Maintaining Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system may seem like a twisted enigma of ducts, vents and machinery, but it is not that difficult to maintain if you know how it works. With two units located inside and outside, a refrigerant flowing through the system is systematically pressurized between a liquid and gaseous state. Through this conversion process, hot air is converted to cool air, and vice versa. Caring for the system’s basic components prolongs its life.

Clean Or Replace Air Filter

The simplest component to maintain is the air filter. As air moves into the inside unit, the air filter stops particulates from entering the intricate mechanisms. If the filter is not replaced or cleaned, it becomes a barrier to incoming air. The HVAC system works harder to cool or heat the home, and eventually breaks down from overheating or excessive exertion. To save money on replacing the filter each month, invest in a reusable filter. You simply rinse it and place it back in the HVAC unit. A clean unit remains reliable for years.

Straighten Air Conditioner Fins

The outdoor unit has a system of fins that are typically visible from the outside. Over time, these fins may be struck by objects or weathering, causing them to press together or apart. The fins need to be parallel with one another to allow proper refrigerant pressurizing. Use a fin comb designed specifically for air conditioning units. Similar to combing hair, you straighten the fins to rejuvenate your system.

Clean Out Debris

The outside unit is vulnerable to damage from debris accumulating inside the housing. With the system off, remove any leaves, twigs or other debris from the housing. In the future, use a cover on the air conditioner to keep it as clean as possible. Do not operate the system with the cover on, however. You may damage the unit, requiring extensive repair or replacement.

Seal Ducts

Your HVAC system uses flexible or rigid ducts to move heated or cooled air to individual rooms. Inspect as many of the ducts as you can access. Seal any ducts that are cracked or dislodged. Any air that escapes into walls or attics is wasted energy. Your initial reaction is to turn up the HVAC system when the home is not cooling or heating correctly. You want all the air to travel to the rooms’ vents to save on energy costs and reduce wear on the system.

Inspect For Refrigerant Leaks

The inside and outside units are connected mainly by the refrigerant line. Examine these lines periodically to pinpoint any possible leaks. Current refrigerant is non-toxic, but older systems may have a liquid that is highly toxic. If you see any refrigerant leaks, it is best to call a professional for an evaluation. A refrigerant leak may indicate an associated problem within the system that only a professional can evaluate.

Maintaining your HVAC system keeps your home and family comfortable throughout the seasons. Simple maintenance chores prolong the system’s life. Call a professional for any major problems or repairs to avoid further damage to the system.