In times of extreme temperatures, it is hard not to think about your HVAC unit. Summertime in Colorado can range in temperatures of over 90 degrees.
When things are going well with your air conditioning unit, you are grateful to walk into the house on those spicy summer days and feel a rush of frozen air meet your face. However, when things are not going so well with your unit, there is no escaping from the oppressive heat—no matter how many fans you plug in.
Unfortunately, most of us neglect maintenance on these vital devices until temperatures soar and wait times are long.
Yearly Maintenance Is Cheaper Than Repairs!
The best home care advice you can receive is that maintenance costs much less than repairs. Your HVAC unit is no different. Each year, before temperatures start to tick upward, consider investing in the maintenance of your machine.
Home maintenance projects may feel overwhelming, but you would be surprised at the difference you can make in the longevity of your home appliances, like your HVAC unit, by engaging in simple upkeep practices.
Why Schedule Yearly HVAC Service?
You may think your machine is doing fine, so why would you need yearly maintenance? You may be right! Your machine might be functioning. That is not to say that it is functioning to its most efficient capacity or is on the road to its most extended lifespan.
When you complete a yearly inspection with a service expert, you have the opportunity to prevent problems before they arise, increase the efficiency of your machine (which likely translates to lowered energy costs in your home), and, as an added bonus, to reduce your environmental impact because your machine is not having to work as hard to complete its job.
6 Tasks Homeowners Can Do to Increase the Efficiency of HVAC Systems
- First, homeowners should locate and replace air filters. The frequency of how often to replace air filters ranges depending on what’s going on inside and outside the home. If any of the bullet points listed below apply to you, you’ll want to change your air filters more often.
- Quality of the air filter – the cheap ones are simply less effective; change those more frequently.
- Frequency of use – the more the system runs, the quicker the filter’s life runs out.
- Size of the household – more people means more traffic transporting dust and dirt.
- Pets in the home – the frequency of new filters increases with each pet.
- Smoking inside the home – experts say to change filters every 20 days.
- Living in an area with poor air quality – the air outside the home determines the quality of air inside the house.
- Living in a neighborhood with an active construction zone – those chemicals and particles will travel into your home.
- Construction/remodeling inside the home.
- Aged homes – older homes tend to be less efficient.
- Old HVAC systems – older units may require changing filters more frequently and more than yearly checkups.
- Living near dirt or gravel roads – traffic and wind will carry the dust near and into the home.
- Persons with asthma – keeping the air cleaner means breathing easier.
- Step two in HVAC maintenance that NACHI suggests is to vacuum up all the dust particles congregating in air returns and heat registers. Clear those airways!
- Step three is to clean the outside condenser. One of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your entire HVAC system is simply washing the condenser with a water hose. Mowing, leaf blowing, and even the weather can cake crud on the outside of the unit. This restricts airflow and decreases the ability of the unit to perform at peak levels.
- Step four may involve a trip to the attic (or anywhere else that ducts are exposed in the home). While the heat or air is turned on and blowing, NACHI suggests using your sense of touch (even better, use an infrared camera) to determine if any of your precious heat or air is escaping through any rips or tears in your ductwork. If there are any problem areas, temporarily solve the issue with duct tape. But immediately, contact a professional who can remedy the loss of airflow.
- Step five requires you to walk around the house and look at all your floor vents, removing anything that may have fallen in. Small children especially enjoy the challenge of finding objects they can fit through the slats. If you have kids, don’t be surprised if you find crayons, silverware, or that piece of mail you could have sworn you had just set down for a minute. Look also for any obstructions to your vents. Clothing items and curtains can often end up accidentally covering a vent, but if you’re not looking out for them, it can also be an easy mistake to cover your floor vents with furniture. It may be time to do a little rearranging to keep those airways unobstructed.