Homeowner's Guide to Basic HVAC Maintenance

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Homeowner's Guide to Basic HVAC Maintenance

Maintaining your HVAC system is paramount not only for the sake of indoor comfort but also for the efficiency and longevity of the system itself. Engaging in regular upkeep can stave off costly repairs and ensure your unit operates efficiently for many years. This guide aims to arm homeowners with essential tips for basic HVAC maintenance.

Understanding Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system is the heart of your home’s comfort, regulating temperature, airflow, and overall air quality. Comprising key components like the furnace, air conditioner, and ductwork, this system works in concert to maintain an ideal living environment, regardless of the season.

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

Regular maintenance tasks are crucial for the smooth operation of your HVAC system. Here are a couple of tasks you can easily manage:

  • Inspecting and Replacing the Air Filter: One of the simplest yet most effective maintenance tasks is keeping the air filter clean. A clogged filter can strain your system, reduce efficiency, and worsen air quality. Aim to check your filter monthly and replace it as needed to ensure optimal airflow and system performance.
  • Clearing Debris from External Units: Outdoor units are exposed to the elements and can accumulate leaves, dirt, and other debris. This buildup can obstruct airflow and diminish the system’s efficiency. Keeping the area around your external units clear will help maintain your system’s health.

Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

Adjusting your maintenance efforts according to the season ensures your HVAC system is always operating under optimal conditions:

  1. Spring/Summer Preparations: As the weather warms, ensure your system is ready to offer relief from the heat. This includes checking and refilling coolant levels, ensuring the thermostat is functional, and cleaning the condenser coils of your outdoor unit. These steps can significantly impact your system’s cooling efficiency.
  2. Fall/Winter Readiness: Before the chill sets in, it’s vital to prepare your heating system. This involves a thorough inspection of the furnace, cleaning or replacing the furnace filter, and ensuring the heat exchanger is crack-free. Additionally, checking for drafts and sealing leaks can help retain heat and reduce energy consumption.

Annual Professional Maintenance

While many maintenance tasks are within the homeowner’s reach, an annual check-up from a professional is indispensable. A certified technician can conduct a comprehensive inspection, clean parts unreachable by the average homeowner, and identify issues before they escalate into major problems. This preventative approach can extend the life of your HVAC system and improve its overall efficiency.

Energy Saving Tips

Beyond maintenance, adopting energy-saving habits can significantly reduce your utility bills:

  • Utilize programmable thermostats to adjust temperatures based on your schedule, ensuring energy is not wasted heating or cooling an empty home.
  • Seal windows and doors to prevent air leaks, which can strain your HVAC system and lead to higher energy costs.
  • Incorporate ceiling fans into your home cooling strategy to distribute air more evenly, allowing you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort.

Recognizing When to Call a Professional

Even with diligent maintenance, some issues require professional intervention. Unusual noises, persistent odors, or a sudden increase in energy bills can indicate underlying problems with your HVAC system. In such cases, it’s best to consult with a professional to avoid exacerbating the issue or causing unnecessary damage.

A well-maintained HVAC system is key to a comfortable, energy-efficient home. Regularly attending to your system not only prevents unexpected breakdowns but also ensures you and your family enjoy a healthy living environment. By adopting a proactive approach to HVAC maintenance, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of their system for years to come, knowing they’ve taken the necessary steps to protect their investment and their comfort.

Residential Insulation Upgrade Rebate

City Utilities residential electric or natural gas customers may qualify for a 20% rebate, up to $300, of the total cost of insulation upgrades.

Benefits: 20%, up to $300 rebate
Who’s Eligible: CU residential customers with electric or natural gas services

Customers who purchased & installed insulation in their home between September 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022 may qualify for a 50% rebate, up to $500, of the total cost of the insulation upgrades.

Eligibility Conditions: Insulation must meet the minimum R-values as specified in the rebate guidelines.

Click here to visit City Utilities Website