Many homeowners develop an HVAC maintenance checklist for their heating and air conditioning system. Studies show that regular maintenance benefits and HVAC system in 3 ways. First, the efficiency level will remain as high as expected. A poorly maintained HVAC system will become inefficient as coils or burners become dirty or the blower motor slips out of tune. An improperly adjusted blower motor may reduce efficiency by as much as 15%. Secondly, maintenance will help avoid preventable and inconvenient mechanical problems. Small issues that are caught in time, a plugged drain line, minor refrigerant leak or worn belt for example, can be addressed before they cause damage to the system. Finally, a properly maintained heating and air conditioning system will last longer than one that is neglected. As you develop an HVAC maintenance schedule, be sure to have these steps on it.
- Check electrical connections and tighten any that are loose in order to prevent system interruption.
- Measure the voltage and current on the motor to make sure it is within tolerance.
- Lubricate moving parts that require it. Many newer blowers and fans are permanently lubricated.
- Check the cycle of the equipment for proper starting sequence, operation and shut down.
- Check condensate drains on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump so that water leaks don't damage equipment or your home.
- Listen to the system go through an entire cycle — note any sounds or noises that don't sound “normal.”
- Inspect the exhaust flue for look connections in the sections and for leaks.
- Inspect the ductwork for leaks.
- Check gas or oil connection to make sure that it is secure. Loose fittings are a major cause of leaks.
- Measure gas pressure for proper flow and combustion.
- View burner combustion to determine efficiency.
- Adjust the flame in an oil furnace if necessary.
- Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks or other damage.
- Change the air filter when needed.
Air Conditioner/Heat Pump Maintenance
- Inspect refrigerant lines and fittings as well as the coil and compressor for signs of a refrigerant leak.
- Check the refrigerant level and add/remove refrigerant as needed.
- Clean the evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor) coils.
- Clean and Adjust the blower motor so that it delivers proper air flow for maximum comfort and efficiency.
Becoming familiar with your HVAC system will allow you to discover potential problems and have them serviced before they cause damage. All of the items on this HVAC maintenance checklist can be do-it-yourself tasks, depending on your level of comfort. An HVAC technician will cover all of these points and more, so it may also make sense to schedule a maintenance checkup every 1-2 years. The key is prevention which can save you from costly and unexpected repairs. Your heating and air conditioning system will also run more efficiently and last longer when you follow a regular HVAC maintenance checklist.