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DIY HVAC Maintenance: What You Can and Can’t Do Yourself

A person is changing the air filter on a ceiling vent.

Homeowners know that maintenance tasks are a necessary part of homeownership. Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is one of the most important features of your home to maintain, especially in Ohio with our wild weather. Your furnace or heat pump works hard in the winter to keep you warm, and your air conditioner blasts you with cool refreshing air in the summer.

Maintaining your HVAC system will keep you happy and comfortable any time of the year. But how do you know what tasks are safe to do on your own versus which tasks are better left to the professionals? We’ve got you covered with our expert advice.

HVAC Maintenance Tasks to Do on Your Own

These simple tasks will help your system run smoothly and are easy to do on your own.

1. Change Your Air Filter

We mention this tip a lot, but it really is one of the easiest ways to ensure your system runs efficiently and stays in good shape. Your air filter traps particles floating in the air like pollen, dust, and pet dander. This eventually clogs the filter, which impedes airflow. To make up for this blockage, your system has to work harder to get air through, becoming costly and potentially wearing out your system more quickly.

Check your owner’s manual to determine the correct air filter to use in your system and how often to change it. A good rule of thumb is to replace residential HVAC air filters with a “1 month per inch” schedule. For example, a 1” filter should be replaced each month, 2” filters every 2 months, 3” filter every 3 months. For more information on air filters, check out the advice section of our website.

2. Check & Clean Your Vents & Registers

Your vents and registers are another area that can be overlooked. They are where dust and debris collect, especially in high traffic areas of the house, and blocked by furniture, blankets, or curtains. Just like clogged air filters, dirty or blocked vents and registers can disrupt airflow making your system work harder and be less efficient. Add these tasks to your regular cleaning schedule to stay on top of it. Simply use a brush attachment with your vacuum to remove the unwanted build up and move things away from them.

3. Inspect Your Ductwork

Your ductwork is an integral part of your HVAC system. This important network ensures your heating and air conditioning flow smoothly throughout your home. If the ductwork has any leaks, it greatly reduces the efficiency of your system. While you may not be able to see all of your ductwork, you should periodically inspect any visible areas to check for leaks. If it is a small hole or leak, you can cover it using HVAC foil tape, however anything more than this requires professional help.

4. Clean and Tidy the Area Around Your A/C Unit

One simple way to ensure your A/C Unit is ready for the warm months is to clean up the area around it. Remove all of the plant material, debris, and other build up nearby. For optimum airflow, allow at least 2 feet of clearance. For a comprehensive list of A/C Maintenance Tips, check out this article.

HVAC Maintenance Tasks Better Left to the Professionals

Your HVAC system is extremely complex. To avoid serious issues, most maintenance tasks should be taken care of by the professionals. That’s why Henry Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing offers preventative maintenance packages for homeowners. Here are some examples of tasks our certified technicians can help with:

1. Dealing with Refrigerant Issues

It’s important to check the refrigerant levels of your system to make sure they aren’t low. If your refrigerant is low, your home won’t cool properly. Refrigerant is considered a hazardous material, so leave it to the professionals to handle.

2. Electrical Repairs

Your HVAC system runs on electricity, and dealing with electrical issues requires special knowledge. If you do not know what you are doing, it can be extremely dangerous. When there are issues with your system’s fuses, circuit breakers, or the thermostat, seek the help of professionals for repair work.

3. Deep Cleaning Your HVAC System

While it is certainly important for homeowners to keep on top of the basic cleaning tasks mentioned above, your HVAC system requires a periodic deep clean to function at its best. This should only be handled by technicians who have the appropriate training to deal with the internal parts of your system. If this job isn’t done with the utmost care and skill, accidental damage could be done to the system. No one wants an unexpected costly mistake!

4. Furnace & Air Conditioning Tune-Ups

Your heating and cooling system needs regular maintenance to function properly and stay efficient. Regular maintenance is also recommended to prolong the life of your system. Just like you visit the doctor for a checkup, your HVAC system needs a periodic review completed by a certified technician. Technicians have the knowledge and experience to identify any issues or potential problems your system is facing, which can save you money in the long run. Some examples include:

  • Checking the motor function
  • Checking the heat exchanger for cracks
  • Ensuring the system is calibrated properly

HVAC Maintenance with Henry Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing

While there are some HVAC maintenance tasks homeowners can safely complete on their own, most require trained professionals to be done properly. At Henry, we are ready to help you with all your residential and commercial heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. Contact us today to sign up for a preventive maintenance plan to keep your system running smoothly.

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