For your convenience, we have compiled this brief checklist to simplify seasonal maintenance and keep your system functioning at peak performance.
Maintenance Checklist: Indoor
- Program your thermostat to prepare for the season. If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust seasonal thermostat settings to keep you comfortable, 24/7, while optimizing energy efficiency. When you are home, the Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78° F during summer and 68° F during winter. When away from home or sleeping, set your thermostat at an energy-saving setting like 80° (summer) and 65° (winter).
Changing HVAC filters. Once monthly, your central AC, furnace or heat pump filter should be cleaned or replaced—depending on the type. Dirty filters reduce performance and increase energy costs.
- Keep clutter away from your HVAC unit. Storing items near your central air, furnace or heat pump equipment is a fire hazard, and may obstruct combustion air supply and lead to dangerous carbon monoxide production.
- Remove obstructions from registers and return air grilles. When furniture, pet hair and dust buildup are blocking parts of your ventilation system, performance and efficiency suffer.
- Have your system inspected twice annually. Homeowners who live in climates requiring year-round HVAC use should invest in start-up inspections prior to heating and cooling seasons. According to ENERGY STAR, a qualified HVAC specialist should include the following during their maintenance visit:
- Tightening electrical connections and measuring voltage. Faulty connections are dangerous and can reduce equipment life.
- Lubricating moving parts. When equipment is lubricated, there is less motor friction, which improves system efficiency and reduces wear and tear.
- Inspecting condensate drains during cooling season. Clogged drains can adversely impact indoor humidity and may cause interior damage if water continues to build up.
- Cleaning coils. Over time, the coils on your condenser and evaporator can become covered in dirt and debris. This causes equipment to work harder to achieve indoor temperatures.
- Maintaining refrigerant levels during cooling season. Too much or too little Freon can adversely impact equipment while decreasing system efficiency.
- Checking airflow and ventilation functionality. Proper airflow increases comfort and lowers energy use.
- Checking gas/oil connections, heat exchangers and burner combustion during heating season. Connection problems lead to improper burner operation and increase the risk of structural fires.
Maintenance Checklist: Outdoor
- Trim shrubs and brush away from outdoor units. Overgrown plants can obstruct your outdoor unit, forcing it to work harder while increasing utility bills. Keep trash and greenery away from the unit to optimize performance.
- Clean outdoor coils. These coils can become clogged with grass clippings and dirt. Outdoor debris can generally be removed with a running water hose.