Whether you have a large commercial HVAC system or a small residential one, it’s vital that you take good care of this piece of equipment so as to prolong its lifespan. It’s best to maintain your unit all year long, but particularly with the change in seasons. That’s because this shift in temperatures makes your system more vulnerable to change.
Here are some ways you can reduce stress on your HVAC system and extend its efficiency.
Replace the Filter
This is the easiest way to make your unit run efficiently without spending a fortune. Dust and debris can clog your system and cause it to work harder than it should. This stresses out your HVAC system, which has to use a lot more energy to keep you comfortable. As a result, your energy bills will spike.
It’s important to clean or change the filters on a regular basis. Do this every few months, as well as after high-pollen summer months and energy-draining winters.
Follow these tips when changing your filter:
- Check your unit for the filter size you have or look up the model number online. Your manufacturer’s manual will also tell you the size.
- Buy filters based on efficiency, size, and acceptable particle levels. Buy in bulk to save money, plus you’ll always have them on hand when you need to do a change.
- Set reminders on your phone or calendar so you know when to switch out your filters. During peak months of pollen, etc., check your filter for excessive accumulation every few weeks. But even if you don’t notice wear and tear, you should still change your filters once a quarter.
Ventilation is vitally important in keeping your home or business comfortable. Unfortunately, many home and business owners overlook this key component of the HVAC system. While you may think your AC or heating system is the one responsible for your comfort level, it’s actually due to proper ventilation.
Proper ventilation helps to circulate hot or cold fresh air throughout the home. So in addition to maintaining your HVAC unit, you should also make sure the unit is clean, open, and unblocked.
- Outdoors: Your air supply ducts should be well clear of plants and wildlife. If your unit is blocked in some way, it can’t properly draw in the air it needs, which results in poor circulation. It’s a good idea to spray down your HVAC system with a hose to clear off debris every once in a while.
- Indoors: Make sure there is enough clearance for the return air grills. In commercial settings, the grills are perforated. In residential settings, the grill can be found in the living room. Is air able to flow in and out of all vents and returns? If not, you could be compromising air quality and system efficiency. The more stuff that is cluttered around the vents, the more surface area there is to gather dust, says Forbes.
If you have a room or area that won’t be used for a while (i.e., classroom during summer vacation or a guest room in your home), you can close dampers to restrict airflow. This helps you save money and keep conditioned air relegated to the areas that need it most.
Like all mechanical equipment, your HVAC unit’s ventilation system needs a deep cleaning on a regular basis. Dust and debris can get clogged in your air ducts through the returns, which leads to system inefficiency across the board. When you clean out your air ducts, whether you do it yourself or hire a company, you are removing foreign particles, allergens, irritants, and odors. Regular cleaning will ensure the highest indoor air quality.
You could also place foil tape on any leaks in your ventilation system. When things are airtight, conditioned air can be redirected to the areas that need it most.
Visually Inspect the Unit
Do a visual inspection of your system each month, preferably at the same as when you are changing the filter. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Check the registers, returns, and thermostat
- Check the thermostat’s battery status
- Check the condensate system for proper draining
- Make sure the filter access and cabinet door are closed securely
- Check that the flue system is attached and fully intact
- Ensure all registers and returns are open and unblocked
- Check all registers for mold
- Make sure the outdoor unit is level, using rot-proof shims to get it level if necessary
Clean the Coils
This is especially important in summer and if you have an HVAC system that sits outside. Small grooves in the coils can easily get bogged down with debris, vegetation and pollen. The more build-up that happens with the coils, the more inefficient everything will work. Wash off the coils with a simple garden hose to get the debris off.
We hope these tips have been helpful in lowering the amount of stress placed on your HVAC system. With the proper maintenance and cleaning, you can get even more life out of your HVAC equipment without facing the need for premature and costly replacement. Residential and commercial HVAC equipment isn’t cheap. It’s imperative that you protect your investment and ensure it lasts as long as it was designed to.
Contact Cold Factor Heating and Air Services
Here at Cold Factor, we know HVAC systems. If you’re having issues with inefficiency, high energy bills or improper ventilation, give us a call at (469) 535-6530. We would be happy to give you a free quote and schedule an inspection. We are your one-stop-shop for heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, replacement, and installation.