Long-Term HVAC Maintenance Guide

If you want to maintain your home’s market value from year to year, and even if you just want to save on heating and cooling costs, here are some standard maintenance procedures for you to follow.

For the filter and ducts

Check your heating and cooling system before the heavy-use season starts

Air conditioner evaporator coils (Photo: jblevine2004)

Many HVAC systems are forced-air, meaning that air is pushed through a filter into the ducts and out the vents. Make sure the ducts are checked every year for leaks and missing insulation. Any air lost that way reduces your system’s efficiency.

Ducts may not need annual cleaning, but dust, dirt, and mold can build up, so they should still be checked. Also check the air filter, to make sure it still fits properly and is filtering air. Replace it if it is clogged or too dirty.

Springtime air conditioner checks

Before the hot season starts, you should check to make sure your AC system is ready for the cooling it will need to do.

The evaporator coils will need to be cleaned of any dust or grime. This is the part that provides the cold during a cooling cycle, and any foreign materials on it will reduce the temperature transfer.

The condensate drain will also need to be cleaned. Humidity from the air sometimes condenses on the evaporator coils and drips off. The condensate drain catches that runoff and prevents water pooling on the floor. To make sure it never overflows, it should be checked and cleaned every year.

Make sure the outside unit is clear of leaves, weeds, and other debris that could restrict airflow.

The refrigerant levels should be checked. Important: adding refrigerant yourself is above the level of a DIY job, and there may be laws in your area about which chemicals you can use.

Make sure all electrical connections are tight and all wires are free of fraying and kinks.

Autumn heating system checks

Likewise, before the cold weather begins, the following items should be checked to make sure your furnace is up to the task of warming your home for several months.

All the heating components should be cleaned, including the heat exchanger, burners, and blower.

An autumn inspection involves checking to see that the ignition and burners work properly. The system may have to be turned on and off a couple of times to make sure it starts and runs reliably. It is also important to make sure the outside exhaust vents are clear of obstructions. Animals sometimes try to make homes in there.

Another important item to Inspect is the heat exchanger which should be checked for any cracks, leaks, or rust. This is not something you should try to fix at home.

Note that for either the heating or cooling season, you should have your system serviced some time before you need the system to start working. That way, if you need maintenance, your family doesn’t go without AC in the hot weather or heating in the cold weather.

The thermostat

Don’t overlook the single smallest unit in the whole heating system. A lot depends on your thermostat, so do a few checks on it before the hot or cold season starts.

If it’s still a manual model, consider upgrading to a digital model that can be programmed. Check the programming at every season change to make sure the settings are optimized for your preferences. Replace the batteries each year as well.

Twin Air can handle your annual HVAC checks

Not all the checks and repairs here can be done at home easily or safely. If you feel unsure about any of them, you may have better peace of mind getting trained technicians to do your annual check. If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, give Twin Air in Manassas a call at 703-754-1062 or contact us on our website.

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