Modern living hardly lets up. It always keeps you running around for something or the other. It’s the job or the kids or the car – something always seems to pop up around the corner. And if you have an HVAC system, you can almost be sure that you won’t have time to look after it. We’ve come up with the perfect DIY HVAC maintenance tips for homeowners who are busy and have little time to spare.
HVAC Maintenance For Busy People
We know what it feels like to have hours short in a day – regular life is taxing enough with all responsibilities thrown at you. Plus, if you have work that’s a bit away or keeps you away from home for a period of time, things can get that much more hectic. And if your household relies on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable, then you need to make time for maintenance to keep it in good working condition.
Keep reading for more DIY AC maintenance tips for homeowners who are busy with life and also save a bundle of cash while you’re at it. (That’s right folks – it’s not snowing everywhere!)
It is important that your indoor and outdoor units be free from usual types of debris that can gather and impair the functioning of your HVAC system. While the indoor unit needs only a solid wipe from a semi-wet towel, the outdoor unit might require slightly more time.
Due to the outdoor unit being exposed to external elements, there are chances of a lot more debris gathered on it. This includes leaves, sticks, dirt, and even overgrown hedges. You need to keep the outdoor unit clean and unobstructed for maximum airflow. Clean at least 2 feet around the unit to prevent any obstacles to airflow. This can improve performance, increase lifespan, and reduce the number of maintenance sessions per year. You can get this done quickly and easily.
Checking and replacing filters
Another easy chore which you can get done once every month and helps your HVAC system perform at it 100% is checking and replacing filters, if required. The filters are an important part of the HVAC system that keeps the air free from dust and other pollutants. You ought to inspect or change your air filter either 30 – 90 days at home. It depends a lot on your geographic location, usage levels, and size of the house to figure out what is the right interval. Once you get out the filters, they are easy to clean. You need to pay special attention to the folds of the filter because that is where most of the dust is caught.
Lower the load on your HVAC
It does help to give your HVAC system a break once a while. If it is a particularly hot day, you could use fans to circulate the cool air around better thereby reducing the strain on your AC. This saves a lot of wear and tear on your components thereby increasing the longevity of the system as a whole.
Check your HVAC system if it makes unusual sounds during operation. This could be because of something that might be wrong with your system. Oftentimes it could be something as simple as loose vents or bolts, debris, blockages, and the like. If you can’t find the source, the next best thing to do is go online and check problems and fixes. If all else fails, you need to call in the experts.
Professional HVAC experts
While a can-do attitude is valuable, given that the HVAC systems these days are complex pieces of machinery, not all problems are meant to be solved by the homeowner. Annual preventative maintenance plays a big part in keeping your long-term bills down. Also, a lot of manufacturers void warranties if they find your HVAC unit has not been maintained by authorized service personnel. The key is to recognize what you can and cannot do and take a call on it.
Increase the lifespan of your HVAC components
Each specific component has different requirements that you need to take care of to get the most out of it and keep them lasting longer.
If you live in a relatively warm and humid climate, then the air conditioner is the one component that is under a heavy workload. You can extend its life through regular maintenance and making sure that you don’t run it on full load consistently. The best way to prevent this by turning your ceiling fans on when it’s a bit cool and opening your windows so colder air circulates better.
Another important component is the furnace. During winter it can get exceedingly cold, and this means that your furnace needs to be in top working condition. You can make sure that the furnace isn’t put under a heavy workload by drawing the curtains open and letting sunlight into the room.
This is something that you need to pay attention to as leaks in ducting mean that your HVAC will not work properly and all the components will go through wear and tear at a much quicker rate. Regular maintenance can help prevent leaks and tears in the ducting. With additional care and maintenance, it can last you close to 30 years.
Heat pumps are what transfer heat to and from the house during different climatic conditions. These devices are critical for cooling and heating purposes and do not require a significant amount of energy to run. They can last a decade upwards with proper maintenance measures.
Thermostats are what control how hot or cold you want your home to be. Manual thermostats are simple devices and can last you a really long time. These days there are state-of-the-art electronic thermostats which have a lot more options for your HVAC system – including setting your home temperature remotely.
Common HVAC problems at home
Here are a few problems that are common with HVAC systems installed at home and also possible solutions to these problems.
- HVAC system doesn’t start – check the power supply and switches to see if they’re turned on. Then check the thermostat to see if you’ve set it to cool.
- AC isn’t cool enough – might be a problem with a clogged air filter, a malfunctioning fan unit or a bad thermostat
- Electricity bills are abnormally high – this is not something that you’d be able to rectify because there are too many things that might have caused this. Your best bet is to call over an authorized servicing team to take a look at your system.
- Leaks around your indoor unit – the easiest thing to fix would be a clogged floor drain, which just requires a little cleaning. Anything else like broken fittings, faulty evaporator coil or a gasket can be more trouble than it’s worth and you should be calling in the experts.
We hope we could bring to light some problems that you can fix on your HVAC system despite not having enough time. Always remember that these are complex pieces of machinery and you should only tinker around with them for basic problems or things that you know can be fixed. For the rest, you should leave it to the experts.