HVAC units make any household a comfortable place regardless of the outside temperature. Performing both warming and cooling processes, these remarkable appliances are probably the hardest working components in the household. As a homeowner, it makes sense to prioritize the HVAC system’s maintenance. Explore the best practices that offer the most efficient use of the HVAC system throughout the year.
1. Replace or Clean the Air Filter
One of the simplest ways to improve a system’s efficiency is by running it with a clean filter. Every HVAC system has an air filter to stop large particles from entering the ducts. With dust and grease accumulating on the filter, it becomes clogged over time. The system cannot efficiently operate when air doesn’t easily flow into the components.
Purchase either one of these filter types, such as:
Disposable types are used only one time until they’re obviously dirty. The reusable types can be rinsed and reused several times. In most cases, the reusable models will cost more than the disposables. It’s up to the homeowner to decide which style is best for the household.
2. Clear Away Debris
HVAC units typically come with indoor and outdoor components. Take extra care with the outdoor unit because it’s exposed to a lot more weathering than other parts. Get the most out of the system by clearing away debris from the outside unit, such as:
- Fallen leaves
Ideally, no debris should accumulate on, within or around the unit. These components vent hot air from the home, and debris only forces the parts to work harder. The efficiency remains low, which leads to high energy costs and worn components.
3. Remove Airflow Obstacles
Some households tend to decorate or store items around vents. The HVAC system loses efficiency when air cannot flow into or out of the interior components. Inspect any vented areas for these blockages, such as:
- Furniture against the louvers
- Boxes pushed against the wall
- Decorations covering vents
Remove these items so that the system’s efficiency can be returned to normal. Regardless of the vent’s size or location, keep it uncovered at all times.
4. Seal the Ducts
Air flows from the interior unit, through ducts and out of vents in the household’s walls. The home remains cool or warm with this airflow action. If the ducts have any holes or cracks, however, the efficiency is instantly hindered.
In fact, the conditioned air is now trapped in the walls where it does no good for the household. Seal the ducts by inspecting their lengths as much as possible. Homeowners might inspect the ducts from accessing the interior unit or by looking within the individual vents. Sealing tape can fix small cracks in these areas.
5. Install a New Thermostat
Homeowners might have a thermostat that’s as old as the HVAC units themselves. It helps the system’s efficiency if the thermostat has a sensible upgrade. Look for thermostats that have smart capabilities, such as automatic shutoff and system readouts.
These products keep the system running at a steady temperature while shutting off when there’s no need for the conditioned air. They’re relatively simple to swap out too. Plug the wiring harness into the new unit, and the system should activate without any issues.
6. Check for Leaks
HVAC units are closed systems, which means that any liquids remain confined to hoses and internal components. However, leaks can occur over time. Any lost fluid contributes to lower efficiency levels.
Examine the HVAC systems for leaks in these areas, including:
- Coolant near the exterior unit
- Water loss at the interior condensate drain
Any major leaks should be brought to a professional’s attention. The system must be repaired and given new fluids to improve the efficiency once again.
7. Consider an Annual Inspection
An annual inspection will always help a system’s efficiency. Components will wear down over time although they may still seemingly operate without a problem. Technicians can perform several different tasks, such as:
- Recharging the AC components
- Testing critical parts
- Cleaning difficult-to-reach areas
Taking care of any tiny issues will ultimately help the system work well. Avoid any major breakdowns with these inspections too. Technicians can always recommend replacement parts that will improve the system’s operations. Current technology might boost an older system’s functions while preserving the original parts.
8. Vacuum the Interior Components
The interior components are sheltered from the weathering elements, but don’t overlook their care. A thick coating of dust is just as harmful as accumulated debris found on the outside unit.
Carefully vacuum the interior components so that they don’t have a lot of dust. This fine film can cause the parts to overheat, which reduces the system’s efficiency over time. If you cannot reach confined areas, ask a professional for help in this area.
9. Close the Blinds
Get the most efficient use out of an HVAC unit by reducing the light entering the home. Windows and sliding glass doors allow a lot of heat into the home as sunlight strikes the interior. The HVAC system can operate with better efficiency when the drapes or blinds are closed.
Homeowners might also consider window tint. Reducing the ultraviolet light entering the home is a clever way to help the HVAC system run with less effort.
10. Run Hot Appliances Later
Any HVAC system will have varying efficiency based on the surrounding conditions. Ideally, run hot appliances later on in the day, such as:
- Laundry dryers
The heat from these appliances will force the HVAC system to work harder than it should under normal conditions. Although your dryer may be in the garage and away from the conditioned spaces, it does create a change in air pressure that negatively impacts the HVAC’s operations. Simply wash the laundry and dishes when it’s cooler outside and the HVAC system isn’t running too much.
Taking care of the HVAC unit can prevent most major breakdowns. Keep up with basic maintenance, and the household should remain comfortable. Efficiency can remain high even in older units when coupled with regular care.