Hello dear readers and welcome back for another post in my Home Ownership 101 Series. Even though fall is on the way, it’s still super hot in most places which means the ac will be running for several more weeks. The last thing anyone wants is to have it break down during a sweltering hot 90 degree day! Furthermore, colder fall weather will be here before we know it and we all want to be able to keep our homes comfy cozy with a working HVAC. This summer we unfortunately had to replace our whole unit which was totally unexpected. Since having a new unit installed we have decided to do our best to make sure that our HVAC system is well-maintained and working properly. *This post may contain affiliate links.
I think this is something most homeowners don’t think about, but doing so can save money, extend the HVAC unit’s life span, improve your air quality, increase energy efficiency, and reduce the number of emergency repairs you’ll need. Today I am sharing five HVAC maintenance tasks you can do yourself.
Replace the Air Filter Regularly
Replacing your air filter might be one of the most important parts of regular HVAC maintenance. After all, we all want to be breathing clean air. You know the old sayingwith the line, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Well if you are like me and sometimes procrastinate with home improvement maintenance, when it comes to air quality it’s important to play it safe and make sure the filter is changed on time. You can use a home maintenance calendar to help you keep track of when it’s due to be changed.
Follow these steps to replace your air filters:
- Locate your return air filter grille, and measure its length, width, and depth.
- Hold your existing air filter up to the light. If you can’t see through it, it’s time for a replacement.
- Buy a high-quality air filter at your local home improvement store.
- Swap the old filter out for the new.
- Set a reminder to check and replace it every 30 to 90 days.
Sometimes the air smells a little musty (not moldy) when it comes out of the vents. I am going to try adding some essential oils to the filter. I will let you know if it works!
Clean the Condenser and the Area Around It
The unit that sits outside your house is the HVAC system’s condenser. The condenser compresses the air conditioning refrigerant, cools it, vents the heat, and returns the (now cooled) air back into your house. Because your condenser is outside, usually in the open and unprotected, make sure nothing in a 3-foot radius around it can obstruct airflow. Cut back plants, vines, or hedges so your condenser has plenty of room to suck in and vent out warm air. Once or twice a year, turn off the unit and hose down the condenser itself to keep it clean. If you are still unsure on how to clean the unit properly, contact a certified AC Maintenance Service.
Check the Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, you can control the heat and cooling of your home even when you’re away. When no one is home, turn the air conditioning up to a warmer temperature, and set your thermostat to begin cooling approximately 30 minutes before someone you come home. This puts less wear and tear on your unit that turning it on and off completely every time you come and go.
Seal Exposed Ductwork
Check in your basement, attic, or garage for exposed ductwork, and seal it with foil tape. Check your ductwork often to make sure no insulation has fallen off or rotted. If you see mold or ice forming in or around your ductwork, however, call a professional.
Open the Registers and Vacuum the Debris
The registers, which are the vents on the floors or near the ceilings, can catch and trap gunk and debris over time. Cleaning these openings keeps your air cleaner and helps your system last longer because it doesn’t have to work as hard to push air through the vents. Simply grab a vacuum and suck all the debris out of each register. When you’re done, wipe up any remaining dust.
One last thing you can do to protect your HVAC is to use a cover. Covers will guard against damaging winter weather or heavy rain and debris during off-season months and as such will help extend the life of the unit.
Maintaining the HVAC is an important home ownership task that I hadn’t given much thought to until our unit went out. I also really want to make sure our indoor air is clean so I am going to be sure to clean out the ductwork before fall. If you are unable to DIY some of these tasks, consider hiring someone from a a local HVAC company. By keeping your HVAC unit clean and working well, it should last a long time. Remember that you must hire a licensed HVAC professional for installation and repairs of a more serious nature. Just like we must take care of ourselves, it’s also true with regards to maintaining the health of our homes.
I hope you have found these Five HVAC maintenance tasks you can do yourself to be helpful. Hopefully your unit will be working properly for years to come.
Thanks for visiting today!