months. Preventative maintenance on your heating and air conditioning system goes a long way in prolonging the life of your unit. HVAC service companies may differ slightly in the tasks that are included in a tune-up or preventative maintenance service inspection, but you can generally expect the following to be addressed:
- system inspection
- check refrigerant levels
- check coil and drain line/pan
- look at compressor and motor
- clean areas with buildup of dirt/debris
- check air filter (may include replacement of filter)
- replace worn belts, parts, or connections
- test thermostat
- test for leaks
One of the most important things you can do on your own to take good care of your expensive heating and air conditioning system is to simply change your air filter on a regular basis. The air filter in your unit is often one of the least expensive and easiest items to change. Additionally, replacing a dirty or clogged filter can have an immediate positive effect on the operation of the unit and its ability to keep the air in your home at the desired temperature without causing uneccessary strain on the moving components. A clean, fresh filter right before the approaching hot summer months will get you off to a great start!
At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need!
Call us today at 1-855-237-1673!