Nothing in your house affects your comfort more than your heating and cooling systems. Yet unless the heater conks out during a blizzard or the air-conditioning goes on the fritz in the middle of a heat wave, most of us pretty much ignore our heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
When not kept in shape, even the best heating/cooling system can cost you by wasting energy. How much? Depending on how you heat and cool your home and the climate of the area you live in, clogged filters, dirty thermostats, sooty flues, leaky ductwork, and unlubricated fan motors can reduce heating and cooling efficiency by up to 25 percent!
Some of these maintenance tasks are simple, while others require a trained pro. You’ll also need an HVAC contractor if your system is at the end of its useful life. Here are some tips for dealing with your HVAC equipment and the pros that service it.
Routine HVAC Maintenance
The good news is that most systems don’t require much attention.
A heat pump only needs a yearly service call by a HVAC technician who will:
- Check the belts, and replace them if needed.
- Check and replace the filters.
- Oil any moving parts.
- Inspect the wiring.
A gas-fired, forced-air heating system has simple requirements, too. Furnace filter should be changed every month or two during heating season, and the circulating fan oiled once a year. Call in a pro every other year to check the:
- Heat exchanger
- Adjust the burner
An oil-fired boiler requires annual maintenance by a HVAC pro to:
- Clean the flue
- Change the fuel filter
- Clean and adjust the fuel jets
Air conditioning units are a little less maintenance intensive. At the beginning and end of each cooling season, you should:
- Clean or replace the air filters
- Vacuum out the unit
- Lubricate the motor
- If the unit isn’t cooling properly, have the refrigerant pressure checked.
Arrange for service calls before the start of heating or cooling season. You’ll get better attention and have more flexibility when scheduling the appointment.