Popular Mechanics writer Graham Hiemstra warns readers that one of the worst habits to develop is putting off HVAC unit cleaning and inspection until that season’s extreme weather has already begun to make life miserable. Whether your climate patterns deliver weather so hot, your survival depends upon your air conditioning unit, or you reside in an area where parkas and boots outnumber swimsuits, the secret to happiness is addressing HVAC systems before something malfunctions. What can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? Follow his advice – and the advice of myriad professionals – and attend to your unit at a time it’s not needed!
- Make it a practice to routinely touch base with your HVAC professional each spring and fall. If you’re forgetful, coordinate this task with the days, and adjust your clocks for daylight savings time. Make it easy on your contractor by reporting telltale signs of trouble: Leaks in duct work and strange noises or odors emanating from your system. You might even save a few bucks by taking on some of the troubleshooting.
- Get in front of potential issues by cleaning your air vents and replacing your air filter on a regular schedule. To assess whether your HVAC system is getting clogged with dirt and dust, check it monthly. Your investment in a new air filter every 90 days will pay dividends. A clogged filtering system has the potential to contribute to your HVAC system’s deterioration, so you may wish to buy filters in bulk, so they’re always on hand. Can’t figure out where vents are located? Check your system’s owner’s manual.
- Consider adding more insulation to your home to keep your power bills down. Your home is warmer in winter and cooler in summer. If you already take sensible precautions–like turning down the thermostat–more insulation may be a smart remedy. If your home isn’t new and you haven’t checked out the condition of your insulation lately, look for deteriorated sections that need to be replaced in addition to adding more. While you’re applying due diligence, check out the condition of the weather stripping around your doors and windows to avoid surprises now and later.
- Keep the name of a reliable local HVAC service on speed dial since you never know when you might need professional help, and nobody wants to be scrolling through resource directories to find help on the weekend or in the middle of the night. Every state-of-the-art diagnostic tool plus skilled technicians stand ready to prepare your system for the winter season when you need our expertise most of all.
- HVAC professionals know that “three’s the charm”! Turn on and let your furnace run at least three times before winter arrives to prepare HVAC unit for the winter. The best time to conduct these three checks? Early autumn. Allow the system to reach the temperature you’ve set before declaring your test success, and if you reside in a region that regularly experiences snow, ice, and other extreme winter conditions, buying a cover for your outside air conditioner will pay dividends.
- Clean up the area around your outside air conditioning equipment before winter strikes. Leaves, grass clippings, twigs, dirt, bugs, animal waste and other soil, may accumulate around an exterior unit every time you rake, mow, and otherwise tend to your yard. Use a hose to do the job and once the AC unit dries, cut the unit’s power supply at the switch to prevent accidental starts should weather patterns flip from cold to hot during an unusually warm winter.
Installing an HVAC system is expensive. Even the repairs can cost you a lot. So, what you need to do is prepare in the best way you can. Failure can be particularly painful when it relates to your HVAC system, so stay ahead of the game by taking the simple steps listed above to maintain the health of your system, and you’ll get a bonus: Your finances and your stress levels will remain in good health too!