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DIY HVAC Maintenance Tips

Professional repair service man or diy home owner installing a clean new air filter on a house air conditioner which is an important part of preventive maintenance.

Your furnace and air conditioner are the keys to ensuring indoor comfort in every season. Do you give your HVAC system the attention it deserves? While in-depth maintenance is best left to a professional, you can follow these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tips to take proper care of your heating and cooling equipment between tune-ups.

Change the Air Filter

Remember to check your filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty. The timeframe for replacing your filter depends on the type you have. Basic one-inch filters may need to be changed every six to eight weeks, while high-end versions may last up to a year without compromising performance. Even if this is the only DIY HVAC maintenance tip you follow, it could save you up to 15% on your heating and cooling bills.

Clean the Outdoor Condensing Unit

If you have a split-system air conditioner, one component, known as the condensing unit, sits outside on a concrete slab. This exterior location allows the unit to exhaust hot air, but it’s also vulnerable to the elements. Any dirt and debris that builds up must be removed regularly to maintain an efficient heat exchange process. Here’s how to clean the outdoor condensing unit:

  • Turn off power to the unit by switching the HVAC circuit breaker to the “off” position.
  • Gently hose down the fins to remove dirt, cobwebs, grass clippings, and other debris.
  • Inspect the fins. If they are flattened in areas, straighten them with a fin comb.
  • Rake away any ground-level debris that could get caught in the condensing unit.
  • Prune nearby vegetation until the branches are no closer than 24 inches from the condensing unit.
  • Assess whether the concrete slab is level. If not, use shims to strategically lift the condenser so it sits straight.

Clean the Indoor Evaporator Coils

This air conditioning component is located near the furnace. Warm indoor air blows over the refrigerant-filled coils, removing heat from the air before it circulates back into the living space. Evaporator coils are protected from the elements, but they can still become dusty and dirty. If you feel capable, you can attempt to clean the coils yourself. Otherwise, you can leave this HVAC maintenance task to a professional.

  • Turn off power to the unit by switching the HVAC circuit breaker to the “off” position.
  • Open the evaporator coil cover and dust the coils with a soft paintbrush.
  • Spray the coils with coil cleaner, letting it drip into the drain pan below. Follow the product’s instructions to complete the cleaning process.
  • Slowly pour hot water into the drain pan to make sure it flows freely. If not, you’ll need a professional to clear the drain.

Keep All Air Registers Open

The air flowing in and out of your HVAC equipment should be balanced. If too many vents are closed or obstructed, the system can be thrown off balance. To prevent this, keep at least 80% of your supply registers open at all times. Then, check that no return vents are blocked by rugs, furniture, or curtains. To further improve airflow, dust the grilles using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

Adjust the Thermostat

Select a temperature that keeps you comfortable when dressed for the season. We recommend setting the thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter.

Then, set the temperature back 7 to 10 degrees when leaving home during the day and going to sleep at night. To prevent discomfort when you arrive home or wake up, consider installing a programmable thermostat. This cost-effective upgrade reduces your utility bills without sacrificing comfort.

Why is Professional HVAC Maintenance Necessary?

After completing the above DIY HVAC maintenance tips, you may wonder if you still need heating and cooling tune-ups from a qualified HVAC technician. Consider that most homeowners lack the tools, skills, and know-how to perform in-depth maintenance.

A comprehensive, 32-point inspection from Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will keep your furnace and air conditioner running smoothly for years to come. Here are the benefits of making annual HVAC maintenance a priority:

  • Prevent breakdowns: Your HVAC system is most likely to fail when you need it most. The best way to improve reliability and avoid mid-season breakdowns is to prioritize annual maintenance.
  • Lower your repair bills: A broken furnace or air conditioner can sometimes be costly to repair. Preventative maintenance is an affordable, predictable investment that pays for itself by helping you avoid emergencies.
  • Decrease your energy bills: No one wants to pay more than necessary for heating and cooling. By cleaning, oiling, and tuning up your HVAC system, a technician can help you stay comfortable even while reducing your energy costs.
  • Improve home comfort: If some rooms feel stuffy and uncomfortable, that’s a sign you need routine maintenance. A tune-up improves airflow, humidity, and temperature control.
  • Prolong your system’s lifespan: Furnaces and ACs should last at least 10 to 15 years, but neglected systems tend to break down years before their time. Regular maintenance ensures season after season of reliable performance.
  • Eliminate safety hazards: Are you worried your air conditioner may have an electrical problem? Do you fret over carbon monoxide leaks from your gas-fired furnace? Put your mind at ease with preventative maintenance.
  • Ensure warranty coverage: Most manufacturer warranties require annual tune-ups. Hold onto maintenance records so you have proof of the services your HVAC system has received in the event you need to file a claim.

Contact Our HVAC Experts in Utah County or Washington County

A combination of regular DIY maintenance and professional annual tune-ups provides long-lasting, efficient, and reliable HVAC performance. Triple T would be happy to help keep your home comfortable and your energy bills low with our dependable HVAC services. To schedule a heating and cooling maintenance visit, please contact us at 801-790-0460 if you live in Utah County or at 435-216-1608 for Washington County residents.