10 HVAC System Hacks You Need to Know
Maintain Your HVAC System to Keep Your Home Comfortable and Prevent Costly Repairs
The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is an interval system in your home. Repairing or replacing your HVAC system can be very expensive. Avoid unnecessary repair costs with these 10 maintenance tasks every homeowner should do.
1. Check the filter monthly
Your HVAC system’s filter is the easiest and should be a top priority. The filter keeps dust particles and other allergens from polluting the air quality in your home. A clogged air filter will not only attract less allergens from the air your breathe, but it will keep restrict air flow in your HVAC system. The less air flow, the less efficient the machine, and the harder it has to work.
Check your HVAC system’s filter monthly. If the filter is dark and clogged, you know it’s time for a new one. The filter should be changed at least every 90 days and probably every 60 days if you have pets.
2. Don’t skimp on the filter
The quality of your air filter matters. It’s worth it in the long-run to get a high-efficiency filter for you HVAC system. High-efficiency pleated filters with an electrostatic charge attract allergens like a magnet. Better quality air filters keep your HVAC system running at a higher efficiency and attract even smaller allergens from the air you breathe.
3. Keep air flowing around outside units
Your HVAC system’s outside air conditioning or heat pump compressor/condenser units need room to breathe. If the unit is too close to a wall, shrub, another unit, or anything that may restrict cool air from circulating through the unit will raise operating costs and reduce equipment life.
Allow for at least 2 feet of clearance around the outdoor compressor/condenser for your home’s HVAC system, and keep a minimum of 4 feet of distance between units if you have more than one.
4. Keep it debris free
Debris during summer, spring, and fall months may accumulate around an outdoor HVAC unit. Don’t let twigs, lawn trimmings, leaves, pollen, and other seasonal debris collect around the compressor/condenser and restrict air flow.
Check your home’s unit weekly for any items that need to be cleared.
5. Insulation in key
The insulation on the refrigerant lines leading from the outside unit into your home is key to the efficiency of the entire HVAC system. Keeping this lines cool and insulated will keep your air conditioner functioning efficiently in summer and will increase the lifespan of the system.
Since insulation is subjected to harsh outdoor conditions, it is important to inspect the outdoor insulation for rot and corrosion monthly and replace any damaged segments.
6. Keep it level
The outdoor compressor/condenser of your home’s HVAC system sit on concrete pads to keep them level. Over time, the concrete pads may settle or sink with time. An outdoor unit that is not level will put strain on the coolant lines.
If left unchecked, this easily prevented issue can cause big problems for your HVAC system. Check the concrete pads under the compressor/condenser annually.
7. Prevent clogs in the condensate drain
An HVAC system’s condensate drain is one of the most commonly overlooked maintenance tasks and one of the most important. Clogs in the condensate pipe can cause leaks into the house, mold or insect damage, or worst case scenario – a complete HVAC system shutdown!
Prevent build-up of mold, algae, and other microorganisms by pouring a cup of bleach water down the drain annually.
8. Regulate water supply to furnace humidifier
If your home’s HVAC system has a furnace humidifier, you need to make sure you maintain it seasonally. A central air conditioner will not cool or dehumidify properly if the water flow isn’t restricted to the furnace humidifier before its use. Also, this will reduce your water bill for the summer.
Shut down the water supply to the furnace humidifier in the summer. When fall (or whenever you anticipate using the heating system) hits replace the wick filter, set the humidstat to 35%-40% relative humidity, and turn on the water supply.
9. Use the 20% rule with registers
Closing more than 20% of your home’s registers (or floor/ceiling vents) will put unnecessary strain on your home’s HVAC system. Be sure not to keep to many of them closed when using your HVAC system.
10. Replace the battery in the carbon monoxide detector
If your home’s HVAC system has a gas furnace, you run the risk of hazardous Carbon monoxide (MO) leaking into your home. Many things can cause an exhaust leak, so it’s important to detect it immediately. It’s a good idea to have a CO detector in your home regardless of the heating system your home uses.
It is imperative to have a CO detector and ensure its proper working condition if your home uses gas heat. Be sure to replace the battery annually.