HVACs require regular maintenance to function effectively and efficiently. You can’t do everything, but you can easily handle most of the routine cleaning and save the extra cash that it would cost to have a pro do it. Below are some helpful maintenance tips that will not only help you stay cool all summer and avoid breakdowns, but save you money on your energy bills as well.
1. Clean or replace your HVAC filter regularly
This is one of the most vital tasks you can do to extend the life of your HVAC unit, and it’s easy to do. HVAC filters collect dust, dirt and allergen particles from circulation and eventually become saturated, creating resistance and making your system work harder than it has to. The air filter should be replaced every month during the seasons when your unit is working the hardest (such as summer and winter), and once during the fall and spring. Most filters are located behind the return air grill in either the ceiling or wall of your house, or inside the air conditioner itself.
2. Clean the evaporator coils
The evaporator coils of your HVAC collect dirt and dust over time and need to be cleaned periodically. This dirt will eventually insulate the coils and diminish their ability to absorb heat. Check your coils once a year to prevent this from happening. You will find the evaporator coil door on the inside of the unit, so you may need to remove some screws to gain access. Use a soft brush to dust off the coil, then spray the coil with a coil cleaner (available at any home improvement store).
3. Clear evaporator drain
Over time, biological matter and dirt can build up and potentially plug the evaporator drain of your HVAC unit. If left unchecked, a clogged evaporator drain will either prevent your system from operating or overflow and cause damage by flooding onto the floor. The first thing you have to do is find the drain that leaves the evaporator coil enclosure of the HVAC unit; it is usually a one-inch PVC pipe. Find where the drain ends and pass a stiff wire through it. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to clear the drain if you have one available. Hold the hose of the wet/dry vacuum to the end of the drain line and turn on the vacuum for 2-3 minutes. This will clear the drain of any matter.
Hiring a Professional
Never hesitate to seek professional assistance if at any point you are uncomfortable performing a maintenance task yourself. There are certain simple tasks that a regular homeowner can easily do to improve the performance and longevity of their HVAC unit; however, it is always worth it to call a licensed professional to check on a complex problem rather than MacGyver your way to a solution and risk your safety.