You have probably already chased away all the cobwebs in the corners, and banished the dust from your baseboards but have you thought about how to clean your heating, ventilation and air system (HVAC)?
HVAC systems are easy to forget about, but by keeping your system clean you can effectively keep the air in your home free from pet dander, dust and pesky pollen.
Who doesn’t want clean air?
By following this simple six step check list below you’ll have your HVAC system spic and span, ready for the changing seasons.
1. Replace Your Filters
Be sure your filters are clean! A dirty filter isn’t doing its job. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends replacing the filter at least every three months. You may want to replace it more often than that if you have pets or a family member who suffers from allergies.
Not all filters are built the same! Check your current filter’s MERV rating and make sure it’s filtering out the nasties you don’t want in your air. The dimensions of the filter will be printed on it, which will help you to get the right size when you buy a new filter.
Remember to put the new filter back in place with the arrow that’s printed on the outer edge of the filter facing the same direction as the air flow.
If you’d like to learn more about MERV ratings and different types of filters check out our blog article – “The Last AC Filter Guide You’ll Ever Need”
2. Clean the Area Surrounding Your HVAC Unit
You know that big metal box outside with the fan? It hums when your HVAC system comes on? That humming box is your outside HVAC unit. It can usually be found behind or on the side of your house.
See any dirt, leaves, branches, grass or other plants growing into, sticking out of, or very close to the unit?
Get rid of them!
Anything that is two feet or closer to your unit should be removed.
The outside unit has a compressor, condenser coil, and a fan. These components need some love too because they do a lot of the work to make sure your house stays a comfortable temperature.
It is good to gently wash away dirt and debris that may have collected on the condenser coils while they weren’t in use.
NEVER WORK ON A POWERED APPLIANCE! Before you begin maintenance on your unit be sure it is not powered!
Turn off your thermostat, and switch off the breaker and fuse. A garden hose is an easy way to clean off your unit. Don’t use too high of a pressure because that can damage the unit. There are also cleaning products that are specially made to help clean condenser coils.
If you want a more in-depth description of how to clean your unit, this video does an excellent job of showing how to safely and correctly clean your outside unit.
3. Clean the Vents and Registers
Air vents and floor registers (vents) can collect a hefty amount of dirt and debris. These crucial elements ensure that the HVAC system is getting the airflow it needs and is how the cool air is distributed through your home. If there is too much grime, it can clog your system and cause problems.
You should wipe down and vacuum each vent and register in your home. For a deeper clean, use the vacuum hose to loosen up the gunk and then cover a butter knife with a duster rag to get all the hard to reach nooks and crannies.
4. Test the AC
To avoid suffering from scorching temperatures, see if your system is working properly before you really need it. Make sure that your AC can turn on and can cool down your home. This way you won’t be one of those poor souls calling the already overbooked HVAC repairmen in a panic.
This process is easy. Simply turn your system over to air conditioning and crank down the thermostat and see if your AC does its thing. If temperatures lower in your home and you can feel cool air coming out of your vents, you are good to go!
If there is no cold air, no noticeable change of temperature, or it seems like it’s taking an excessive amount of time to make your home chilly it’s time to call a professional.
5.Reset Your Thermostat
Many of us have programmable thermostats. Be sure you set your thermostat to fit your new temperature preferences and accommodate for any schedule changes. This can save you money and will help to keep your system from over working.
Your home doesn’t have to be set at your perfect temperature while you’re at work all day, no one is there to enjoy it. Set your thermostat at higher temps when you’re gone, about five degrees. Give your system about an hour to cool down the house before you come home, then you’ll save some cash and never notice a difference.
For homes that are not well insulated, this may not be a good option. If it seems like your HVAC system has a hard time getting temperatures down quickly, it is better to keep the same temp all day.
Don’t have a programmable thermostat and want to upgrade? We carry a model that has motion sensors that learn your schedule and when you leave goes into a money-saving economy mode. Check it out here.
6. Have a Professional Inspect and Clean Ducts
Ducts should be checked and cleaned every three to five years. If it’s about that time or you don’t remember or know if you’ve ever done it before, call your favorite HVAC technician to come take a gander at your system.
Clogged ducts block air flow and are bacteria, insects and dust mite’s favorite place to hang out. This is also a good opportunity for the technician to spot any other major problems that could cause your system to fail later. A double whammy!
Once you’ve checked these simple steps off your list, you and your HVAC are going to be ready for any heat Mother Nature throws your way!
Taking good care of your equipment will help prevent any problems with your system when you really need it, can save you money and with the right filters can help keep allergies and pet hair under control. I mean, wow! That’s a lot of positives.
Unsure about which filter is right for you or want some more tips on HVAC maintenance? ISC Sales has experts on staff ready to answer any lingering questions you might have.