Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
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Posted April 12, 2022
It’s officially spring and that means that means it’s time for your annual spring HVAC maintenance. The weather is getting warmer every day, and you are getting ready to fire up your AC for the first time. But as many homeowners find out too late, improper HVAC maintenance can lead to a faulty or broken system right when you need it the most.
Fortunately, routine maintenance is the best way to avoid preventable problems. And the right time to practice this maintenance is in the spring.
Keep reading for a comprehensive list of spring HVAC maintenance tips for homeowners.
Test It Early
Many homeowners wait until the hot summer air is upon them before they turn on their AC for the first time. This is a mistake.
It is likely that you have been using your HVAC system all year. But if it has been months since you utilized the AC function, your unit may have incurred damage that you don’t know about it.
Test your AC about a month before you need it. Be on the lookout for peculiar sounds or smells as it turns on. If you notice anything abnormal, call a professional immediately for a spring HVAC maintenance visit.
Additionally, you should inspect the unit and look for anything that appears to be visually amiss. If anything looks different than it did last year, call for professional help just to be sure it is not a serious issue.
Sometimes it is hard to remember how things differ from year to year. That is why it may help you to start keeping a maintenance checklist for your HVAC system and other household items.
Clear the Area
While you are testing your unit, you should make sure the area around it is clear. The general rule is at least two feet of free space should surround your HVAC system on all sides. This applies to both indoor and outdoor units.
For indoor units, be on the lookout for children’s toys or clothes that may have fallen into the danger zone. Not only can obstructions pose a risk to you and your family, but they can prevent your HVAC unit from performing at maximum capacity.
Outside, you should do the same thing with yard debris. Spring is when everything in your yard is blooming and growing. Plants that were not an issue in the winter may suddenly become problematic.
Trim any shrubs or stems within two feet of your unit. Likewise, be sure to keep your lawn mowed all summer.
Check Your Air Filter
Every spring, remember to check your HVAC system’s air filter to make sure it isn’t dirty. Professionals recommend checking your air filter every 90 days. You may find you need to check it more frequently during times of high use, like the spring.
Fortunately, checking and replacing the air filter on your HVAC unit is easy to do by yourself. First, turn off your system completely.
Next, you need to find the access panel and remove it. You may need a screwdriver to complete this task. From here, it is easy to pull out the air filter.
You will probably see that dust and grime have accumulated on the filter. If it is a washable filter, vacuum or rinse it. Let it dry before you replace it.
If it is a disposable filter, put your new filters in place of your old ones. Air filters come in different sizes, so make sure you buy the right kind before beginning this process. Once you replace the access panel, you are ready to use your HVAC unit again.
If air filters get too dirty, they can not function properly. Your house won’t cool down and you will spend more money on energy costs. This is why it is important to stay on top of air filter maintenance.
If you have further questions about how this process should be done, reach out to our team. An expert can help you find the right size and brand of air filters for your unit.
Check the Drainage Hole
Sometimes AC systems experience clogs in their drainage pipes. There is a simple way to tell if you have this problem.
Go to the bottom of your unit and pull out the drainage tray. If there is any standing water in the tray, it is likely that you have a clog in the drainage pipe. You should call a professional to help you with this issue before you begin using your AC system for the season.
You should practice this spring maintenance at least one month before you start using your AC regularly in the hot summer months.
Get your Air Ducts Cleaned
Your air ducts are passages through your walls and floor that carry air from your HVAC system. Your HVAC unit blows hot or cool air and it travels through the ducts and into the rooms of your house through grates.
If those grates or the ducts behind them get dirty, your HVAC system can not work at maximum efficiency. Dust, grime, and other air pollutants tend to collect in the ducts. If too much of it builds up, it can obstruct airflow, causing your HVAC system to work harder than necessary.
The problem is, you cannot see your air ducts since they are inside your walls. So watch out for the telltale signs that your air ducts may be clogged:
- There is a lot of dust on the duct grates
- You smell musty burning dust when you turn your HVAC unit on
- There is mold growing by the grate or in strange spots around the house
- Your energy bill is higher than it should be
- Your allergies are acting up, or you have a respiratory illness that won’t go away
If you are noticing any of the above “symptoms,” it could be a sign that your air ducts need to be cleaned. Call a professional for help. Otherwise, experts recommend that you get your air ducts cleaned every 10 years. You may also want to look for signs that you might need an air duct replacement as well.
Keep Doors and Windows Shut
Keeping your doors shut in the spring is a good way to practice preventative maintenance for your HVAC system. On nice days, it can be tempting to open your doors and windows to the outside air. But if at all possible, you should avoid it in the spring.
In the spring months, everything is blooming. The air is full of pollen, which is not good for your HVAC system. But if you let that airborne pollen into your home, chances are it will end up in your HVAC system.
If that happens, you may start to experience some of the issues mentioned above. Particularly, pollen may clog your air filters or air ducts.
Being conscientious of high levels of pollen is a good way to take care of your HVAC system long-term. You can prevent clogs and damages just by keeping your windows and doors shut in the spring.
Besides, avoiding pollen isn’t just good for your HVAC system. If you experience itchy eyes or a runny nose in the spring, you likely have allergies. If you keep your doors and windows shut, you will have an easier time managing those symptoms in the spring.
This maintenance strategy is important even if you don’t have allergies. That is because keeping airborne particles out of the air is better for your indoor air quality. Make sure the only thing you are breathing is air.
Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
If you are trying to think of ways to significantly benefit your HVAC system, upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat may be your best move.
Old HVAC systems are not as efficient at managing the temperature within your home. Programmable systems allow you to discern the temperature down to a degree. Often, you can choose which rooms in your house you want to heat or cool.
Programmable thermostats often allow you to set timers to plan energy usage in your house effectively.
This allows you to be more efficient with the way you expend energy in your home. Ultimately, efficiency leads to fewer problems and easier maintenance.
Many smart thermostats even allow you to control them remotely. Has it ever happened where you leave the house and can’t remember if you turned the AC off? With many smart thermostats, you can double-check on your phone!
Spring is a great time to make this change and give your home the gift of a more efficient HVAC system. Visit our smart home thermostat page to learn more about what this change could look like for you and your family.
Check Your House for Leaks
As we have said earlier, ensuring HVAC efficiency is one of the best ways to prevent future issues. You never want your HVAC system to work harder than it has to. And it will if you have air leaks in your house.
Air leaks are more common than you would think. Fortunately, homeowners can locate them easily by looking in the right places.
Doors and windows are the main culprits of air leaks. Place your hand about an inch from your windowpane or door frame and slowly move it around the perimeter. If you feel any air from the outside, make a note of it.
The best time to do this is at night or in the early morning when there is likely the starkest difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature. This will help you locate even the smallest leaks.
Some leaks you can fix easily on your own. For example, it is easy to caulk around your windows to close up air leaks. For more significant or difficult air leaks, you should consult a professional.
Ultimately, closing these air leaks helps your HVAC system work efficiently. You may even notice that your energy bills go down a little!
Schedule a Spring HVAC Maintenance Check-Up
Finally, what is the best thing you can do in the spring for your HVAC unit? Schedule a routine maintenance inspection, of course.
Calling out a professional to look at your HVAC system and make sure that it is in good shape is a smart maintenance move for all homeowners. Otherwise, it’s hard to know if your unit is ready to take on the heat of summer. Regular HVAC maintenance is a great way to avoid problems that can accumulate over time.
Professionals can look at your HVAC unit and determine if there are any imminent issues that you hadn’t noticed. Plus, they can help you clean your unit and answer any maintenance questions you may have. This will make you a better home technician in the future.
If you have any concerns about your HVAC unit, or just want to make sure it is ready for the spring, reach out to our team. We can help you prepare your HVAC system for the upcoming season.
Spring HVAC Maintenance Can Ensure a Cool Summer
If you want to guarantee a comfortable summer, use these spring months to prepare your HVAC system. Spring HVAC maintenance is the best way to run your system efficiently and ensure the long-term upkeep of your unit. Ultimately, maintenance can make your system more efficient and save you money!
If you are a homeowner, reach out to our team at Hiller. We can help you prepare your HVAC system for the hot months ahead. Our expert staff can answer any of your questions about maintenance, HVAC installation, and more.