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Keep Your Air Conditioning and Heating System Running Smoothly

Regardless of what climate you live in, keeping your air conditioning and heating system running smoothly is critical. As with anything that contains moving parts, maintenance is very important. Imagine if you never changed the oil and oil filter in your car, things wouldn’t go well for long. Although your HVAC system doesn’t have oil to change like your car, there are many parts and components that will not last forever and keeping them in good condition is key to not having a system failure when you really need it working smoothly, like on a 100 degree day in the south or a sub-zero winter day in the north.

How to Keep Your Air Conditioning and Heating System Running Smoothly

Regardless of what climate you live in, keeping your air conditioning and heating system running smoothly is critical. As with anything that contains moving parts, maintenance is very important. Imagine if you never changed the oil and oil filter in your car, things wouldn’t go well for long. Although your HVAC system doesn’t have oil to change like your car, there are many parts and components that will not last forever and keeping them in good condition is key to not having a system failure when you really need it working smoothly, like on a 100 degree day in the south or a sub-zero winter day in the north.

We’ll go over some of the easier tasks you can do yourself. We’ll also go over some that may require the use of a professional service company to complete.


Easier, Do-It-Yourself Type Tasks

Changing Your Air Filter

One of the easiest and most important things you can do to keep your system running smoothly is to change your air filter regularly. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is easy to forget until it stops your system from working. We find it best to add a reminder to my phone for this or you can check it when you pay your mortgage or rent monthly. The more your system runs in the hotter and/or colder months, the more often the air filter will need to be changed. We have an article dedicated to this topic and you can read it the link below.

Keeping your HVAC System in good condition can save you a lot!

Keeping the Drain Line Cleared

Drain lines can be a big problem if they get clogged. Most systems have a drain safety switch to turn the system off if the drain line gets clogged, but some don’t. This can stop your system from working and create a costly service call. It can also cause a lot of water damage if the system doesn’t shut off. You can help avoid this by pouring a cup of vinegar or a store-bought AC Line cleaner into the drain line every couple of months.

Keep the Coils Clean

HVAC systems have two coils, one inside and one outside. The outside coil and unit should be kept free of any grass or shrubs growing around it. Keeping these trimmed to at least 12 inches away is a good rule of thumb. You can clean the outdoor coil if you wish but be careful as it is delicate and should be rinsed out with a gentle stream of water from the inside of the coil out. This will require removing the top of the unit after you disconnect the power for safety. The indoor coil is a bit trickier. This coil is not easy to access and should be cleaned by a professional. To keep this coil clean and avoid having it cleaned, you should replace your air filter often. When the filter gets too dirty, it will start to drawl air and dirt around the outside and this dirt collects on the indoor coil.

Keep the Units Clean

It’s a good idea to wipe down the indoor and outdoor units at least once a year. This will keep dirt and grime from building up on the outside. This build-up can cause premature deterioration of the metal and cause rust. It can be avoided by just keeping the units clean.


More Difficult Tasks Requiring a Professional

Indoor Coil Cleaning

As mentioned above, the indoor coil is difficult to access and should be handled by a professional. You can help avoid this costly process by keeping your air filter changed frequently.

Dirty Blower Wheels

There is a blower wheel inside the indoor unit that moves the air through the system and your home. If this gets dirty it can greatly reduce the amount of air it can move. A layer of dust the thickness of a piece of paper can reduce the airflow by more than 20%. This process should be performed by a professional and involves removing the blower housing, removing the motor from the housing, and then removing the blower wheel so it can be cleaned. This is also a costly repair that can be avoided by changing your air filter frequently to not let dirt and dust bypass the filter and collect on the coil and blower wheel.

Duct Cleaning

Having you HVAC ducts cleaned is something that is debatable. Many companies offer this service, and it can be expensive. The problem is, there are some types of ducts that should not be cleaned with a brush, which is how many companies accomplish this process. Many modern duct systems are constructed of flex-duct and fiberglass duct board. Fiberglass duct board can be easily damaged by this process and flexible duct can become fragile with age. From our experience, if the ducts are a little dirty but nothing is being blown out of the grilles or vents than it is probably there to stay and cleaning is not required and may only make the problem worse.

As this list is not exhaustive, it is a good starting point to help you keep your HVAC system running smoothly and hopefully help you avoid a costly service call.

Written by Jason H.