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  • Ray Flynn


Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Keeping Cool: DIY Maintenance for Your Home’s HVAC System

When the heat of summer arrives, the last thing you want is to have your home’s air conditioner give out. Keeping it well-maintained is in your best interest, and there are several tasks you can take on that are easy-breezy. Here are some tips for tackling your HVAC to-dos, DIY-style.

Know Your Limitations

Some HVAC maintenance tasks are extremely simple and are well within the capabilities of the average homeowner. However, when it comes to a unit that is not working properly, annual maintenance, and so forth, it’s best to call in a professional. Cool Air Mechanical points out that you should check the qualifications of anyone you’re considering for HVAC repairs. Examine online reviews, references, licensing, insurance, and whether the business has a physical address; you can search for an HVAC professional in your location by clicking here.

Install Fresh Filters

One of the easiest of home maintenance tasks relating to your HVAC system is changing air filters. In order to do this, start by learning what kind of filter you need for your unit. There is a wide variety of filters available. Some are washable and some are disposable, and some are particularly efficient and are therefore better suited to those with allergies or other health concerns. If you can’t decide, think about your lifestyle. If you live in an urban area or have pets, a disposable, high-efficiency filter might be a better choice than a low-efficiency one. HVAC Training notes that filter quality can vary, so before purchasing, read reviews. Also, make sure you purchase the right size filter. You can check the size by looking on the side of the filter installed in your unit. In some cases, you may need to order custom filters for your unit online.

Changing air filters regularly helps ensure the unit runs efficiently and can lower your energy usage, which, in turn, lower your utility bills. It’s also a good way to extend the life of the unit. Here are some basic instructions for replacing a filter:

  • Locate the filter in your HVAC unit, which could be behind the return air vent grille or at the blower of your furnace.

  • Shut off your unit and remove the filter from its slot.

  • Dispose of disposable filters, or wash reusable ones.

  • Note that if you choose a washable filter, you should allow it to dry thoroughly before reinstalling it into the unit.

  • Insert the new or cleaned filter.

  • Turn the unit back on.

The frequency with which you change filters can vary. For instance, if you live in a dirty climate, have pets, smoke, or your unit is running a great deal, you need to change it more frequently than a pet-free, smoke-free home located in a cool climate and rural area. As a rule of thumb, if you remove your filter and you can see light through it, it can wait.

Tidy Up Your Unit

Cleaning your outside air conditioning unit is a task you can tackle yourself, and it requires just a couple of tools and a little of your time. You’ll want a coil cleaner handy, a vacuum with soft-brush attachment, a garden hose, gloves, and protective goggles. Shut down the unit and remove any large debris, then vacuum the exterior gently. Hose the unit off, then spray with coil cleaner and allow it to set for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse the unit with the hose, and you’re done!

Cleaning your home’s air ducts can go on your to-do list as well. You can accomplish this with a vacuum, some rags, and a brush, and you’ll need a screwdriver to access the ducts. Start with a superficial tidy-up of the registers and vent covers, then shut down the system and remove the covers. Last, thoroughly vacuum and wipe out the duct area. While the system is off, you can also vacuum the blower area inside your furnace.

Keeping up with HVAC maintenance ensures your home is comfortable throughout the seasons. Make sure you change filters regularly and keep your system in good working order with routine cleaning. While not everything HVAC-related is appropriate for homeowners to DIY, the most important tasks are well within your abilities.

Ray Flynn

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