Basic HVAC Maintenance

To keep your system running smoothly -- and efficiently -- try to keep up with these basic maintenance tasks.

To keep your system running smoothly and efficiently, keep up with these basic maintenance tasks.

Air Filters

Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.

Check for Debris

You should also check your units to determine whether plants or leaves are in the unit. Ants have been known to invade units with colonies and their dirt can affect air-conditioning performance.

Clear Obstructions 

Keep bushes, fences and other obstructions at least three feet away from the air conditioning compressors. Never allow an obstruction -- a tree, deck, or overgrown bush -- to grow above an air conditioning compressor. The hot air that was inside of the house is ejected out the top of the compressor unit, and if it hits an obstruction, hot air is pushed back through the compressor again. The causes the compressor to operate longer. Manufacturers and installers recommend keeping obstructions at least 48 inches above the compressors, but good practice says never have anything overhead. Trimming the bushes and keeping trees and obstructions away costs virtually nothing, but can save operating costs and extend the life of your compressor.

Check the Switches

Before calling a technician, check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system). Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or fuses haven’t blown.

Check for Airflow 

Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.

Check Thermostat Settings 

 If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.


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