For many of us, having an HVAC system is a necessary part of our homes. They keep us cool in summer, warm during winter, and with a little DIY, can be what we need to make us comfortable. However, if we don’t properly maintain them, they can have costly breakdowns.
An Unmaintained Machine
It’s easy to ignore, but you are doing your machine a disservice when you neglect it. There are plenty of things that can go wrong with a unit that has not been maintained. Your energy bill may rise, your unit may be overworking itself, you may end up breathing in toxins like mold and dust, and most expensive of all, you shorten the lifespan of your HVAC. To keep the air in your home healthy, and to make sure your machine functions at optimal efficiency, perform some DIY maintenance and regularly schedule repairs and check-ups for your unit.
Know Your Machine
Your unit is made up of many complicated parts, and by fiddling around with things you don’t understand, you might do more harm than good, regardless of the quality of your machine. As such, you should read your owner’s manual before trying to clean or otherwise maintain your HVAC. If you don’t have a physical copy, you can look yours up online. You’ll need the make and the model, both of which should be accessible on your unit. This way, you can follow the guide and avoid any costly mistakes or unintentional damage.
One of the best things you can do for your HVAC unit is to clean it regularly. This will save you money in the long run and help your machine stay healthy. On average, it will take up about half a day to do it thoroughly and cost between $50 and $100 for tools and materials, including a screwdriver, garden hose, a fin tool, foil tape, and a coil cleaner. While you’re at it, you may want to tend to your ventilation ducts as well, as these can harbor dust and airborne toxins, and further degrade the quality of your HVAC filter. Of course, heavy maintenance should be done by a professional, but dusting, cleaning in and around your system, can do worlds of good.
Swapping Your Filter
Having a clean filter is an imperative part of the lifespan and health of your unit. To make sure your family is breathing in fresh air and that your machine isn’t working harder to compensate for a dirty filter, it’s important to swap it every few months. However, not all filters are the same, and you need to know the correct size. You should consider the MERV rating before getting a replacement, as a higher rating typically indicates how well it can trap airborne particles. It should be noted, however, that the higher the rating, the more frequently you’ll need to swap your filter, as it may accumulate debris more quickly thanks to its small pores.
Landscape the Exterior
Often, part of our unit will be outside in our gardens. Because of this, you should keep an eye on your plants to ensure they don’t encroach on your HVAC’s space. Otherwise, your unit may become clogged, which causes strain and could cause your machine to break down. If your plants are more than half a foot in height, they need to be at least three feet away from your HVAC to prevent leaves and detritus from becoming lodged in it. When you do your weekly gardening, trim back the area around your outside unit to ensure everything flows freely.
If we treat our HVACs right, they can serve us well. It takes a bit of preemptive maintenance, shrewd cleaning, and knowing your machine, but it’s easy to do. After all, your HVAC works hard to keep your home pleasant. We all owe our units some TLC in return.
Guest blog by thefixitchamp.com