Your family, your coworkers, and your health—they’re all great reasons to be thankful this year. But if you’re looking for a truly unique way to express your gratitude this Turkey Day, don’t forget about your home—and more specifically, your heating and cooling system.
Think about it: your HVAC system keeps you cool as a cucumber when the temperatures skyrocket, and toasty warm when they plunge into the negatives. Meanwhile, it never asks for much more than a clean filter or two in return. Isn’t it time you told it thank you?
Of course, you don’t have to cook your HVAC system a feast to profess your love for it (please don’t—nothing clogs your ducts faster than pumpkin pie). You just have to give it a little bit of TLC. Here’s what you can do to show your appreciation today.
Change Your Filters
There’s nothing your furnace, heat pump, or AC loves better than a new air filter. Commit to switching yours out every four to six months, and your heating and cooling units will reward you with improved air performance—and lower energy bills. You see, when your units are blocked by clogged filters, they have to work overtime to bring heated and cooled air to you, and that can put some serious strain on your system. If your components aren’t getting proper air flow, you could be seriously compromising the lifespan of your system. What’s more, you might have to pay for an HVAC repairman to come out, just to say you need to change your filter—which happens more than you’d think. Save yourself some money (and embarrassment!) and schedule a monthly filter change on your own.
Clean Your Outdoor Unit
Things can get pretty rough for your outdoor unit, hanging around outside 24/7. Dust, rocks, grit, twigs—your AC unit’s exposed to all kinds of debris. And if you don’t give it a cleaning every so often, your system’s performance can become severely reduced. To start, cut back any weeds and brush that may be growing near your unit. Next, after carefully turning off the power to your unit, open the access panel and wash your unit’s condenser coils with soap and water. Wipe it down with a cloth, then watch as it rewards you with improved performance come spring.
Check Your Ducts for Leaks
Just like a blocked unit can wreak havoc on your system performance, a leaking unit is no good for it either. Leaks not only cause poor energy efficiency; they can also affect air quality, air pressure, and humidity as well. Think about it this way: your HVAC unit is like a delicate ecosystem. When one component gets out of whack, it can throw the whole thing out of balance. So it can mean that your unit is sucking in more dust, dirt or debris, or not properly ventilating your home. Or it could pull in extra moisture from your home’s surroundings—and damp, humid homes are harder to heat. To look for duct leaks, take a flashlight with you, and use your hands to feel for small drafts coming from inside the ducts. Visually inspect the ducts for black spots, an indicator of leaks in the area. If you do spot a tear, you can cover it with mastic tape, or have a professional HVAC service person out to make a repair.
Clean Your Vents
Nothing says “thank you” quite like the spa treatment—so help your HVAC system get squeaky clean for the heating season. Screw off your vents and return registers and wash them down with a damp cloth. Then use a vacuum attachment to clear out the edges of each grille opening, and voilà! Better air quality in mere minutes.
Clean Your House
Your HVAC system would never pass judgment on how you choose to keep your home—that’s a job for that one judgy aunt at Thanksgiving. But if your home’s surfaces are dusty or mingled with more than their fair share of pet hair, your cleaned-out unit won’t stay clean for long. Dust, pollen, pet hair, and other allergens can get blown and distributed around your home by your heat system—so the clearer you can keep your surroundings, the better off you and your unit will be.
Schedule a Service Appointment
Every once and awhile, your HVAC system could use a date with a professional. An annual inspection by a service person can uncover hard-to-detect issues, like a cracked heat exchanger, which—while not infrequent—can cause major damage if left unchecked. They’ll also look for loose wires—a fire hazard—and make sure your system is generally performing as expected. That way you’ll know right away if a repair is warranted, and keep your system at peak operating condition.
To schedule a maintenance appointment with an HVAC professional today, get in touch with one of service representatives. And happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours!