Although not considered a luxury, an HVAC system is a huge investment. As such, regular checking and maintenance are necessary to make sure that all the components are functioning properly and most importantly, to ensure that the HVAC system is running efficiently to save on energy costs. A properly maintained HVAC system will go a long way into ensuring the comfort and good health of the residents of your home.
Your HVAC system will probably consist of a heat pump, a furnace or an AC. To describe them physically, all HVACs consist of an exterior part that you can see from outside (compressor) and the interior side (evaporator). The function of all these components is to work simultaneously to maintain the preferred room temperature while still cleaning the air of your home as an added advantage.
Maintaining your HVAC system
The good thing about maintaining an HVAC system is that you can do it on your own, no experts needed! Checking and maintenance frequency depends on a number of factors, some of which include dustier surroundings and the prevailing weather. Here is a comprehensive step by step guide on how maintenance should be done.
Turn off the power supply
First things first! Get rid of the dangers of working around electricity. The power control is usually found on the exterior. To be safe, you can completely shut off the electricity in the main power control box.
Clean the area around the unit
Vegetation, dead leaves, or anything capable of interfering with the airflow should be removed. The recommended clearance for an HVAC system is about 2 feet of free space on all sides.
Covering the top of the unit to keep debris from falling inside is not a good idea. It might cause serious moisture buildup that would cause corrosion. The next step is to get hands-on with the components so be prepared with a screw loosener.
Clean the heat pump
The heat pump is the system that you see sitting outside, usually with a fan on top. Using your screw loosener, loosen the screws, lift the cage and then use a wet/ dry vacuum to remove leaves, grime and dirt. Important to note, a pressure washer should not be used as it will destroy the unit completely.
Clean the evaporator coil
You will find the evaporator coil inside the furnace unit. Use a piece of clothing or a soft brush to dust off the coil.
Check the evaporator’s drain pipe and pan
Humidity from the air condenses on the evaporator. It then drips into the pan below. The pan then directs this water into the drain tube for disposal. After some time, algae and mold can build up on the surface of these passages causing serious blockages. A wet dry-vacuum can be used to suction the blockage.
Replace the filters
The filters in your HVAC system should be changed at least twice in a year. Not changing the filters causes a buildup of dust and other particles which causes unnecessary strain on the system. There are different furnace filter sizes such as 16x20x1 furnace filter etc., check the size you need and then replace accordingly.
As mentioned initially, you can do all this on your own, if you have the time and the inclination, but if you have other pressing matters and cannot include time to maintain your HVAC system then you should opt for an Annual Maintenance contract. Annual maintenance contracts are provided by many companies and the rates vary. You should check all the services that are offered in the annual maintenance contract and then take a decision. Remember more the services offered, the more you need to pay, so choose only those services that are essential. The advantage of an annual maintenance contract is that you need not worry about your HVAC system at all. The HVAC service provider will come on specified dates, two to three times a year and ensure that the system is functioning well. If there are any issues they will identify them before they malfunction and advise you on replacements, if the annual maintenance contract covers replacements, they will replace them on their own. In short, an annual maintenance contract is a very good option.