The weeks before the formal arrival of spring are the perfect time to start reviewing the home HVAC system and identifying any problem areas.
Robert Mafes, owner of Global Cooling LLC and HVAC expert, advises that this allows a solid cushion of time to complete any routine maintenance tasks and also to contact service personnel if additional intervention is required.
Consulting a professional
Before attempting any HVAC maintenance independently, it's important to note only a licensed technician should service the sealed refrigeration system or handle refrigerant. If a leak is observed or there seems to be a cooling problem routine care doesn't correct, it's time to contact the pros. Before starting any cleaning and maintenance project, always visit the circuit breaker box for the home and turn off all power to the HVAC system to prevent injuries.
Robert Mafes tips for DIY HVAC maintenance
The single most important thing a homeowner can do to promote the long-term health of their unit is to keep the air filter changed based on best service practices for the unit and filters, Robert Mafes reports. Always change the filter regularly and identify any sources contributing to more rapid clogging to determine if they can be remediated elsewhere in the home. Common examples include using air purifiers for items like pet hair.
Cleaning the coil
Over winter, the air conditioner coil can collect dust and other debris that may impede running or contribute to an added smell when the unit is first utilized in the summer. These coils are located in the larger condenser unit and, along with the fan, will most likely accumulate leaves and other plant matter over the winter if the unit stays uncovered.
Robert Mafes advises pipes or tubing connect the outdoor condenser with the indoor unit. Periodically review these lines to insure protective insulation is in tact. Due to outdoor exposure, various elements can impact the integrity of the insulation over time. They can easily be wrapped again with an approved product, such as foam insulation sleeves, if there is damage.
After cleaning, it's time to revisit the circuit box and restore power. Set a lower temperature and gauge how well the cooling system is functioning. Look for any leaks across the system and assess that everything sounds and looks like it's operating smoothly in addition to checking the temperature. If there is an additional problem, contact an HVAC professional for assistance.