A central HVAC is an expensive system that you want to protect with regular maintenance and quick repairs. Cleaning the equipment is extremely important for a long life and a reduced risk of breakdowns. When HVAC equipment gets dirty, the equipment can burn out or fail, and then you have to contend with expensive repairs you could have avoided. Here's a look at the main parts of an HVAC system and how they should be maintained.
A thermostat can collect dust over time, so it's a good idea to take the cover off and gently blow the dust out, especially if the thermostat doesn't seem to be working right. In addition, there are wires that lead from the thermostat to your furnace and AC, and if those are gnawed by a mouse or otherwise damaged, they should be replaced promptly before they cause a problem with your equipment.
The Ducts And Register Grilles
Your ducts may not need much maintenance if they don't collect dust or get contaminated by rodents. If you look in the ducts and see mats of dust, have the ducts cleaned by a professional who can vacuum out the dust without blowing it around your house. The ends of the ducts and the register grilles should be cleaned once or twice a year to keep them clean.
The Air Conditioner Condenser
The condenser unit is outdoors, so it may get filled with grass clippings, decaying leaves, or even mouse nests. Cleaning the condenser is an important spring maintenance duty. You can hire an AC maintenance company to clean the condenser inside and out. They'll also clean parts that need it and service the contactor, wiring, capacitor, fan, and compressor as needed.
This is where the condenser coil is located, and the technician makes sure it is clean so the refrigerant can cool off as it flows through. Sometimes the refrigerant coil can get so dirty that it needs to be scrubbed with a brush and coil cleaning foam.
The furnace doubles as an air handler for the air conditioner, so it does a lot of work over the year. You'll want to have your furnace cleaned by a professional in the fall before cold weather arrives. This is especially important for a gas furnace since byproducts of combustion can build up around the burners. You'll also want the technician to check all the parts in the combustion area to make sure nothing needs to be repaired. This is important so you don't have to worry about carbon monoxide leaks. This is also a good time to change the battery in your carbon monoxide alarm.
Another important part of the air handler that needs to be kept clean is the blower. It often gets coated in dust, and it won't spin well unless it's kept clean. That affects how well your HVAC works. In addition, the evaporator coils are in the air handler, and it's essential these are clean or they may ice over.
Your HVAC technician can clean and maintain most of your equipment, but it's up to you to keep the filter changed. The filter is often in the air handler, but it might be in the return air duct instead. Ask your technician where it is if you don't know since you should be changing it every month or two when your HVAC is in operation.