Homeowner’s Guide To Prolonging Your HVAC’s Life
When you are a homeowner, you take on a lot of new tasks to keep your new home functioning properly. Whether it is changing lights, replacing air filters or putting in new batteries in your smoke detectors, you have a list of responsibilities for each month. Your HVAC or your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit is no different.
Not only does it regulate the temperature in your home, but it’s also partially responsible for regulating the air quality in your home and the energy efficiency. Most of the maintenance you will perform on your HVAC unit will be preventative to help prolong the life of the system and we are here to give you a simple maintenance checklist to keep at home.
Common HVAC Issues
If you fail to keep up with proactive HVAC maintenance, then there is a list of problems that can easily occur. Most of these issues will cause your unit to run harder than it should and in turn, will lead to the need to replace components of the system.
Leaks– The HVAC connector and drain lines can easily develop leaks. Keep an eye out for leaks on the refrigerant lines, the AC condensate line and heat exchanger.
Debris- Whether it is the filter, the electric panel or any other component of the unit, it needs to be clear of dirt and debris. If not, your unit will work inefficiently and can end up pumping dust and allergens into your home. If left unfixed, this could lead to a clog in the system as a worst case scenario.
Corrosion– Anytime you have wiring and moisture in the same system, you have the potential for corrosion. When this happens, it can cause your unit to turn off and on on its own, causing it to work harder than it should.
- Check around the area of the indoor and outdoor components of the unit to make sure it is clear of anything such as leaves, furniture, boxes and grass.
- Make sure there is at least 2 feet of cleared space around the unit both indoors and outdoors.
- Buy high-efficiency air filters.
Once a Month
- Check the AC refrigerants for leaks. This consists of two lines connecting the air conditioning to the indoor systems evaporator coil. If you suspect there is a leak, one of the simplest methods to try is the bubble method. Apply a soapy solution to the area and if there is a leak, the escaping refrigerant should produce bubbles. If you are uncertain, it is always a safe option to call in a professional.
Once a Season
- Change your air filters every 90 days
- Turn off the water to the furnace humidifier in the summer
- Replace the humidifier filter in the Fall and turn the water back on
Once a Year
- Replace the batteries on your carbon monoxide detectors
- Lubricate your HVAC motor
- Replace the fan belt if it is not running efficiently
- Clean the air conditioning condensation drain line with bleach or vinegar.
- Turn off system at thermostat
- Locate the drain line which is a PVC pipe located near the outdoor unit, leading from the AC unit’s evaporator coil and connecting to the wall of your house.
- Typically they have a T shaped vent with a cap. Remove the cap and check for any blockage. Remove any blockage with gloves.
- Flush the line with a 50/50 mixture of warm water and bleach or warm water and vinegar. Some newer units suggest boiling water is best to avoid oxidation concerns.
- Use no more than 2 cups and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then flush with water.
- Make sure the outdoor unit is sitting on level ground
- Hire a technician. A HVAC unit is pretty complex and some issues may not be apparent right away. For newer systems, you can have someone do a maintenance check once a year or every other year. For older systems, it is suggested to have someone come out in the spring and again in the fall.
Signs Your HVAC Needs Replacing
Even with the best preventative maintenance, a HVAC system only has a life expectancy of 10 to 25 years. If you are beginning to suspect your system is starting to have issues, it is best to call in a technician to see if a component needs replacing or if it is time to upgrade to a new system. Here are some signs that it may be time to replace your unit.
- It is only blowing out warm air
- It turns itself off and on intermittently
- There is an imbalance of temperatures, such as it is hot upstairs and cold downstairs
- It makes odd noises or runs at a louder volume than normal
- You find your energy bill is spiking
- There is poor air flow
No one wants to find themself bundled up in blankets in the winter or running fans during the summer because their HVAC unit gave out. Avoid this disaster with our simple checklist and add years onto your unit’s life expectancy. Most of these tips are easy to do on your own, but of course, if you suspect any issue with a part of your HVAC unit, give a professional a call right away.
Follow along with us at Coastal Property Inspections for more home tips and tricks as we try to help your home function as best as it can!
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