Mowing the lawn and painting your home are easy ways to maintain your home and increase its value. In the same way, there are easy things you can do to take care of your air conditioning and heating equipment to keep it running when you need it most. And, as an additional benefit, it can reduce unexpected emergency calls and can lengthen the life of your HVAC equipment. A little preventive maintenance in the spring and fall goes a long way. Here are our top five tips to add to your home maintenance routine:
Change Your Filters
When was the last time you replaced the filters on your unit? Disposable filters keep your system clean and take out the large particles from your indoor air. Aim to change them every 1-3 months. If is allergy season or you have pets in your home, you may consider replacing your filters more often. We recommend picking a filter rated MERV 7-11. Anything more will reduce the airflow on your system which can put an unnecessary strain on your system and will negatively affect its efficiency, too. If you have an air purification system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for servicing those filters, too. Often ductless systems require that filters be cleaned (See a helpful DIY.)
Clean Your Condensing Unit
Most air conditioners have an outdoor condensing unit/heat pump sitting outside with a fan on top to disperse heat in the summer. The metal fins on the condensing unit frequently get clogged up with dirt, pollen, and grime. Once each season, spray the outside of the unit with a water hose to clean it. Warning: Do not use a pressure washer because it will permanently damage your unit.
Visually Inspect and Create Clearance Around Your Outdoor Unit
Remove the build-up of leaves and overgrown vegetation so they do not interfere with the air flow of your outdoor unit. You can trim any bushes or trees also so your unit has plenty of clearance, about 2 feet, on all sides. Keep a close eye if you have bushes or trees that give off excessive pollen, such as Cottonwood trees in particular. They are notorious for clogging up condensing units.
Check Your Evaporator Coil’s Drainpipe and Drain pan
If you are unsure where your drain pipe is, have your service technician show you where to find it. Check your HVAC system’s drainpipe and clear any blockages of the algae/mold that sometimes builds up there. A wet-dry vacuum can suction out any plugged up areas, and bleach can help clean it too. A clogged drain line is one of the most common breakdowns we fix in Houston, Texas during the spring and summer. Often customers learn of it when water comes pouring through their ceiling unless a protective float switch or “ceiling saver” is installed which switches off the air conditioning to prevent damaging leaks.
Call in a Professional for Regular Maintenance
We recommend having a licensed professional come in and perform preventative maintenance twice a year, including flushing the coils, checking the drain pan and drainage system, vacuuming the blower compartments, looking at the voltage, checking refrigerant levels in the air conditioning unit, evaluating furnace operation, checking voltage on motors and loose wires. Spring is a good time to service air conditioning equipment and in the fall, we service heating equipment. With luck, we will catch any problems before they become a major inconvenience.