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Spring and Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Home’s HVAC System

Nearly half of an average household’s energy expense can be directly tied to costs associated with either heating or cooling the home and if your HVAC system isn't running efficiently, those costs only go up. Fortunately, an expensive repair bill is not always required to ensure that your HVAC system is running at peak performance. There are plenty of things any homeowner can do to make sure the HVAC system is well maintained with just a little regular preventative maintenance.

Change the furnace filter. This is an easy thing to do and can have a big impact on the health of your HVAC system. Maintaining a clean air filter can reduce your energy usage because it helps your system run more efficiently. If your system has a temporary filter, replace it every month. Use a marker to write the date on the filter to help you keep tabs on when it is time to replace it again. If your system uses a permanent filter, take it out and rinse it off on a monthly basis.

Clear out the drainage hole. Air conditioners usually have a drainage hole at the base of the unit, located beneath the evaporator fins. This hole must be kept clear of debris in order for your air conditioner to work effectively. Because the hole may be too small for you to clean out with your hand or a rag, try a paper clip or small piece of wire instead.

Dry out your dehumidifier. A Dehumidifier can make a huge difference as you try to maintain a comfortable environment in your home. To make sure your home’s humidifier is working at maximum capacity, remove the outer casing and allow the system to dry out. Once it is dry, vacuum the unit to remove excess dirt and debris before putting it back together.

Remove obstacles around the exterior portion of your HVAC system. Even though the AC condenser is located outside, it should still be protected, to some degree, from the elements. Inspect the outside unit several times a month and remove any loose vegetation or debris. Shrubbery and other foliage surrounding your air conditioner should be kept two feet away from the unit. This clear zone allows the condenser to pull in the air it needs to control the temperature in your home.

Clean bathroom fans. Bathroom fans are a feature we take for granted but they work hard all year. Spring is the perfect time to make sure they are working as efficiently as possible. Remove the covers from your fans and then wash them with soap and water. With the covers are off, use a toothbrush to clean the fan blades - just make sure the power is off first - then put the cover back in place.

Install a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to program your home’s temperature settings so the environment is comfortable when you are home but the system is not working as hard when you are away. The smart system also communicates with you to provide you with ways of saving more energy and lowering your monthly bill.

Schedule a tune-up. Once you’ve accomplished the tasks within your ability level, it’s time to bring in the experts. A local HVAC professional will be able to take a more detailed look at your system and identify issues you may have missed.

Here is an idea of what an HVAC technician will work on during an AC tune-up:

Test refrigerant levels.

Water wash the condenser coil for efficiency.

Inspect the capacitor for leakage and wear.

Inspect and/or lubricate the condenser fan motor.

Record the amperage draw of the compressor.

Inspect and tighten all electrical connections.

Inspect the service valve for leakage.

Inspect the indoor evaporator coil.

Inspect the blower assembly.

Calibrate the thermostat.

Flush the condensate drain.

Evaluate air filters.

Follow the technician around during his inspection and ask any questions that come to mind. You may gain some insights that will be helpful in your ongoing efforts to reduce your energy usage and total bill.

Residents in the Chicago North Shore area have trusted GVs Heating and Cooling for all of their HVAC needs for almost 30 years. Rated an “A+” organization through the Better Business Bureau, GV’s Heating and Cooling is proud of their history of quick estimates, competitive pricing, attention to detail, and prompt availability. GV’s offers annual maintenance service to help you be proactive in finding problems early and with emergency service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, GV’s Heating and Cooling is always available to help you keep your system running. For questions about your HVAC system, to schedule maintenance, or discuss the installation of a new system, contact the experts at GV’s Heating and Cooling.