Here’s a 5-item checklist everyone can use for heating and cooling each quarter of the year:
Replace indoor air filters.
Everyone’s HVAC system has an air filter somewhere inside the home. It may be behind your return grille, it may be a whole house air filter that’s next to the HVAC unit, or it could be an air filter that’s just right on top of the unit. It’s so important that those filters are changed and maintained. One point I would like to mention about filters is that it’s easy to go to a big box store or hardware store and find filters marketed as being able to trap allergens. You need to be very careful with those types of products because they have very fine filtration, which can get stopped up really easily. Yes, they do catch a lot of stuff, but they’re not going to last anywhere nearly as long as a normal fiberglass filter. If you do get one of these types of products, you’ll have to replace them more often.
Clean and clear outside units.
Most people in our area have heat pumps, which have a unit outside of the house. Generally, it’s located along the outside wall of the house somewhere. In the fall, it’s a good idea to make sure there are no leaves near the unit. In the winter when we may have snow for a long period of time, make sure that there isn’t any snow buildup on or around the unit. Pollen or other debris should also be removed before it has a chance to build up. Additionally, you should make sure not to set objects like water hoses on top of the unit.
Keep indoor floors clean.
The floor around the inside unit—regardless of whether it’s a gas furnace or even an air handler—should be kept clean. This is where the unit draws in air, and sometimes there are leaks around the return air. If this area is really dusty or it has a lot of pet dander, it can get sucked up into the system. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the floor around the return air grille clean. The filter blocks these things from getting into the system for the most part, but not around the unit.
Turn off water to humidifiers during summer.
The humidifier is an indoor item that isn’t needed during the summer. You wouldn’t want it dripping water, and you also wouldn’t want anything within the unit to malfunction. That’s why turning off the water to the humidifier during this season is a good idea.
Keep an eye on the condensate drain.
Most indoor units have a condensate line. Some units (like gas furnaces) will condensate year-round, while others (like heat pumps or air handlers) will just condensate in the summer. Just make sure that you’re keeping an eye on it because sometimes the condensate drains or the inside pan can get stopped up. If you see any water around the unit, you’ll definitely want to get it checked out before a flood or water damage occurs inside the house.
For homeowners who want an easy way to keep their heating and cooling systems well-maintained, we offer a Diamond Club membership. Included with the membership is one free annual plumbing visit where a technician flushes the water heater and inspects the plumbing. It also includes two free maintenance checks for the HVAC: one for the heating and one for the cooling. This is an ideal plan to check the system and make sure it won’t encounter problems in the future. If you have any questions, contact us, or give us a call at 540-483-9382.
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