Everyone knows that regular maintenance is the best way to extend the service life of an HVAC system. It’s tempting to tackle this maintenance yourself if you’re mechanically inclined, but that’s not a wise decision. There are some tasks you should feel free to do yourself, but other things are simply too difficult or dangerous. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – try to do on your own.
Do Keep It Clean
Keeping your HVAC system clean and free of obstructions is easily the most important maintenance task you can complete. First and foremost, be sure to clean or change your air filters at least once every three months. During the steamy heat of summer in Sarasota, Florida, it may be necessary to check once every month. According to the Department of Energy, simply maintaining a clean air filter can boost efficiency by up to 15 percent.
It’s also important to clean your system’s other components. Regularly check your outdoor unit and clear away any debris or vegetation. It’s best to leave at least two feet of clearance around the unit for optimal airflow. You can also use a hose to gently clean dirt from the fins. Finally, you can clean your condensate line and clear away any blockages. The condensate line is typically a section of PVC pipe that runs from the air handler and exits your home near the outdoor unit. When your air conditioning is on, this PVC pipe should be dripping water. Pour a quarter of a cup of vinegar into the line where it originate by the air handler (there should be an access there). Let it sit for about 30 minutes before flushing with fresh water. These cleaning steps can be taken at any time, but it’s best to complete them in the spring and fall. This ensures that your system is ready for the added stress of the summer and winter months. If you’re not comfortable completing this step, your service technician will check it during a service call.
Don’t Go Near Refrigerant
Refrigerant is the stuff that makes your entire cooling system work. Unfortunately, it’s also potentially hazardous to your health. Refrigerant can cause chemical burns, frostbite, headache, dizziness, nausea and irritation to the eyes, ears and respiratory system. If you suspect you may have a refrigerant issue, don’t attempt any repairs yourself. Professionals are equipped to handle refrigerant and can safely check levels and repair leaks during a routine maintenance visit.
Don’t Attempt Mechanical Repairs
Your HVAC system is packed full of sensitive electronics and equipment, and a variety of other hazards. Even if you know your way around mechanical systems, trying to make your own repairs is a dangerous proposition. It can also lead to lasting damage that may shorten the lifespan of your system and necessitate costly repairs.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to leave routine HVAC maintenance to the professionals. A professional maintenance visit features a comprehensive inspection and maintenance checklist that ensures your system always performs at its best. This includes air handler, compressor, blower motor and heat pump maintenance. It also includes an inspection of all electrical connections, refrigerant systems and heating components. Heat pump maintenance also includes lubrication to ensure that your system is as friction-free as possible.
An HVAC system is a major investment. The best way to protect that investment is to keep your system well-maintained and operating at peak efficiency. Now that you know which maintenance tasks you can perform, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. For everything else, it’s best to leave it in the hands of the pros. To find out more about the benefits of regular maintenance, explore Climatic Conditioning Co.’s maintenance plans or call (941) 758-3080.