When you buy a home for the first time, you might not realize how much goes into keeping your HVAC system in good shape. You don't want it to stop functioning when you need it most. Since you've probably had a landlord performing these tasks, they may be unfamiliar to you. Below are some tips to get you going with HVAC maintenance.
Understand Your Filters
Your HVAC system runs by drawing air inside the units, either heating or cooling the air, and sending it back out through a system of ductwork. To keep the unit clean, it draws air through a filter. Experts recommend changing the filter at least once a season, more if you have pets or allergies.
The filters are usually located by the furnace. Typically, the exiting homeowner or your realtor will advise you on its location. You should replace the filter with the correct size, but you could also look into upgrades such as those with higher MERV or HEPA ratings.
Examine the Units
Your furnace and air conditioner can get surprisingly dirty. Most of the dirtiness inside the units comes from the air they draw through the filter. However, even if you change the filter regularly, you should inspect the interior of the units once a year.
Generally, opening the furnace or AC unit simply involves removing a few screws and pulling open some panels. If you see any dust accumulation, use a vacuum to remove it. Examine the belts to ensure they're in good shape. You can apply lubrication to any moving parts if needed.
Be Alert for Changes
If you keep up with regular examination, you'll likely catch any issues before they turn into a major repair. For example, if you open the furnace and a belt looks worn, you can have an HVAC tech repair it before it breaks, which could cause more damage.
Make a habit of also listening to your system. Pay attention to any changes in sounds. For instance, new clanks or buzzing could indicate mechanical problems. Likewise, evaluate how well the system is functioning. If you find new hot spots in the summer or cool spots in the winter, part of the system may be failing.
Schedule Yearly Maintenance
As a first-time homeowner, you probably aren't familiar with many of the above tasks. You'll probably find it useful to hire HVAC techs to come in once a year and perform maintenance tasks on your system. They'll undertake all of the above actions and many more that require expertise.
You'll see two great advantages to yearly professional maintenance. One is that the techs will catch any issues before they grow bigger. Two, such maintenance extends the life of your units.
Keep your new home's HVAC system well maintained and address HVAC repairs as needed.