HVAC Care for Homeowners
Your heating and cooling system is the largest and most expensive appliance in your home. Similar to a car, there are many different maintenance points to inspect. Most of these are better left to a professional with proper tools from a company such as Atlanta Air Authority.
But there are essential maintenance points that need to be performed by the property owner. This is a basic list of home care for your hvac system that could save you time, money, and stress.
The most essential step is having a professional HVAC technician properly check your system at least twice a year. A cooling inspection for the refrigeration cycle and a heating inspection for the heating equipment. Atlanta Air Authority offers a maintenance plan that you can read more about here. If you purchased a new system, you may have warranty requirements for a maintenance plan where history of maintenance is kept in our system.
A professional technician will go over your system and perform maintenance and safety checks to make sure your system is running to it’s peak performance. Sometimes they can find issues before they fail. These can cause you to have down time of your HVAC system. Replacing these small but essential parts is not uncommon at all so don’t be alarmed if your system needs one from time to time.
What can I do?
Air Flow Direction
Shrubbery and Plants
Do not plant shrubbery near your outdoor equipment. If there is shrubbery near and you absolutely don’t want to remove it, keep it trimmed and at least 6 inches away so that no leaves are sucked onto the outdoor coil.
The condenser coils need the air to breathe basically. The fan blade pulls the air through the coils cooling down the refrigerant and releasing the hot air straight up. This temperature change is basis of central air conditioning. If the air cannot get through the refrigerant will not be able to change states and the system pressures will be off. This can lead to compressor failure, refrigerant line leaks, fan motor failure, and more! These are very costly repairs and on a new system the manufacturer may deny a warranty if you treat your system this way.
Most HVAC companies do not carry lawn care equipment on their trucks. It is a homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the area around your open from obstacles that may block air flow.
Air flow is key to the health of your system inside your home and out.
Spot Checking & Changing Filters
Checking your filters for blockages is important for the health of your HVAC system. Filters come in many different varieties and even if you have filters that are labeled as 90 day filters they should be checked at least once every month or two,
The filter helps clean the air in your home but it also protects your equipment for build up that could damage your equipment. Dust and dirt can throw the balance of parts off and clog up air flow passages.
The reduction of air flow from a clogged filter can cause your system to work harder and eventually fail. Even if you have a maintenance agreement with AAA or any company, you still need to at least visually check your filter as often as possible and change if filter is clogged.
If you have “Media Filters" or larger width filters that are advertised to last up to one year, we recommend checking these filters at 6 months and consider changing at 8 months. These filters are restrictive when new and any amount of build up can cause your system to strain and possibly fail.
We change your filters on a maintenance visit but don’t wait for AAA or any company to check or change your filters.
Change your filters in between maintenance visits
At least spot check your filters often
Decking too close!
This unit is cycling back hot air
What about the outdoor unit?
There’s not much we recommend doing for the outdoor unit for a homeowner. Most of the maintenance on these pieces of equipment should be left to qualified technicians.
However there are a couple simple things you can do to help your outdoor unit work the best it can.
As already discussed earlier, removing brush and plants away from the condenser is key to the health of your HVAC system.
Also if you build a structure near your outdoor unit allow it plenty of room to breath all around including the top. If you build a structure over the condenser you need to allow 2-3 feet for that air to escape. If the hot air is blocked it will be sucked back into the condenser the coil will constantly be hotter than normal and cause the system to not property condense the refrigerant.
Never build decking closely over the unit.
If you have a home with a dryer vent near your condenser you need to check this from time to time to make sure there isn’t excessive lint being sucked into the fins of the coil. When we come out to perform a maintenance we spray water to clean these fins out. If there’s bad build up then a chemical coil cleaning may be required at an extra expense.
You don’t have to wait for us. It is perfectly fine to spray your outdoor unit with your water hose. We don’t recommend using chemicals on the outdoor unit because the metals in the unit are sensitive to chemicals and if done improperly the metal could deteriorate quickly.
If you don’t see improvement or would like a chemical cleaning let us know and we can have a tech come by and perform this properly.
Read more from EnergyStar.gov
Check your manufacturer’s website for maintenance tips.
Check your dryer vent near the AC
Spray water on the outdoor unit