Nobody’s perfect when it comes to preventative maintenance at home, and that includes taking proper preventative HVAC measures. However, these five mistakes could actually reduce the life of your HVAC system and cost you a significant amount in energy bills over time.
Probably the biggest and most common mistake homeowners make as part of preventative HVAC maintenance is not changing filters as often as they should. Dirty filters restrict airflow, which causes your system to work harder. An HVAC system sucks air in from the home through the filter, much like a person sucks a milkshake through a straw. Just like a milkshake that is too thick, if the air coming through the filter is thick with dirt, the HVAC system must draw harder to move the air through. Picture your system with its cheeks drawn in trying to draw that air in and you will begin to understand the importance of changing your filter regularly. Check the filter at least once a month; if it’s dirty, replace it.
Many people decide to close vents as part of preventative HVAC maintenance in an effort to save money. This is especially true for rooms that are not used often, like a guest room. The fact is that blocking or closing vents restricts airflow, and, once again, your HVAC system’s cheeks are drawn in tight in an effort to bring air in and blow it out. Keep vents open and unblocked so that airflow is unrestricted throughout your home.
Furnaces are often found in places where people store things, such as Christmas decorations, camping gear, or those hand-me-down prom gowns from the 1970s that you somehow think your daughter might want to wear. Unfortunately, many homeowners store these items too close to the furnace, creating a fire hazard. As part of your regular preventive HVAC measures, ensure that your furnace is clear of all debris, stored items, and boxes.
Let’s face it – air conditioning units outside your home are not exactly attractive. They are big, bulky boxes that just don’t always fit into your landscaping design. However, surrounding the unit with bushes and shrubbery restricts airflow into and out of the unit. In addition, leaves that fall from the plants can clog the unit, reducing life expectancy. As part of your preventative HVAC process, keep bushes and shrubs away from the outside unit. If they are already planted there, trim them back as far as possible to keep the unit operating properly.
Prevention Better than Reaction
Another preventative HVAC maintenance mistake homeowners make is calling an HVAC technician only when there is a problem. The best advice is to have your HVAC system checked twice per year to keep it running safely, reliably, and efficiently. The cost of semiannual visits is much less than emergency calls in the middle of the night when the system stops working.