It’s that time of year again. Spring is about to…well, it’s about to spring upon us, bringing warmer temperatures, better weather, and allergies; all the things we look forward to every year. We all look forward to having an air conditioning system that will be able to keep up with the soon-to-arrive heat and humidity that South Texas is famous for.
Our HVAC systems in Houston can take a much-needed break when the summer ends in our city. After months of battling the scorching 100-degree temperatures and near 100% humidity every day and night, they certainly deserve it. Thank your HVAC system for all that it does by treating it to a “day at the spa.” Many of the things required to keep your heating and air conditioning units running at peak performance and efficiency can be done by a handy homeowner in a short amount of time. Following this list’s steps will help keep your home’s HVAC system happier, and it will live a long, productive life.
REPLACE YOUR AIR FILTERS
Dirty air filters can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 30%, causing your energy bills to go up and the lifespan of your system to decline. Most people think that their HVAC system draws most of the air it circulates from outside the home, but consider that myth busted. The air drawn into your heater or air conditioning unit comes from inside the house and then recirculated after being heated or cooled.
The benefit of recirculating air that is already in the home is that by passing the same air across filters multiple times, you can reduce the number of airborne irritants to negligible levels. The actual purity of the air in your home depends entirely on the condition of the air filters in your HVAC system. Most HVAC system manufacturers recommend replacing air filters at least every three months, even more frequently if you have pets or smokers in the house. Once filters are clogged with debris, they become a burden to the rest of the HVAC system, causing it to work harder for longer intervals.
Depending on your system’s design, you may have several small filters behind wall registers or one large filter in the air handler. Regardless of their location, each filter is easily accessed, easy to replace, and inexpensive.
WIPE DOWN THE VENTS
If it’s been a while since you replaced your air filters, or if it’s the first time you’re doing it, there may be an accumulation of dust on and inside the vent. Start by wiping down the air vents around the house, especially the central intake vent, as these tend to be the dustiest. You may need to use a wet rag or a paper towel with some type of cleaning solution, as moist dust can be a little sticky.
LISTEN TO YOUR HVAC SYSTEM!
As HVAC systems get older, moving parts start to suffer from the effects of wear and tear. As installed lubricants dry up, fan motors’ bearings begin to make a high-pitched noise when the AC is running. Rattling sounds can be caused by ductwork that starts to come apart, or by other parts, like internal nuts and bolts that have come loose as a result of age. Get to know the sounds of your HVAC system, and pay attention to them; they may have a lot to tell you about its condition.
Reasons to Have a Spring Tune-Up on Your HVAC System
To Improve Efficiency: Did you know that one-half of your total cost for utilities every month comes from cooling and heating your home? Since just about all current HVAC systems operate using electricity to power the air conditioner and natural gas for the furnace, it’s essential to keep your home comfort systems healthy.
To Extend the Life of Your System: A typical residential HVAC system has a lifespan of between twelve and fifteen years, but without regular maintenance, it can fall far short of that goal. Dirty air filters make it more difficult for your system to draw air inside itself, causing it to operate for more extended periods.
Keeping up on one’s HVAC system maintenance is a great way to save money, and it gives the homeowner a sense of personal accomplishment. From time to time, it is still important to bring in a professional HVAC technician to inspect the entire system, correct refrigerant levels, clean electrical contacts, and make any adjustments.
To Detect Minor Issues Before They Become Major Problems: Most serious HVAC problems start as a minor annoyance, like noisy fan motors that can eventually seize up, causing your air conditioner to fail. Our heating and air conditioning systems are surprisingly good about letting us know when something is wrong. Any noticeable change in the performance of your furnace or air conditioner requires prompt, professional attention. Ignoring the symptoms of an impending HVAC failure, in the interest of saving a few dollars now, can end up costing you thousands more down the road.
You can do in-between annual air conditioning maintenance in Houston services to check the filters each month and replace them if they start to look dirty. Keep an eye on the area around your AC unit’s drainage pan, making sure to remove any weeds or other debris that could block the drain holes of the pan.
If you notice a sudden change in either performance or efficiency from your AC system, call Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning today to schedule an air conditioning tune-up service call.