The HVAC systems in our homes create comfortable inside temperatures and improve air quality. They also prevent many health hazards that can develop in buildings, from removing volatile organic compounds that effuse from building materials to deterring mold growth that can occur in moist, warm indoor environments.
Thus, HVAC systems play important roles in protecting, maintaining, and improving your health and comfort. You need to maintain these systems so they keep working for a long time. Moreover, regular maintenance of the HVAC system components reduces your utility costs because it helps the system function efficiently. Here are four tips that will help you create an HVAC maintenance calendar to ensure you maintain your unit properly.
Every Month: Check or Change Air Filters
The air filters are usually the first and most frequent part of your HVAC system to require replacing. Inspect your filters every month to see how clean they are. If they are fully clogged with dirt, replace them. If they are partially clogged with debris, you can let them work for a few more weeks, checking periodically to determine when they need changing. As a general rule, however, change your air filters every 45 to 60 days. If you have pets, you might need to change the filters every month.
To ensure you are changing the air filters regularly, you should purchase them in bulk. Many stores sell filters in packs of two to eight. Having them on hand at all times will make it easier to replace dirty ones with new ones every so often. You will also likely enjoy a discount when you buy your air filters in bulk.
Twice a Year: Inspect the Fan
Several components of your HVAC system’s fan need regular maintenance. Have a professional HVAC technician inspect and clean these components twice a year:
Over time, particulates will stick to the fan blades. Cleaning them, however, can be a tedious process that can take anywhere from an hour for a small blade to several hours for a large one. Additionally, the more wheels on a shaft, the harder it is to clean its blades. Thus, you’ll want to have a professional clean them twice annually.
Loose belts usually slide on the pulley wheels, causing fans to lose their rotational force. In short, the fan fails to rotate well. On the other hand, very tight belts place too much force on the motor and shaft bearings, making them wear rapidly. Have fan belts inspected twice annually to ensure they are not too loose or tight.
When fans vibrate or make loud cracking noises when rotating, it is a sign their bearings have failed and need replacement. Additionally, if the bearing cassette is hot, the bearings have failed. Look for these signs when inspecting your fan’s bearings, and have them replaced if needed.
Every Year: Repair Cabinets and Ducts
Cabinets and ducts are usually connected via gaskets, screws, and latches. These points of connection loosen or weaken periodically due to the high-pressure air that passes through them. When the connection points get loose, crevices develop that leak air. Make sure you have the cabinets and ducts inspected annually to detect and repair possible leakages. Ducts also accumulate particulates, which need to be cleaned out every two years.
Your HVAC unit needs to be prepped for the changes that occur during the summer and fall. When summer is right around the corner, the water that goes into the furnace humidifier should be turned off. As fall time approaches, the water can be switched back on, but only after changing the filter in the humidifier.
Your seasonal HVAC maintenance plan should also include the checking of smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries. After all, maintenance on the HVAC system is just as much about your safety as it is keeping the system running properly. Many HVAC systems have a built-in carbon monoxide detector. Regardless of where it’s located, a professional HVAC contractor can check the batteries in the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for you.
HVAC system maintenance requires time, skill, and dedication. These tips will help you create a proper HVAC maintenance schedule.