HVAC Maintenance Tips for First-Time Homeowners

HVAC maintenance can be a mystery for first-time homeowners. For people who are used to renting, taking care of a new home’s air conditioner and furnace can be intimidating. However, performing periodic maintenance on your air conditioner and furnace can help you take care of your new home and extend the service life of your HVAC system.

Check and Change the Air Filter Regularly

Your home’s HVAC system relies on an air filter to clean the air that flows through the ducts. The air filter prevents pollen, dander, and dust from clogging the workings of your air conditioner and furnace. To maintain efficiency in your home’s HVAC system, change your HVAC air filter every three months.

Failure to replace the air filter periodically can force your home’s HVAC system to work harder than necessary to function and can shorten the service life of the furnace and air conditioner. The air filter is located between the blower and the return air duct.

To change the filter, pull it out of its slot. If the air filter is dirty, turn off the HVAC system and take the filter to the nearest home-improvement center or hardware store to find a replacement.

After purchasing your new air filter, take it home and put it back in the slot between the return air duct and the blower, and then turn your HVAC system back on. Mark your calendar to remind yourself to replace the air filter in another three months. If you or other members of your household suffer from allergies, you may wish to replace the air filter more frequently.

Know When to Have the Ducts Cleaned

Cleaning your home’s air ducts periodically can help improve the indoor air quality in your home. You’ll be able to tell when your home’s ducts are dirty by the way your furniture gets dustier when the HVAC system is in use.

You can also tell by removing one of your vent covers and peer inside the duct with a flashlight. If you see a light blanket of dust covering the vent, this is a good sign that your home’s ducts could benefit from a cleaning.

Some homes need their vents cleaned more frequently than others. To lengthen the time between cleanings, replace your HVAC air filter regularly.

Maintain Air Flow Around the Air-Conditioner Condenser

The condenser for your home’s air conditioner is located outside your home. When the air conditioner runs, the condenser blows hot air out into the yard. If the air flow around the air conditioner is obstructed, this makes it harder for the condenser to do its job.

Keep all fences and shrubs at least two feet away from the air-conditioner condenser. Clean the space around the condenser periodically to clear out dead leaves and organic debris around the unit. This is especially important in the fall when leaves fall from the trees and when plants in the garden dry up for the season.

Clean Your Condenser Annually

Despite your best efforts, the air-conditioner condenser may still get leaves and twigs inside the unit. Cleaning out the condenser periodically will help lengthen the service life of your air conditioner.

To do this, cut the power to the air conditioner and remove the lid from the condenser. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out any leaves and debris inside the unit, and then spray down the inside of the air conditioner with a strong jet of water from a hose. When you’re done, replace the lid on the condenser and restore power to the condenser.

Get Regular Tune-Ups From Your HVAC Repair Person

Have your entire HVAC system inspected by an HVAC contractor on an annual basis. HVAC contractors can identify potential problems with your air conditioner and furnace before they become critical. If you live in Cincinnati, the HVAC contractors at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric can help keep your system in good repair from year to year.