Get your HVAC system summer-ready
Ah, spring! Time to plant your lettuce and tomatoes, stock up on allergy medicine, and prepare your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for the warmer months. Keeping your system clean will help it run more efficiently and extend its life, plus check off a task from your spring maintenance to-do list. Read on to find out how.
Preparing for HVAC Maintenance
Spring is the best time to call an HVAC repair technician for an annual system tune-up. If you wait until the first hot day, you risk running an inefficient AC unit and a longer service wait time because everyone will want their systems checked, too.
HVAC technicians will check the refrigerant level and ensure all the belts, blower, and motor are working correctly. The technician will also clean the fins and coils. So, add HVAC maintenance to your spring cleaning checklist.
1. Clean the Outdoor Condenser
Tackle the outdoor chores on the first sunny day of spring when you can be outside comfortably. If you chose to cover your AC for the winter, start by uncovering it. The unit that sits outside that you think is the air conditioner is actually the condenser. After a long winter, it might be dirty. Clean it up using a broom or brush to clear away any dirt or leaves from the condenser base or stuck in the grates.
2. Clear Away Any Vegetation
Your condenser unit needs room to breathe, so don’t let shrubs or bushes get too close. Trim any encroaching vegetation back about 2 feet from the unit.
3. Remove the Grate and Clean Inside
Turn off the power to the air conditioner before attempting to clean the inside. You can use your brush or a vacuum attachment to remove any dirt from inside the unit. Wipe or rinse off the fins with a garden hose if there’s caked-on dirt.
4. Do a Quick Inspection
If the fins are cracked or bent or the AC unit is leaning to one side or another, you might want to call an HVAC contractor to check it out and replace or repair any broken parts.
5. Change Your Filters
Save this indoor task for a rainy day so you can enjoy the sunshine. Air can’t pass through a dirty air filter, so check air filters monthly and change them if they look dirty. Also, change furnace filters regularly to keep the system working efficiently. HVAC filters can catch mold, gasses, and even viruses.
6. Clean Your Maintenance Room
Sweep around your furnace and HVAC system, or use a vacuum to collect any dirt or dust. The maintenance room might not be on your usual vacuum route, but it's worth peeking your head in and giving it a pass occasionally to keep debris from entering the system. Make sure nothing is blocking vents or registers by moving storage boxes as needed before you clean.
7. Consider Installing a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats learn your household’s routine to automatically adjust your indoor temperature, saving energy and reducing your heating and cooling bills. According to ENERGY STAR, you can check for smart thermostat rebates available in your area—another added benefit.