Congratulations on your new home! As you move in, you may be checking the maintenance status of all the house’s features and systems, including the HVAC. Your heating and air system is an important part of your new home. It keeps you and your family warm and cozy throughout cold winters and cool during the sweltering summer days. AC systems have a big role in making your house feel like the home you want to retreat to. This New Homeowner’s Checklist will give you a basic rundown of how to protect your air conditioning system and keep it in top condition.
1. Learn Your HVAC System
Your maintenance will depend on your system. Different features and brands require different types of upkeep. If you don’t already know the details of your air conditioning system, you’ll need to know:
- The manufacturer and their warranty
- The date of the last maintenance check
- Whether your system is propane, natural gas, or electric
- If the system has ducts or is ductless
- If the system is a split or packaged system
If some of these terms are unfamiliar, scroll through our glossary to get your bearings. You may also want to visit our FAQs section for answers to some of the most common heating and air conditioning questions.
2. Make Sure Your Air Ducts Are Clean
No heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system can truly do its job if its ducts are dirty. Dirty HVAC ducts are bad for your heating and air system maintenance, but they can also be harmful to your family. Cleaning ducts minimizes the circulation of allergens and bacteria.
3. Check Your Windows for Their R-Value
Windows are a common culprit of letting heat or cool air out and letting in air from outside. This gets to be a problem with severe or seasonal weather patterns. Even if your AC system is in great condition, if your air is constantly slipping through your window frames and window panes, it can end up increasing your electric bills.
In the industry, we use the term ‘R-Value’ to talk about thermal efficiency, or how well your insulation system keeps heat inside. ‘R’ stands for resistance. The higher the R-value of your windows, the better they are at preventing heat from escaping. If you feel a persistent draft from your windows, you may need to invest in thermal efficient panes and check the seals around the frame.
4. Check the Thermostat
Install a smart thermostat if your home doesn’t have one already. This allows you to have more control over the temperature of your home, and the efficiency of your electricity.
The smart thermostat can help indicate if there are HVAC problems. If the temperature of your home isn’t at the temperature you’ve programmed it to be, it could signal a need for system maintenance. Check that all of your settings are correct, and call a professional if needed.
5. Change Filters
Keeping your filters clean is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent problems, yet it’s also a commonly forgotten step. A dirty filter chokes an AC system. Accumulated dust particles prevent proper airflow, so no cool air or heat circulates throughout the home. This increases your electric bill because your system is working overtime. The extra strain on the system also increases your chance for HVAC failures in the future.
Bottom line: always change your filters. Change them at least once every season if you can.
6. Schedule System Maintenance
Routine maintenance can help catch concerns before they become problems. It’s similar to healthcare in the sense that, the earlier you catch and diagnose a red flag, the better chance you’ll have at mitigating or solving the problem.
The industry standard is to have your heating and air conditioning system checked twice a year, but if you live in an area with severe weather patterns including hotter than average summers or colder than normal winters, your HVAC probably works overtime. You may want to schedule more maintenance at the beginning of each of these seasons to ensure your system is in optimal condition before you really need it.
7. Clean the Area Around Your Outdoor Unit
It’s important to keep debris away from your outdoor air conditioning unit, particularly away from your heat pump. Clear an area of at least two feet around your unit, removing any overgrown foliage, shrubs, or other hazards.
8. Check Vents and Returns
Air can’t circulate or distribute evenly throughout your home if personal objects or furniture are blocking the vents. Create clear pathways from your vents to return points by rearranging room layouts and keeping doors open or closed, depending on how you want to direct the circulation.
The proper HVAC maintenance can keep your system running smoothly and your home feeling comfortable all year long. The New Homeowner’s Checklist to AC systems should give you a good idea of how to do this. If you ever need help or more detailed answers to your questions, our technicians are just a phone call away.