Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is responsible for maintaining comfortable and safe climatic conditions in your home. They require a lot of energy and are one of the most expensive appliances in the home. Thus, continuous maintenance is imperative to prolong the life of your HVAC unit and help it operate as efficiently as possible.

• The most important maintenance for forced air heating and air conditioning is to change the air filters frequently. Change them once a month, particularly when the heating or air conditioning systems are in heavy use.

• Make sure all areas are free of dirt and blockage. Some key areas to inspect include:

a. Ensure your outside condenser is free of leaves and debris.
b. Keep all air vents open because closing vents can create duct work problems.
c. Inspect the condensate drain in your central air, furnace, and/or heat pump. Plugged condensate drain pans/lines can cause water damage.
d. Periodically vacuum out ducts.

• Keep your outside condenser coil and evaporator coil clean. When these are dirty they can increase your unit’s energy usage. A dirty condenser coil is one of the most common causes of HVAC system failure and it leads to costly repairs.

• Tighten all electrical connections and make sure the voltage and current on motors is correct.

• Keep moving parts lubricated, especially the fan and motor bearings.

• Check for cracks in the heat exchanger. Cracks are very dangerous because they can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the home.

• Keep the area around your furnace clear of clutter. There are minimum clearances for combustible materials posted on a sticker on your furnace. Be sure to read this carefully and abide by its directions.

• For forced hot water systems with radiators, it is important to bleed your system of air every year. Air gets trapped inside the radiator and can reduce its ability to heat effectively. This will make it more efficient and quiet. Be sure to turn off your central heating system before you begin.

• Roughly once a year, it is a good idea to schedule professional maintenance. The best time to do this is during the beginning of the heating or cooling season. This will give you more specialized attention and flexibility in appointment scheduling.

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