Clean your HVAC unit with this quick maintenance check.
It’s that time of year again when we start turning up those furnaces and getting cozy inside. A well-maintained, properly functioning HVAC unit is just as essential to a home as LeafGuard® gutters. Checking and cleaning your HVAC unit is a simple, eight step process that anyone can do on their own, and you’ll reap the benefits! A clean HVAC is much more efficient than one that is filled with dust, dirt, or debris. Do this quick maintenance check and you’ll stay toasty warm and save money all winter long.
Image via angieslist.com
Items You’ll Need:
This routine check will take about one hour. You’ll need a portable vacuum (or a vacuum with cleaning tools attached), a dry washcloth, a hose (if you have an outdoor HVAC unit).
- Check thermostat for proper functioning
Before you start working on your HVAC unit, check to make sure that your thermostat is functioning well. Turn the heat up, and let it roll for a while. When you’re satisfied that your thermostat is working, you should turn it to “off” while you work.
- Turn off power to the unit
Even if you just turn off the unit, there is still power running to it. You MUST make sure to turn off the circuit breakers to your HVAC. You should never check your HVAC if there is power running to it. You’ll be checking electrical parts, so be safe about it.
- Check for any loose electrical connections. Check moving parts.
Once the power is off, you should check any electrical connections to make sure that they are not loose. Very gently tug or wiggle any wires to make sure that they are secured. Then, check any moving parts to make sure that they do, in fact, move how they’re intended to move. If you hear any squeaking or have trouble moving them, you should consider having a professional come service your unit.
- Check the condensation drain for clogs.
It’s important to check the condensation drain for clogs. If it doesn’t drain properly, then you can have some real problems with your HVAC’s function. A faulty drain is the number one cause of a rusty unit. Bacteria can also build up if your condensation drain isn’t working. If you notice rust or you suspect it isn’t working, you’ll need to call for service ASAP.
- Check system for dirt and debris.
If you notice dust, dirt, or debris inside your HVAC unit, take a small portable vacuum to suck out that dirt and debris. If your HVAC unit is outdoors, you can actually spray out the fins with a hose to clean the unit. Once you’ve vacuumed you can take your washcloth to make sure you got everything.
- Check the coils for dirt or dust. Vacuum if needed.
The air conditioning coils will be far less effective if they are covered with dust or dirt. Yes, we realize that you will not be using your AC for a long time, but while you’re in there, you might as well clean those, too. Wipe or vacuum those coils off.
- Clean or replace air filters
This is, without a doubt, the most important maintenance to perform on your HVAC. You should clean your air filters every 90 days, and replace them twice a year–once before the cold season, and once before the warm season. Your air filter is the number one way you can increase efficiency of your unit.
- Turn circuits back on when done.
That’s it! After you’ve made sure that everything is working, you can turn the circuits back on and know that your HVAC is clean and running properly. Keeping up with the maintenance of your HVAC system can save you money and keep your home nice and comfortable over the winter.