Seasonal HVAC Maintenance Keeps You Cool in the Summer and Warm in the Winter

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated January 10, 2022
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Highlights

  • Seasonal HVAC maintenance ensures a longer system lifespan, reduces energy bills, and increases indoor air quality

  • Most importantly, replace air filters monthly and hire a pro for a tune-up and inspection annually

  • Spring is a great time to clean your ductwork thoroughly

  • Winter offers plenty of opportunities to seal cracks throughout the exterior of your home

  • Check on your insulation during the summer and fall

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If you hire a local HVAC contractor for a yearly inspection and tune-up, good work; you’re doing the right thing! However, there are plenty of additional and necessary task items to keep you busy between these inspections. Taking some simple steps to clean and maintain your HVAC system seasonally reaps all kinds of benefits. Follow this quick checklist to learn how to maintain your HVAC system for a longer, more effective unit each season.

Your Seasonal HVAC Maintenance Plan

Performing seasonal HVAC maintenance benefits your system in many ways. Allow a pro to test your safety controls, adjust the operating pressure and thermostat calibration, clean condensate drains, and perform airflow tests during their annual tune-up. Then come in and check off a few seasonal HVAC maintenance tasks of your own. Here’s a checklist of maintenance tasks to perform each season. 

Fall HVAC Maintenance Tasks

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There are plenty of ways to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system during the fall months. Perform these simple maintenance tasks at the start of the season to reap the long-term rewards.

  • Open curtains to allow the sun to warm your home instead of relying on the heater 

  • Run ceiling fans clockwise, which distributes heat from the top of the room to the living areas. Keep the fan setting at its lowest speed to avoid a windy chill.

  • Use safe space heaters to enhance home heating

  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to your home

  • Replace air filters every month (this is a big one!)

Spring HVAC Maintenance Tasks

Ah, the sound of birds singing can only mean one thing: Spring is in the air. While it’s generally a comfortable season, spring can get hot every once in a while, tempting homeowners to fire up the AC. Instead of relying on the air conditioner, ease the load on your HVAC system with these comfort-enhancing and general maintenance tips. 

  • Keep drapes closed so heat from the sun won't bake your home

  • Break out the outdoor grill and give your oven a rest (it increases indoor temperatures).

  • Run ceiling fans instead of the AC 

  • Use a dehumidifier. With less moisture, your home will feel comfortable at higher temperatures. 

  • Open windows to let in cool drafts

  • Clean your ductwork thoroughly

  • Swap out your air filters (yes, again)! 

Summer HVAC Maintenance Tasks

There’s no way around running your AC during the summer months. But such reliance places a strain on your HVAC system. Leverage these summer seasonal maintenance tasks to help ease the burden. 

  • Invest in an insulation upgrade to help keep hot air outside and reduce strain on your system. 

  • Check your drain pans regularly and remove any pooling moisture. 

  • Run fans instead of the AC on temperate days and turn off the air conditioning when you leave home for extended periods (unless you have pets).

  • If your main unit is outside, remove any debris, such as leaves and branches, before powering on the AC for the first time

  • Remember those HVAC filters? You know the drill. Change ‘em up. 

Winter HVAC Maintenance Tasks

Winter is a time for cozying up in front of the fireplace or relaxing in a thoroughly warmed living room drinking some hot cocoa. In other words, the extreme weather practically begs you to tax that HVAC system. Here are some maintenance tasks to undergo during the winter season. 

  • Seal up cracks throughout the home and apply weatherstrips to windows.

  • Reduce your thermostat by ten to 15 degrees when you are not home, reducing the strain on your heater. 

  • Insulate any recessed lighting to further restrict cold air from your home’s interior. 

  • Open up drapes, curtains, and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to capture some sunlight. 

  • You guessed it: Replace your air filters (for the last time this year, we promise.) 

How Seasonal Maintenance Benefits Your HVAC System 

These units falter during periods of intense heat and cold, right when you need them most. Minimize your chances of sleepless nights by maintaining your HVAC system seasonally. 

Improved Efficiency and Lower Utility Bills

Thanks to a drastic increase in heating costs, the winter season wreaks havoc on your energy bill. Winter heating costs increase your overall utility bill by around 30% compared to the other seasons, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. However, regularly maintaining your HVAC system increases the overall efficiency of your unit, which directly translates to a lower monthly energy bill. 

If your HVAC’s filters are pristine and your airflow is operating with peak efficiency, you could see savings of up to 15% every winter month.

Reduced Need for Repairs

A great surprise would be finding $20 lying on the street. A not-so-great surprise would be uncovering a sudden HVAC issue. Preventative maintenance, as the name suggests, helps prevent significant problems with your system, saving you on costly repair bills. For repairs outside a standard service, expect to pay $50 to $150 per hour for an HVAC technician, according to HomeAdvisor.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Keeping your HVAC cleaned and maintained is not the only step towards achieving superior indoor air quality, but it is a fantastic first step. Seasonal attention helps reduce exposure to allergens and pathogens and common irritants like dust. Replace filters regularly and perform basic dusting procedures when necessary. 

Increased HVAC Lifespan

Generally speaking, HVAC systems last 15 to 25 years, but this figure varies wildly depending on multiple factors, such as your specific components, weather conditions, and how often you use your system. Another factor that impacts the lifespan of your system? Maintenance, or lack thereof. To make the most of your air conditioner, furnace, and related HVAC components, regularly maintain and clean your system. 

Other ways to increase the lifespan of your HVAC include upgrading insulation, investing in a smart thermostat, and using the auto-fan setting whenever possible.

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