A livingroom full of clean, fresh air with a blue and white striped couch.

9 Ways to Maintain Your HVAC System and Keep It Running at Its Best

Most HVAC systems are designed to last for at least a decade. But to keep your system running as efficiently as possible, routine maintenance is essential. Discover nine ways to maintain your HVAC system and keep it operating at its best for years to come.

Replace Air Filters Regularly

A livingroom full of clean, fresh air with a blue and white striped couch.

Image via Unsplash by technobulka

The easiest way to improve your HVAC system’s efficiency is to replace the air filters regularly. For most homeowners, changing the air filter every 60 to 90 days is sufficient. If any of your family members have allergies or if you have multiple pets, replace the filter every 30 to 60 days instead.

Check the measurements on your current air filter to confirm the right sizing for your HVAC system. Look for a filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating between seven and 12. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles it removes, and the greater the efficiency boost it offers.

Program Your Thermostat

Next, set your thermostat for the season ahead. In the summer, set it between 76 to 78 degrees when your family is generally home and awake. When you’re typically out or asleep, set the temperature to increase by 8 to 10 degrees. In the winter, aim for 68 degrees while you’re home and awake. Then dial down the temperature overnight or during the workday.

When you use these guidelines, you’ll ensure that your HVAC system only runs when necessary. That means you can prevent it from overworking and keep it as efficient as possible.

Look for Air Leaks

Your HVAC system is designed to ventilate your home and keep the air fresh around the clock. Yet most homes have tiny cracks and leaks that allow air to seep in or out. If you don’t address these leaks, your system may have to go above and beyond to keep your home comfortable.

To find leaks, turn off the HVAC system and close the windows. Then light some incense and hold it near common leakage sources like the baseboards, the door, the windows, and the outlets. If the smoke drifts toward or away from these spots rather than upward, you’ve found an air leak. To repair it, add weatherstripping to windows and seal small holes with caulk.

Open the Vents

When the temperature in your home feels a little off, you might have a habit of opening or closing vents to increase airflow. Although this method can help you cool down or heat up a room quickly, it can have a negative impact on your HVAC system.

Instead of adjusting the vents constantly, keep them open at all times so your HVAC system can condition your home evenly. If some rooms always seem overly hot or cold, talk with the Dahme Mechanical Industries team about zoning systems. We can set up two or more temperature zones in your home so your HVAC system can run smoothly while keeping you comfortable.

Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector

In most cases, your HVAC system will never produce carbon monoxide. But if your heating system breaks down or begins malfunctioning, there’s a small chance that it could generate this dangerous gas.

Because you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, you need a device to alert you to its presence. Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home and replace the batteries regularly. Test it every six months to make sure it works properly.

Consider Duct Cleaning

Your home’s HVAC system includes much more than the air conditioner or heat pump. The ductwork that transports air throughout your home might be hidden away, but it’s just as important as the more visible components.

To keep your HVAC system running efficiently, you may need periodic duct cleaning. When our team maintains your duct system, we remove dust, dirt, and debris to prevent them from slowing down your HVAC system or entering your home. After a professional duct cleaning, you can expect your system to run more efficiently and your air quality to improve.

Maintain the Outdoor HVAC Unit

Most of your HVAC system is located inside your home. But if you have an air conditioner or a heat pump, your system also has an outdoor unit. While these outdoor units are designed to need minimal maintenance, you can take these helpful steps to keep the system running efficiently:

  • Remove fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris from the top of the unit to prevent airflow issues.
  • Trim bushes, grass, and other growth within a two- or three-foot radius around the unit to improve airflow.
  • Cover the unit during the off-season to prevent snow and ice from accumulating and causing damage.
  • Use a level to make sure the unit is positioned correctly. If it isn’t level, place or adjust pads as necessary.

Pay Attention to Sounds and Smells

Although most HVAC systems operate relatively quietly, every system has its own quirks. You might notice the sound of the system turning on or a neutral odor as the air conditions your home.

If you notice unusual sounds or smells, however, it’s important to take action quickly. Unpleasant smells can indicate that mold or moisture have collected in the system. Loud noises can signal a loose part or another malfunction. As soon as you notice a strange noise or odor, call your local HVAC technician for maintenance or repairs.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

When your HVAC system is running smoothly, it’s easy to assume that it doesn’t need maintenance or repairs. However, every HVAC system should undergo routine maintenance at least once a year.

If it’s been more than a year since your last HVAC tuneup, call our team for an appointment. We’ll check the electrical connections, clean the interior and exterior units, lubricate moving parts, and replace the air filter. We’ll also calibrate the system to make sure it keeps your family comfortable while running efficiently throughout the year.

Whether you need routine HVAC maintenance or you’re ready to replace an outdated system, the Dahme Mechanical Industries team is here to help. Learn more about our HVAC maintenance and repair services or call 847-610-6846 to make an appointment with our team today.