Whether you have just replaced your HVAC system or you are getting ready to, if you're like most homeowners you want to make sure that you don't end up having to make tons of repairs or replacements anytime soon. While it isn't possible to guarantee the complete avoidance of future problems, you can greatly increase your HVAC system's performance and lifespan with the help of these tips and tricks:
Invest in Regular Professional Maintenance
Having your HVAC system inspected and maintained by a professional at least once a year is one of the most important things you can do to save yourself from expensive repair bills later down the line. During a maintenance appointment, your service provider should:
- Tighten the electrical connections.
- Inspect the condensation drain.
- Tune up your system's control to ensure proper functioning.
- Clean the air conditioning coils.
- Adjust the blower components.
- Check all the gas connections.
Ask your technician for a checklist of everything that they do during the appointment so you can create a maintenance paper trail that can be used for troubleshooting purposes if something goes wrong with your system for any reason in the future.
Provide Your Own Home Maintenance
It's also important to provide your HVAC system with maintenance between professional visits to limit the wear and tear it's exposed to. You'll want to clean your system's filters once a month with a clean damp cloth or replace it if possible. This removes debris and minimizes the amount of pressure that is needed to push air through them when your air conditioner or heater is turned on. Consider taking these additional maintenance steps too:
- Clean your exterior condensing unit by hosing it down periodically and removing any weeds or debris that are found near the unit's fins.
- Clean your home's vents and grilles to ensure that air is free to flow through them.
- Check and refill the refrigerant if needed.
If you live in a cold climate area, cover your exterior condensing unit with a form-fitting insulation blanket to help protect it from the outdoor elements and ensure proper functioning.
Plant a Few Trees around the Yard
Mature trees placed around your home can help to reduce your air conditioning use by up to 30 percent and decrease the amount of energy uses for heating by up to 50 percent – both of which put less wear and tear on your HVAC system. Trees grown in your yard can even increase the overall value of your property. Keep the following tips in mind when choosing your trees:
- Deciduous trees are best for energy efficiency because they lose their leaves during winter months so the sun can naturally heat your home, and their leaves will protect your home from the sun during summer months.
- Planting trees in front of windows that get direct sunlight will keep your living spaces cooler during daylight hours.
- Planting trees near your exterior condenser unit will keep the unit cool and minimize the amount wear and tear it has to face.
Examples of deciduous trees that are effective for home protection include red maple, black gum, weeping willow, and black locust.
Add Extra Window Insulation
Windows can be a big source of unwanted air and moisture within your home. As cold air enters the windows, it mixes with the warm air (or visa versa depending on the time of year) and may result in the need for a thermostat adjustment, which puts more wear and tear on your system overall. You can insulate your windows yourself with these methods:
- Use spray foam insulation between the panes and frames of your windows to seal cracks and holes. Don't forget the attic and basement!
- Install insulation film on the interior of your windows.
- Use honeycomb cellular shades or double shades in front of the windows for added insulation and light filtering control.
It's also important to have any cracks or chips in your windows repaired before adding insulation to ensure optimal durability and moisture control.
In addition to effectively protecting your HVAC system from excessive wear and tear, these tips may even be able to help you save some money on your energy bills throughout the year.