When it comes to keeping your home heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, good maintenance will prevent big problems in the future. After all, it’s less expensive to have your furnace serviced every year than to replace it, and it could save you from spending a week without heat in the winter. Follow these eleven helpful hints to keep your heating and cooling systems working at their best.
simple things to keep your furnace in top shape:
- Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a professional every year. This is important because a furnace that is not working properly or is poorly vented could leak deadly carbon monoxide into your home. Getting your system inspected regularly will also keep it in good shape, preventing costly repairs.
- When you have your furnace serviced, they will likely clean it for you. You should still make sure to keep the area around the furnace clear and if it gets dusty or dirty, clean out what you can.
- A dirty furnace filter makes it harder for the furnace to blow air into your home, putting extra strain on the system and reducing its efficiency. If you find your filter is very dirty when you change it, then you should replace it more frequently.
- If the outdoor vents are blocked, hot air can build up in the furnace and cause unsafe operating conditions, and it may even leak carbon monoxide back into the house. Regularly inspect outdoor vents and clear them of any debris. It helps if they are designed in a way that prevents birds from nesting in them.
- Make sure your vents aren’t full of dust. If you have had recent construction, you should consider having your ducts cleaned professionally. Otherwise, you can probably keep them clean just by regularly vacuuming the floor registers where dust builds up.
- You can also help the furnace run more efficiently by keeping the air intake vents clear of heavy furniture, dust and debris.
When it comes to maintaining your air conditioning system:
- Find out if the evaporator is accessible. The owner’s manual should help you locate it and tell you if it can be serviced. You can clean the evaporator with a bristled brush and clean the tray below it.
- The condenser intake is usually located outside, so it often becomes clogged with dirt and dust. It can be cleaned with a special cleaner intended for air conditioners.
- The part of the unit that is located outside will become clogged much sooner if it has trees, shrubs or long grass growing too near it. Use fencing if you want to hide the unit from view to keep plants from growing too close.
- Protect the air conditioner during the offseason. During the fall, it could become plugged up with fallen leaves; during the winter, it can be damaged by ice. Use a specially made cover while it is not in use, or fashion one from heavy-duty plastic and strong cord.
- If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be cooling as well as it did, it might just need to have the freon recharged. While this is a job best left to a professional, it can get your unit back into top shape in no time.
If you are going to hire a contractor to help you, make sure they are licensed and listed with a good trade association.