Performing a little maintenance on your home each year will keep it running smoothly and potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs. You keep your roof free of branches and other debris to prevent leaks. You might resurface your driveway to fix any cracks before they grow large. Taking care of your HVAC system will make it last longer and run more efficiently.
Replace Air Filters Quarterly
Air filters do exactly what the name implies — they filter dust, mold, and other contaminants out of the air you breathe. They work particularly well with central heating and cooling units because air handlers circulate air across your entire home. However, air filters will become clogged with those contaminants over time, and your air handler will have to work harder to circulate the same amount of air. As a rule of thumb, replace your air filter every six months for optimal performance.
Clean the Compressor
Besides your system’s air filter, the piece of equipment that requires the most attention is the outdoor compressor, which radiates thermal energy from the coolant to the air outside your home. Leaves, bird nests, weeds, and insects can accumulate and insulate the fins, thereby preventing them from doing their job. Gently clean the fins with a soft brush vacuum head. If you’re at all uncomfortable doing this, call a heating and cooling professional. To minimize the amount of cleaning in the future, be sure to keep at least a 24-inch buffer zone around the unit clear of weeds and grass.
Seal Your Home
Whether you have a brand new or aging HVAC system, you can save energy by making your home airtight. Even a small leak around a door or window can substantially increase your power bill, so apply fresh caulk around doors and windows, and install new weatherstripping if you feel a draft.