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Can I Help Maintain My Own HVAC System?

Yes.  This is a great question that came to us concerning air conditioner repair in Spring, TX but is applicable everywhere. These easy HVAC system maintenance tips can save you an average of 10 to 20 percent on your energy costs.

First, increase energy efficiency and maintain a healthier environment by keeping your HVAC system’s filters clean. Your system can function with dirty filters, but not at its best. It is very similar to your breathing with vs. without a stuffy nose. You may be able to breath with a stuffy nose, but certainly you breathe easier and get a better supply of oxygen once you clear your nasal passage. Changing the filters once a month is recommended. This applies to both residential and commercial air conditioning and heating systems.

Second, keep your AC’s energy efficiency optimized by keeping the outside unit clear of any dirt and debris. Outside AC units (known as condensers) have coils inside of them which are absolutely essential to the overall energy efficiency and cooling capability of your system. It works in a very similar way to the radiator in your car. Just as coolant moves through your car radiator and dissipates engine generated heat, air needs to be able to flow or move over the coil of your outside AC unit to disperse or lessen the heat generated inside the unit.

The harder the AC unit must work the more energy it must use. You can use a hose to wash the coils in the condenser and make sure they are free from grass clippings, leaves, lint from a nearby dryer vent or anything else. You do not need to worry about getting the unit wet as it sits outside in the wet weather anyway. And, if the unit has been professionally installed and professionally serviced, the electrical components are properly sealed.

We recommend turning off or disconnecting the breaker when cleaning the condenser. 

Keep bushes or other plant life from growing onto the outside AC unit or cut them back if they already have. Do not store anything near the unit that may restrict air flow and move anything that is already there.

Third, using fans throughout your home to circulate airflow can help keep temperatures even and take some strain off your HVAC system, thereby also increasing efficiency.

Fourth, have an HVAC professional do preventive maintenance regularly. Inside your home, where the cooling actually happens, the AC system also has a coil. This key element is more complicated to clean and should be done by a professional. It’s another component that can help save on monthly costs when kept clean.

Fifth, installing a programmable thermostat enables you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. Not having to remember to change the settings each day when you go to work, go out on the weekend, etc. is nice and the regularity contributes further to saving money on your energy bills.

Sixth, check your ducts regularly and have them repaired or replaced as needed. (most duct work cannot be cleaned properly or thoroughly without damage).

Seventh, specially for a furnace over five years old, having it inspected by a licensed professional every fall before the heating season gets under way is wise.

If you want to cut your monthly costs even more, consider replacing your system with a higher efficient unit with a higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) of 14 or higher. Systems available today can be as much as 60% more efficient than systems manufactured as little as ten years ago.

If you need help determining the efficiency and/or safety of your HVAC system, D.B.A/C can provide you with a professional evaluation.