HVAC Air Filters

6 HVAC Maintenance & Efficiency Tips

A functioning HVAC system can be essential to your residents’ comfort, and it’s important for prolonging the state of your system. Over time, an HVAC system is prone to deterioration without the appropriate care. You can prolong your HVAC system’s lifespan by following the maintenance and efficiency tips below.

Change Your Air Filter At Least Once Every Three Months

dirty air filter
Image by TheLugash licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Your HVAC system has an air filter preventing impurities like dirt and debris from entering the ventilation system. Many homeowners appreciate their air filter’s abilities for health reasons. While it’s true that an air filter can prevent irritants from entering the home’s air, this essential component also preserves the life of your system. With a clean air filter, your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to circulate air throughout your home.

If you prefer to save some money, you can get what professionals consider call a low-grade filter. These air filters, which have ratings between Grade 1 and Grade 4, don’t improve air quality but keep large particles out of your system and protect it from damage. As you progress, you can access improved air quality and additional protection for your HVAC system. For example, filters between Grades 5 and 13 provide medium efficiency and can remove smaller particles.

For optimal air quality and protection for your HVAC system, you can get a filter between Grade 14 and Grade 16. These filters can remove small particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. If you’re unsure of what grade of air filter to get, you can discuss it with your local HVAC technician. They’ll be able to recommend the right size for your needs.

It’s a good idea to check your air filter at least once a month. You can do so if it needs premature replacement during your monthly checkup. Otherwise, you can wait up to three months to replace your air filter. Doing so can decrease your maintenance costs, prevent system failure, and increase your system’s lifespan.

Be aware of any particular circumstances that may require you to change your air filter more often. For example, you may have to change your filter more frequently than every three months if you have pets. You may also have to change your air filter more often if you have more people living in your house than usual or if you’ve recently had renovations in your home that required construction.

Take Advantage of Fans

Even if your HVAC system is functioning properly, you should consider turning on your fans whenever possible. Fans can help circulate the air in your home and ensure all areas receive even heating and cooling. Make sure to change the direction of your fan depending on the time of year to help maximize your HVAC’s efficiency. During the summer, you can set all the fans in your home to turn counterclockwise. When winter comes around, you can change the turning direction to clockwise.

Update Your Home’s Insulation

Insulating your home can work wonders for increasing your HVAC system’s efficiency. When you insulate your home, you minimize the amount of cold air that escapes during the summer. Similarly, you can stop warm air from leaking out of your home during the winter. Some important areas you should consider insulating include basement walls, unheated attics, and floors above vented crawl spaces.

Clean Accumulated Debris Around Your HVAC Unit

Because your HVAC unit likely is located outside, it’s inevitable that debris will build around it. Leaves, grass clippings, twigs, branches, and other natural debris can block the unit and obstruct the coils and filter. These obstructions can limit the airflow, decrease your system’s capacity, and make your system work harder to cool or heat your home.

You can easily address this problem by clearing the debris around your filter. Be sure to turn off your unit before you clean it to make the task safer. Consider wearing gloves and protective eyewear when you clean your unit’s outside to protect yourself from projectile objects.

Begin by removing all large objects away by hand. For example, you can pick up severed tree branches and put them in a pile away from the unit. Then, you can use a water hose and an attached sprayer to spray your unit down and remove built-up pollen, grass clippings, and other smaller debris. You may also apply a coil cleaner on your unit’s coils to remove dirt and prevent further oxidation.

It’s also a good idea to do some landscaping around your unit. Trim all plants and shrubs near your HVAC unit so they don’t interfere with it. Take a few minutes to clean up around your HVAC unit at least once a week so you don’t fall behind on this important task.

Update Your System

If you live in an older home and haven’t yet replaced your HVAC system, it might be time for you to make this investment. Most HVAC systems can last between 15 and 25 years, though the lifespan of your unit will depend on its size and how frequently you use it. If you’re not sure whether it’d be beneficial to install a new HVAC unit, you can contact our technicians today. They’ll perform a thorough assessment to help you determine the best route.

If you’ve installed a new system in the past couple of years, you can consider only replacing the thermostat. You can upgrade to a digital thermostat that lets you turn the unit on and off and regulate your home’s temperature even while you’re away from your house. They even come with timed settings so you can automate your system’s operation.

Be Mindful of When You Run Your Appliances

Appliances like ovens and dryers can create additional heat in the home. If possible, try to finish all of your cooking or dry all your laundry early in the morning or late at night. It’s less warm outside during these times, so your HVAC unit won’t have to work as hard to counteract the extra heat in your home.While these are tips you can follow on your own, one of the most beneficial things you can do to increase HVAC efficiency is to schedule regular service. Contact our team at Dahme Mechanical Industries to get on our maintenance schedule, and we’ll help you get optimal use of your HVAC system.