Real Estate & Household

6 HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Did you know that around 40% of the energy used in homes in the United States comes from HVAC units? 

HVAC units can absorb a lot of electricity and raise bills, but when you take care of them, heating and cooling don’t feel out of budget. 

If you want to keep your home comfortable, you must maintain your unit to preserve its efficiency. 

Keep reading to discover the best HVAC maintenance tips that will help your unit last and save you money! 

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1. Replace Your Air Filter

One of the most essential HVAC maintenance tasks to complete is replacing your filter.

Home HVAC units work at their optimal efficiency when the filters get replaced every 90 days or 3 months. Depending on how much dust you have in the house, where you live, and if you have pets, you may have to change it sooner. 

The air filters can quickly become clogged after absorbing dust, dander, and pet hair. When the filter gets clogged, it requires more energy for the HVAC unit to run. If you’ve noticed an increase in your utility bills, you likely need to change your filters. 

You can extend the life of your HVAC unit and prevent damage by making a simple replacement! 

2. Leave the Vents Open

Many people believe that closing your air vents can save you money and manage temperatures.

Keeping the vents open, however, is better for maintenance issues and your wallet. The pressure load significantly increases when you close vents and can block air from properly circulating. Closing the vents doesn’t reduce the air getting pushed through the unit, which is why it leads to a pressure increase. 

To prevent your HVAC unit from overloading itself, you should keep the vents open and get rid of any obstructions. If you have couches, beds, or shelves blocking a vent, look for another place for them in the home. Furniture and decor can hinder airflow with vents, regardless if they are open or not. 

Another reason you should keep the vents open is that it makes the most sense for your wallet. If your heating or air is on, it will require the same energy it would need even if the vents were closed. Air ducts get damaged over time from the stresses that additional airflow pressure causes. 

3. Keep Things Clean

Although your HVAC unit might be located outside the home, you should still keep the area clean.

HVAC units are built to be durable, but when dirt and grime build up, they can prevent your unit from working. Keep the area clean by wiping off the unit machinery and removing leaves that get caught in the ventilation. After storms and cutting the grass, you may notice more debris on the unit, which can raise your energy bills. 

Make it a habit to wipe off your unit once a week or after severe weather. When dust and leaves get inside the furnace and AC unit, they can develop into a serious and costly problem. You must also clean out the vegetation in the unit. 

Most people don’t realize it, but dust is a common reason for units to break down.  

4. Listen for Noises 

If your home heating system is making strange noises, you may need to call the experts. 

Getting help from Armstrong Air and Electrical Services will help you determine the quality of your unit. Loose hardware, water damage, and electrical issues can produce hissing and other strange noises. Once you start hearing the sounds, place a call to get your unit checked.

When the unit starts making noises, it’s often too late, and there’s already damage. A professional contractor can assess the condition of your unit and try to make replacements. You don’t want to wish the noises away and hope for the best since they can develop into significant issues. 

5. Reduce Drafts

No matter how powerful your HVAC unit is, you won’t get what you’re paying for if there are drafts in the home.

If air can easily enter and escape your home, you are wasting your time setting the thermostat. The unit will run endlessly trying to keep up with outdoor temperatures, which can lead to wear and tear. Hardware often needs to be replaced and units fail because people don’t fix their drafts.

Chimneys, doors, windows, and outlets are common places homeowners notice drafts. You should also check the attic and basement of your home to ensure airflow. 

6. Check Your Air Ducts

After the filter has been replaced and you checked the home for drafts, take a closer look at the ducts.

Air ducts can get damaged and leak, causing a major increase in your energy bills. To check your air ducts, turn on your HVAC unit long enough so that it’s consistently blowing. Next, go up to your attic and remove insulation ducts to get a better view of their condition.

If you feel air escaping from the air ducts, you can use a grease pencil to mark the leaks. Another way of determining leaks is by lighting a smoke pencil or incenses to see if the smoke moves. Erratic smoke can indicate leaks in your ductwork, which can get covered with plastic sheets and painter’s tape.  

Take Small Steps for HVAC Maintenance 

Learning these HVAC maintenance tips can help you save money and make the most of your home. 

Neglecting your HVAC system can lead to expensive problems or uncomfortable conditions. Cleaning the HVAC unit regulalry and changing the air filters will help keep the air flowing in your home. If you’re feeling additional airflow, however, you might be dealing with a leak or draft. 

Don’t hesitate to call a home HVAC team for assistance if you are concerned about strange noises or efficiency. 

If you want to learn more about heating and cooling, check out our page for more content! 

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