Your HVAC system's winter maintenance guide

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Most HVAC system technicians will tell you that your unit needs a proper service maintenance routine....

Most HVAC system technicians will tell you that your unit needs a proper service maintenance routine. Generally, this means twice a year: once in the spring/summer and once in the fall/winter. There are specific things that should be checked and done prior to those seasons when the HVAC unit will be working harder to make the house cooler or warmer. Typically, during the spring and fall, the unit is not taxing itself with overuse. The better your heating and cooling system is running, the less energy it will use. This also helps keep your utility bills lower and keeps more money in your pocket.

General HVAC maintenance

The items listed here are for the general unit and are not specific to helping the heating furnace or the air conditioning. They are items that will be done no matter if you have a pump that heats and cools or one that just does heating or cooling.

  • Lubricate all moving parts. If they are dirty or dry, they can increase the energy that the unit is using. Free moving parts also help keep the unit safe for use.
  • Check thermostat settings. There are optimum temperatures that the unit should be set at, which your HVAC technician will check.
  • Tighten electrical connections, check controls and measure current and voltage. This helps ensure the safety of the unit while in operation. Any time there are loose connections the unit may short out or function incorrectly, which damages the unit and lowers its life expectancy.
  • Inspect the condensate drain. If this is not free-flowing, there can be water damage and high humidity. Both of these cause damage to the home.

Air conditioning maintenance

There are some maintenance features that take care of the air conditioning aspect of your HVAC unit. These are maintenance items that are checked only if you have an air conditioning unit on your pump. These include the following:

  • A thorough check of the refrigerant levels on the air conditioner. They may be overcharged or undercharged and need adjusting. Being too low or too full are both signs of trouble for a unit and can reduce the longevity of the system.
  • Clean the evaporator and the condenser air conditioning coils. When these are dirty, the entire system will run longer than it should, eating up energy costs and creating more work for the unit.
  • Clean and adjust the blower components. When there are issues with airflow, efficiency of the HVAC unit can go down 15 percent.

Heating maintenance

These items on the maintenance checklist all deal with the heating furnace of your HVAC unit. They are only part of the service call if you have a heating furnace on your pump.

  • Check the burner combustion, gas pressure, heat exchanger and the oil or gas connections. Whenever these items are dirty, damaged or not functioning correctly, there can be a safety issue and improper operation of the unit.

Maximum efficiency tips

These are things you can do to help lower energy costs and maximize the life of your HVAC unit. Most are items that help with energy conservation, meaning that you will not have to use the unit as often or as long to keep your home warm or cool. These efficiency tips include the following:

  • Check for leaks in the home. The main culprits for lost air include a basement, attic and crawlspace, as well as windows and doors. By sealing these leaks, you are keeping your home better insulated, allowing your HVAC system to not work as hard.
  • Have your thermostat set at the best temperature for energy efficiency. In the winter, this is 60 degrees Fahrenheit while asleep and 68 degrees Fahrenheit while awake.
  • Furnace and air filters should always be replaced monthly. If you cannot afford this option, do a thorough monthly cleaning and replace them every three months.
  • Use insulation on the water tank and pipes.
  • Decrease the hot water heater temperature. By making it 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you are saving energy. Each 10 degrees that your hot water heater is lowered can save roughly 3 percent to 5 percent off your energy bills.

Atlanta-based HVAC technicians are knowledgeable about the maintenance that your system may or may not need. They are up-to-date on the latest units available and the cutting edge of HVAC technology. Give them a call whenever you need them to service your home's heating and air conditioning unit, or if you just have questions in regard to what is the best system for your family.

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