If you’ve experienced common furnace problems, you might already know that there’s a lot of value in routine HVAC maintenance. DIY “pros” often know where to look for heater troubleshooting or central air conditioner maintenance, but for those of us who are less experienced, a few HVAC maintenance tips can go a long way. Let’s start with the basics: “HVAC” refers to the system in your home that regulates heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Usually that includes your furnace, central air conditioning unit and all of the ducts and parts that accompany them.
While HVAC systems are designed to run on their own with little intervention from you, other than adjusting your thermostat, keeping your system regularly maintained can make a big difference with respect to its running properly. If you want DIY HVAC maintenance, we can guide you through where to begin.
It’s also advisable to have an annual professional inspection, even if you think you can do it yourself. HVAC equipment is expensive and complicated, and it’s a good idea to have it inspected annually.
Sometimes, things go awry, even in well-maintained systems. Fortunately, there are tricks for heater troubleshooting and DIY AC repair that even a novice do-it-yourselfer can use to diagnose a problem.
Here are most common furnace problems to look for (they’re also the simplest to fix):
Central air conditioner maintenance doesn’t have to be a chore. These air conditioner maintenance tips can help make sure you keep your cool.
Filters: Just like your furnace, and with all DIY HVAC maintenance — filters, filters, filters! Some filters can be cleaned and reused, and others need to be replaced regularly.
Air conditioner coils: Evaporator and condenser coils collect dirt. While clean filters help, it’s still an important part of do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance to clean dirt and debris from the coils.
Coil fins: You know those aluminum fins on your condenser? They don’t require much in the way of DIY HVAC repair, but they do need to be checked for bends and dents. You can purchase a “fin comb” that can straighten out bent fins.
Drains: We’ve talked before about clogged drains in your sinks or showers, and the AC unit is no different. Part of your regular HVAC maintenance checklist should be occasionally snaking the drain channels for your condenser. Clogs can mean excess moisture, which could discolor your walls or carpet.
Scheduled professional maintenance: Although you might want to do it yourself, HVAC systems usually require a once-per-year overhaul by a professional. The air conditioner should be included as part of that annual plan. Schedule an air conditioning tune-up with our sister company, Constellation Home.
There are always two components to DIY HVAC maintenance: (1) routine maintenance to keep the system running smoothly, and (2) troubleshooting if something goes wrong. The HVAC maintenance tips above are a good start to keeping things going, but there are a few things that you can do specifically for your furnace.
How to begin heater troubleshooting:
One last thing … be aware of gas leaks! If you smell natural gas, or if your CO2 detector sounds, leave the house immediately, and leave windows and doors open for ventilation. A gas leak is an emergency situation, and you must call your gas utility or fire department as soon as you are outside the home and in a safe location. If you are able to do so safely, turn off the gas supply valve, which is usually near your gas meter on the inlet pipe. Rotate the valve one-quarter turn using a wrench. If you suspect a gas leak, do not light any matches or touch any switches until you have the all-clear from the utility or fire department.
These solutions can help when it comes to HVAC maintenance DIY, but they definitely are not an exhaustive list of what could go wrong. When it comes to your heater and air conditioner, there are lots of moving parts (figuratively and literally), and sometimes you need to call a professional. However, no one likes it when you have to pay for a professional to walk through your door only to have him tell you that you only had to flip a switch or change your filter! So, by using these DIY HVAC maintenance tips, hopefully you can identify where to look and what to do before you make that call. In the case that your HVAC system is beyond repair and you’re thinking about a heating and air conditioning replacement, contact Constellation Home.
If you have any good air conditioner maintenance tips, or other HVAC maintenance DIY pointers, we’d love to know — share in the comments below!
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