As we prepare our homes for a new season, both through decor and yard work, we need to also get our HVAC units ready for different temperatures. It’s only natural that over the years, the unit in your home will begin to work less efficiently. However, it’s possible to lengthen its life by performing routine maintenance. 

And because your HVAC unit works overtime to control the extreme temperatures during the summer and winter months, it’s ideal to schedule maintenance during the spring and fall.

But what, exactly, should you do to keep your unit operating as smoothly as possible? Let’s go over 12 tips on how homeowners can maintain their HVAC system throughout the year.

Tip 1: Schedule HVAC Maintenance With a Professional

Even if you are someone who prefers to do things yourself in order to save money, HVAC maintenance is not something you should skimp out on. HVAC professionals hold that title for a reason; they have the experience and knowledge to resolve any issues as efficiently as possible.

As previously noted, it’s best to schedule a minimum of two tuneups a year. By taking care of any potential issues with your system in the spring and fall, you’ll know you can live comfortably indoors during the heat and cold.

An HVAC tuneup done by a professional typically includes:

  • Checking fuel line connections;
  • Inspecting the gas pressure;
  • Lubricating any moving parts;
  • Inspecting and cleaning any condensate drains as necessary;
  • Checking the thermostat and its calibration settings;

And of course, if you have any particular concerns about your heating or cooling systems, your HVAC professional will inspect for any issues at your request.

Tip 2: Regularly Change Your Air Filters

Dirty filters can impact the performance of a heating or cooling unit regardless of how new the unit is. If there is too much debris built up on the filter, less air can pass through. This means that the system has to work harder to heat and cool your home.

Tip 3: Cover Your Outdoor AC Unit During the Snowy Months

Since your air conditioner will be abandoned during the winter months, it’s important to make sure there’s no damage that can be done during this time it goes unused.

Any outdoor debris, such as snow, leaves, branches, trees, and shrubs, can damage your outdoor AC.

Tip 4: Remove Clutter From Indoor Units, Too

Just like how debris impacts your outdoor units, the same can be said about indoor. Having clutter blocking the unit will cut off airflow, which means you won’t feel its effects as well.

Tip 5: Close Off Any Drafty Areas

Drafty areas are bad during the warmer and cooler months. Leaking air means that the cool and warm air your HVAC unit is producing will be lost. 

Checking for drafty places requires inspecting your whole house, as these are some of the most drafty areas:

  • Windows;
  • Doors;
  • Chimneys;
  • Attics;
  • Basements;
  • Electrical outlets

Tip 6: Keep Windows and Doors Closed

During the warm months, it’s extremely tempting to embrace the fresh air with open doors and windows. However, spring and summer is as famous for its allergies as much as it is for the beautiful weather. 

Keep in mind all of the pollen and other allergens you are bringing into your home with open doors and windows. You can always invest in an air purifier to combat the issue.

Tip 7: Inspect and Clean Ducts

In most cases, your favorite HVAC professional will be willing to inspect and clean your ductwork for you. If your house feels unusually dusty, or your heating and cooling units seem to be extremely loud, you should call a professional to look at your ducts. 

Although you can clean them yourself, it would be better to contact a professional in the case that your air ducts are leaking air. 

Tip 8: Use a Smart Thermostat to Regulate the Temperature

Smart or programmable thermostats are extremely useful when it comes to saving money and energy. When you program your home to have certain temperatures during certain times (lower temperatures when everyone is out of the house, for example) it means that you can safely know that your units aren’t working hard when they don’t need to.

Tip 9: Leave Air Vents Open

It’s a popular belief that keeping air vents closed is a hack for saving money. However, it’s actually one of the worst things you can do for your HVAC’s efficiency. Closing the vents blocks off air and increases the unit’s pressure load. 

This pressure can actually cause damage to an air conditioner, meaning you would likely end up paying more money in the end for repairs. 

Rather than closing off air vents, there are other ways you can save money on your energy bill. Be sure to consider the alternatives before closing off your vents. 

Tip 10: Check That Your Home Is Properly Insulated

Insulating your home can be an extremely daunting project, but it is one that would be worth it in the long run, especially if you are noticing that your gas bill is high during the winter months. If your home is poorly insulated, it’s likely that the warmth your heaters and furnaces are working hard to produce is quickly leaving.

Tip 11: Inspect The Color of Your Furnace’s Flame

A functioning furnace will have a blue flame. When the flame is blue, it means that combustion is happening correctly in your furnace. If you see that your flame is appearing to be yellow or orange, you should contact a professional immediately to see what the problem is.

Tip 12: Let Go of Your Old Unit When It’s Past Its Prime

It’s easy to put off replacing your HVAC unit, especially in today’s economy where the costs of many items are rising. Despite paying a potentially higher up-front cost for purchasing a new unit, installing it, and inspecting it, it can still end up saving you money. 

If your current unit is old and constantly in need of repairs, you are likely forking out a ton of cash anyway. Especially when you consider that inefficient units also lead to high energy bills. Many HVAC professionals can provide you with a quote and assessment prior to making any decisions. Be sure to take the time to contact your local provider to learn more.