One of the responsibilities that comes with being a homeowner is protecting your investment. This includes regular maintenance of your HVAC system, but homeowners who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of their HVAC system don’t always know where to start. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to keep your system running properly — all you need to do is to follow these simple guidelines for DIY maintenance.
One of the most important things to remember is that the outdoor unit of your HVAC system is exposed to the elements. This means that it will show some wear and tear that you should look for regularly so you can stay on top of repairs. Another thing to keep in mind is that preparing your system for summer also includes being ready for summer storms. Make sure to unplug any electrical parts of the system in case you lose power. You can also reduce the likelihood of damage from a storm by shutting off the breaker to your HVAC unit.
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Maintenance Equals Prevention
What you don’t want to do is wait until you have an issue to pay attention to your HVAC system. Conducting regular maintenance is the key to keeping it running smoothly and preventing those problems in the first place. House Logic breaks down these maintenance tasks by what you should do right away and which ones should be done monthly or seasonally. They recommend buying a high-efficiency air filter and cleaning the area around the unit to remove leaves and other debris right away. Don’t wait to do these tasks — they’re quick and easy, and they make a major impact on improving efficiency and reducing the risk of problems.
Follow a Seasonal Checklist
There are other things you want to do seasonally, such as following a checklist before turning on your AC in the summer. Start inside your home by checking your thermostat, ductwork, and air vents. If your thermostat is outdated, this is a good time to upgrade to one that is programmable. You should also inspect ductwork and air vents for damage and make sure they aren’t clogged with anything that could restrict airflow. Changing your air filter is something else you should do seasonally or more often if you have pets or allergies.
Outside your home, the first thing you want to do is clean the condenser coils on the AC unit. If you aren’t sure how, follow this guide from Sears Home Services. Doing this before turning your AC on will help it work more efficiently all season long. The next thing you want to do is check the coolant lines that run between the outside and inside of your home. If these coolant lines aren’t properly insulated, you will lose efficiency and your unit may not work as it should.
Even when you conduct regular maintenance, issues with your system can still pop up. When this happens, don’t assume that you need a professional, as you may be able to find a relatively simple DIY solution. One common problem is when your system won’t turn on. If this happens, the first thing you want to do is check your thermostat to make sure it has power and that it’s on the correct setting. You can also check that the system’s breaker hasn’t flipped and that the exterior switches haven’t been turned off.
If you do these things and the system still isn’t running or isn’t putting out as much cool air as it should, you may want to check your ductwork. Sealing and insulating ducts is a DIY project most homeowners can do themselves and it may get your system back up and running.
For major HVAC issues, you’ll likely have to call in professionals. Make sure to keep track of all repairs and improvements. Revamping your HVAC system could boost the value of your home, so keep all your receipts for any work that’s been completed.
You may not be able to fix every HVAC problem yourself, but you can do your best to prevent them. Most importantly, don’t put off these essential tasks until things get worse. If you wait until summer hits, it may be too late to do it yourself!