HVAC systems require maintenance to stay in good operating condition. If you break those tasks into manageable weekly or monthly chores you can handle yourself, you can minimize the risk of malfunctions or the need for hiring experts. Look into these four maintenance tasks you can do yourself to keep your home’s HVAC system running smoothly.
1. Clean out your vents.
Your home’s vents move a lot of air in and out of the space. Combined with the thin openings, they’re virtually magnets for pet hair, allergens, dirt, and even microbes. Clean the vent shields and the parts of the duct you can easily reach regularly. If you can’t climb up to reach them, use a vacuum to remove the debris that might be clogging up the outside. One vent that commonly gets forgotten is your dryer vent. This can get clogged with lint and fibers, which increases your risk for a home fire. Take the time to pull out your machine and pull all of the lint out of the vent so the warm air can safely escape. It’s also important to get your ducts cleaned, but that can be a bit difficult to do yourself.
2. Keep the condensate line unclogged.
Your air conditioner has a line where the condensation from the coils runs off. Because this is slow-moving (and occasionally dirty) water, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria, microbes and gunk that can grow and clog up the line. Every month, or at least every time you change the filter, use your wet-dry vacuum to suck out any potential clogs. Your machine should have an upward-facing open pipe precisely for this purpose. Another way to control any potential clogging is to pour a small amount of vinegar down the pipe to kill anything growing in it.
3. Change the air filter.
It’s important to change out your HVAC’s filter like clockwork. The filter stops particles and contaminants from blowing continuously throughout your home or building up on the coils inside your system. But as it catches those particles, it becomes fuller and fuller. If you leave it for too long, the filter becomes clogged and your HVAC has to work too hard to force air through it. Changing the filter once or twice every season is a good start, but some systems and homes need the filter changed more often.
4. Trim plants away from the outdoor unit.
The giant box unit outside your home houses a large fan. While it’s protected by a mesh and outer walls, that won’t keep out all plants and debris. Keep shrubs and grass trimmed away from the edges of the unit. This will this stop long plants from growing into the unit and curling around the blades. The distance also reduces the risk that dead leaves and grass will start to fill up the bottom of the unit. This maintenance lets the fan spin and continues to disperse heat.
If you love handling maintenance yourself, there are plenty of ways to keep your system in great repair on your own. But for more serious maintenance issues and repairs, call in a technician. Not only is this safer, but you also won’t risk invalidating your warranty.