The care and feeding of your HVAC: Preventative maintenance checklist
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is an unsung hero in your home, keeping the interior climate comfortable. As long as it does this job, you tend to ignore it. When it fails, you can have an expensive repair bill on your hands.
By taking care of some basic preventative maintenance, you can keep your HVAC system running better, longer. Plan to have an HVAC professional come in twice a year—spring and fall is best—to clean and check your system. ENERGY STAR recommends the following:
- Check the thermostat settings. Make sure the temperature is set for a comfortable level without wasting energy.
- Tighten electrical connections. Faulty connections can range from reducing the life of a major component to creating a safety risk in your home.
- Lubricate moving parts. Reducing the friction in the motors also improves the energy efficiency.
- Inspect the condensate drain. A clogged drain in the central air conditioning system, furnace, and/or heat pump can lead to water damage and affect the humidity in the home.
- Check the system controls. The start and shut-off should be working properly for safe operation.
- Clean the central air conditioner’s evaporator and coils. When debris builds up, your system has to work harder, which will increase the energy use.
- Check the refrigerant level. Keeping the air conditioner’s refrigerant at the proper level improves the efficiency of the system.
- Clean and adjust the blower. Proper airflow is essential for comfort and efficiency. Blockage can cut the efficiency by up to 15 percent.
- Check the gas/oil connections, pressure, burner combustion, and heat exchanger. Reduce the fire hazard and increase the efficiency by ensuring the your heating system is in good shape.
- Inspect air filters. You can handle this step on your own. Every month, check the filters in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump, and replace any that have gathered dust and dirt, which reduces the quality of the air in your home.
By taking care of this checklist, you can avoid many of the health and safety risks that arise from faulty HVAC.