Nothing affects your comfort more than your heating and cooling system. Yet, unless the heater conks out during a blizzard or the air conditioning goes on the fritz in the middle of a heatwave, most of us ignore our heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
Even the best heating and cooling system can waste energy. For example, clogged filters, dirty thermostats, sooty flues, leaky ductwork, and unlubricated fan motors can collectively reduce heating and cooling efficiency by up to 25 percent.
Some HVAC maintenance tasks are simple, while others require a trained pro.
Here’s what you need to know about HVAC maintenance, whether you plan to handle it yourself or hire a professional technician.
Routine HVAC Maintenance
A heat pump only needs a yearly service call by an HVAC technician. The technician 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. You need to change the furnace filter every month or two during heating season, and oil the circulating fan 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 an 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
- Have the refrigerant pressure checked, if the unit isn’t cooling properly
For the best results, 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.