There are few things more annoying than a malfunctioning heating and/or cooling system. Once you have become accustomed to comfort, going without it becomes close to intolerable.
But what do you do when the worst actually does happen, and your HVAC system stops running at full capacity or just completely stops?
You have several options. The first and most proactive step is to find a heating and cooling specialist and sign a contract that will ensure consistent HVAC maintenance. Consistent HVAC maintenance will head off any emerging problems and keep your unit running at peak efficiency for as long as possible.
There are other, do-it-yourself options that you may attempt, however. Some simple, some more complex. Know that it requires some research, patience and willingness to take a risk on your part.
There are several simple steps to take in basic maintenance.
- Clean or replace your filters
This should always be your first step. Clogged filters most certainly affect your system’s capacity. The general rule of thumb is to replace your home’s filter every 90 days – every 60 days if you have a pet – and 20-45 days if you have two or more pets or allergy problems. (NOTE: Make sure you check the system and buy the right size of filter for your system.)
- Clean condenser and evaporator coils
Coils can become clogged and freeze over, causing several problems for your HVAC. First, turn off your AC at the thermostat and shut off the electricity to the air handler. Next remove the evaporator coil access panel to access the coils. Using a can of coil cleaner (which can be purchased at any hardware store), spray it directly on to the coils evenly and thoroughly.
- Clean drain lines and pans for proper flow and clear clogs
If this line isn’t properly cleaned it can build up algae and mold, eventually clogging it, thus elevating humidity in your home and presenting musty odors and water damage. To clean the line, first turn off the power to the system at the thermostat and at the circuit breaker. If you have an indoor air handler, locate the condensate pan and check to see if there is standing water in the pan (if so, you have a clog). Remove the moisture. A shop vacuum is a great way to remove the moisture and can also pull any clogs through the drain. Flush the drain with distilled vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then completely flush the pipe and drain with water.
- Replace worn belts in the air handler
The belt on the blower of your furnace or air handler will need replacing occasionally – about every three years. (NOTE: Not all systems use belts, some use direct drive motors.) Turn off the power to your system (at the thermostat and at the circuit breaker) and access the blower housing (most are located near the bottom of the unit, near the filter rack). Do not just pull the old belt off the system; it can damage the shaft or motor if it stretched. Use a marker to mark the location of the motor mount so it can be set to its original position. Carefully loosen the mounting bolts of the motor. Once the belt has enough slack, pull it off the smaller pulley motor and then the larger motor pulley. (While you’re there clean any dirt or debris from the pulleys and blower housing. Install the new belt on to the smaller pulley first. Once in place the belt should be taut but also yield about one-half inch when pushed down upon. Tighten the bolts to achieve proper tension. Once you reset the thermostat, you’ll know by sound whether the belt is working properly.
- Inspect ducts for mold, dust, and debris
Look at the air handler, return and supply vents and any visible areas of the ductwork for evidence of leaks, dirt, debris or visible mold. Test kits are also available for purchase at hardware stores and online.
If you would rather not take on all these steps of HVAC maintenance on your own, please do not hesitate to call the professionals at Conditioned Air Systems.
Our NATE-certified technicians will ensure that your heating and cooling system runs at peak capacity and efficiency. And they will do so at regular intervals, to help keep you worry free. We do all this with both timeliness and a commitment to service that you will not forget. We also offer a 24/7 service line for those issues that occur outside normal business hours.
Contact Conditioned Air Systems today at 770-536-7509 and let us take care of your HVAC maintenance today.