As winter time approaches, the working order of your HVAC system becomes a top priority for warmth and comfort. While most maintenance should be left up to professionals alone, there are some steps that you can do yourself at home to keep it functioning smoothly.
Follow these DIY HVAC maintenance tips to keep your system operating efficiently and save energy costs as you prepare for winter. For trusted HVAC services in Berthoud, CO, consider reaching out to IMS Heating and Air Inc.
1) Insulate your home
Maintaining comfortable temperatures inside your home takes energy, but having a well-insulated house can reduce heating costs significantly. Insulation reduces heat transfer through walls, attics and roofs, making it easier for HVAC systems to keep temperatures cozy in every house room.
Your insulation choice depends heavily on the climate of your location; certain insulation materials work best at trapping heat, while others help prevent it from escaping. A properly sealed and insulated home can make an enormous difference in energy savings regardless of season.
Insulating your house and ensuring your HVAC unit’s location is clear of trash is crucial. This includes clearing leaves or other large pieces of debris from around your home’s perimeter.
2) Replace your air filter
One of the easiest tasks you can do to support your HVAC system is to change its filter regularly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and forces your HVAC system to work harder in heating or cooling your home, so establishing a monthly inspection and replacement routine for your filter should help your system function more efficiently.
At peak heating season, your filters may need replacing more often due to heavy usage and quick filling up of their capacity. Setting reminders on both your phone and computer to notify you when it is time for filter replacement will ensure you won’t forget.
Change filters differ for every system, so consult its manual for specific instructions. Whenever changing filters yourself, be sure to turn off the power before taking any action, as this could prevent electrocution or unit damage. Also, note if rattling or banging noises occur when powering the unit back up, which could indicate larger issues requiring professional assistance.
3) Check your thermostat settings
Programmable thermostats allow users to customize settings according to season and time of day. Adjusting your thermostat settings around personal and family schedules is a great way to save on energy costs this winter.
Maintaining an ideal temperature of around 68 degrees in your home will keep you cozy without straining the heater and wasting energy. In winter months, it is wise to respect preprogrammed thermostat settings unless truly necessary; turning up the heat to 80 degrees won’t do anything other than add additional strain on your system and waste energy and energy resources.
Your thermostat should be situated to accurately read indoor temperatures without being blocked by furniture or rugs and far away from drafty doors or windows where air tends to cool or sink.
It might be time for an upgrade if your thermostat is not reacting to settings changes in a suitable manner. A faulty thermostat can cause short cycling — when heating or cooling cycles start and stop prematurely without finishing fully — which puts unnecessary strain on the system and causes inefficiency in operation.
4) Clean the evaporator coil
The evaporator coil of an air handler or furnace provides cool air into your living space but can become blocked with dirt and debris, forcing your system to work harder than needed.
To clean an evaporator coil, switch off the AC power at the breaker box and open your indoor unit’s access door. If casing screws and metal pieces enclose your coil, remove them so you can gain entry.
Use a shop vac to clear away any dirt or gunk visible before using nylon fin brushes to clean aluminum fins gently; if they become bent, use a fin comb to straighten them out.
Finally, apply a foaming cleaner from a commercial source directly onto the coil assembly and allow it to remain for the time specified on its container. Rinse with water by using a garden hose before returning your panel back into position and turning your system back on.
5) Clean the ductwork
The ductwork is an essential element of your home’s ventilation system, passing air from your HVAC unit through its ducts before being distributed back throughout the house again.
This air contains pollen, particles, pet dander and dust, which accumulate inside them over time — pollen particles may settle onto bedding, furniture and floors when you turn on the heater, creating respiratory problems as well as health concerns for residents. Regular duct cleaning can eliminate these pollutants before they recirculate through your house again.
Dirty ducts impede airflow efficiency and require the system to work harder in order to circulate warm air, straining its components and shortening its lifespan. Duct cleaning regularly will reduce contaminant build-up while helping the system run more smoothly.
Maintaining your HVAC system not only ensures a comfortable home during the winter months but also significantly reduces energy costs. Regular inspection, replacement of filters, and thorough cleaning of the system components can enhance efficiency and extend the lifespan of your unit.
If you encounter any difficulties, it’s always best to consult with a professional HVAC service provider. Your proactive efforts today can lead to a warm, cozy winter tomorrow.