Among the best resolutions for the new year is a commitment to caring for your HVAC system. After all, the heating and cooling equipment in your Sacramento, CA home has a major impact on your indoor air quality (IAQ), energy bill, and overall comfort. Properly maintaining it will extend its life span and ensure optimum performance. To help you get started, the following are 10 easy HVAC maintenance tips for 2024.
1. Establish a Regular Filter Change Schedule
Your HVAC air filter plays an important role in protecting your indoor air quality. It extracts many common allergens and contaminants whenever your heater or AC is on. However, its primary job is keeping heavy buildups of debris from accumulating on the sensitive, interior components of your heating and cooling equipment. You should inspect your HVAC air filter monthly and change it as needed. In most households and for most filter types, the ideal filter change schedule is once every one to three months. However, you can get needs-specific recommendations by calling equipment manufacturers directly, checking your warranty documents or owner’s manual, or asking one of our technicians.
How to Inspect Your HVAC Air Filter
When inspecting your air filter, pull it out and hold it up to the light. If light can penetrate a filter’s mesh, air can too. If it cannot, put a fresh filter in and make sure that it’s both correctly sized and properly oriented.
2. Schedule Annual Heater and AC Maintenance
When it comes to HVAC maintenance, nothing trumps the benefits of annual tune-up service. You should have both your heater and AC tuned up each year by scheduling heater maintenance in late fall or early winter and AC maintenance in mid to late spring. If you use a heat pump for year-round temperature control instead, have your heat pump tuned up twice annually according to this same schedule.
3. Check Your Warranties and Insurance Policies for Covered Maintenance
Make life easier for yourself in 2024 by avoiding all unnecessary HVAC spending. Many consumers enjoy benefits like covered, annual service visits that often go overlooked. You might find that the costs of annual furnace and AC maintenance are already covered by your home service agreement or home insurance policy. This is all the more likely if you have comprehensive coverage, attached riders, or loyalty rewards.
4. Sign up for an HVAC Preventative Maintenance Plan
Another easy and cost-effective way to stay on top of professional HVAC maintenance in 2024 is by purchasing a preventative maintenance plan. Offered by HVAC companies, these plans are structured to limit the costs of caring for heating and cooling equipment. For instance, our preventative maintenance plan includes full inspection, cleaning, and tune-ups for both ACs and heaters as well as benefits like timely service reminders, priority response times, discounted repairs and IAQ equipment, and other perks.
5. Regularly Clean Your HVAC Air Vents
Airflow obstructions take a tremendous toll on HVAC systems. Keeping your HVAC air filter clean is just one step in avoiding them. When performing monthly filter inspections, inspect the air vents throughout your home as well. If these are covered in lint-like buildups of debris, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe them down. You can also remove their covers and gently vacuum behind them if there are trapped deposits there too.
Check for Closed Vents and Schedule Air Balancing Services
Many people close HVAC air vents when they no longer want heated or cooled air delivered to select rooms. Unfortunately, this isn’t what HVAC air vents are for. Vent closures create a sudden and significant rise in static pressure within HVAC ducting. With nowhere to go, unwanted air disrupts the necessary balance of forces within air distribution systems. Worse still, people who close vents often forget they’ve done so, and they rarely return in a timely fashion to reopen them. By making sure that none of the vents in your home have been closed off and forgotten, you can avoid a host of costly repairs.
Verify that these features are at least partially opened when cleaning them. You should also schedule air balancing service. During HVAC air balancing, technicians strategically adjust vent positions to promote even air distribution and uniform temperatures.
6. Keep Your AC Condenser’s Perimeter Clean
AC and heat pump condensers are installed at the exterior of homes and usually in the back or side yard. These units require at least 24 inches of clearance on all sides. When they lack it, airflow obstructions can lead to icing, overheating, and poor performance. Check the perimeter of your outdoor condenser unit for fast-growing bushes and weeds, accumulations of leaves and other organic debris, and other obstructions. You should clean the area around your condenser’s perimeter every one to three months. To simplify your HVAC maintenance schedule, try to do this whenever performing a filter change.
7. Prune Your Trees and Take Care of Your Roof
If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you should also have your roof inspected and maintained annually. This will minimize the likelihood of your condenser being hit by heavy roofing materials.
Keep in mind that poorly maintained gutters and downspouts can prove problematic for outdoor condensers as well. If gutter buildups of leaves, twigs, silt, and other debris become too heavy, these features could pull away from the building and strike your HVAC equipment. To prevent this, schedule gutter cleaning service each fall and spring.
8. Have Your HVAC Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned
HVAC air ducts can harbor tacky, heavy, and large debris indefinitely. While HVAC air filters sieve out many small-sized, airborne particulates, they don’t capture everything. Most micro-fine allergens and contaminants slip right through them. Moreover, if you have leaky air ducts, these structures could be drawing in contaminant-riddled air from dusty, remote areas like your basement, attic, or crawlspaces.
According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), these features should be professionally cleaned every two to three years. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lauds the merits of duct cleaning and recommends that consumers have it performed on an as-needed basis. No matter which duct cleaning schedule you choose, cleaning your HVAC air ducts in 2024 will help you start the new year with excellent indoor air quality.
9. Invest in a Smart Thermostat
ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA, asserts that installing and using smart thermostats can save homeowners as much as 8% on their heating and cooling bills annually. Activities that promote energy savings often limit stress on HVAC equipment and extend the life spans of these important home appliances. However, a smart thermostat can also help you stay on track with basic, ongoing maintenance. Many of these devices send out timely reminders for both HVAC air filter changes and yearly tune-ups.
10. Don’t Let Problems Fester
Among the very best things that you can do for your HVAC equipment in 2024 is to never let problems fester. Most HVAC problems are progressive. If they aren’t identified and resolved in a timely fashion, even small issues can go on to affect other components, features, and functions. In 2024, schedule service whenever you notice strange or suspicious odors during HVAC operation, loud and jarring sounds, hot and cold spots throughout your home, or other evidence of waning performance.
We proudly serve Sacramento, CA and the surrounding cities. We offer heating, cooling, and electrification services. We also provide new ductwork, whole-house fans, water heaters, and insulation. To schedule annual HVAC maintenance or sign up for our preventative maintenance plan, contact Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation today.