It’s a common saying in our industry that if you don’t make time for maintenance, your system will make it for you with breakdowns. Maintenance is the single most important thing you can do to get the best return on your investment in your HVAC system. Whether it’s a gas furnace, electric heater, heat pump, or straight air conditioner, you need to have it maintained twice a year, once in the Spring to prepare for Summer, and once in the Fall to prepare for Winter.
The main things that a homeowner needs to look at when maintaining their system is make sure you keep adequate airflow to the system.
For the outdoor unit this means keep it nice and clear around the condenser. For more info on how your condenser works you can read our article here. Air flow is the absolute key for maintaining efficiency of the system so make sure you trim your bushes back and make sure when you’re mowing your grass you don’t blow it towards the coil. One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself during the cooling season is make sure your coil stays clean, so if you can, come out with a garden hose and spray off the coil if you see an accumulation of dirt, some cottonwood, or grass clippings. That’s the greatest thing you can do for your outdoor unit.
For your indoor unit you need to make sure you change your filter regularly. If you have a 1” filter we recommend changing it monthly. If it’s a 2” filter we recommend changing that every two months. If it’s a 4” filter we recommend changing that every 4-6 months. Some filters are labeled as 1 year filters, but in Texas we run our systems 3000+ hours, which is more than the national average, which is why we recommend changing the filter every 6 months at the latest.
After that there’s really not much more that a homeowner can do to maintain their system so it’s highly recommended that every year you have a licensed technician come out and inspect and clean and check your system.
Some of the things that they’re going to do is they’ll pull the shell apart, they’ll take the top off the unit, they’ll normally chemically clean the coil to make sure that any built up dirt and grime is pulled out of the system, they’ll take a look at the fan motor to make sure the blade is good, they’ll check the bearings on the motor, they’ll check the rotation and make sure everything is good to go there. The heart of the system like the engine of your car is the compressor, now there’s nothing you can do as a homeowner to service that, these highly skilled technicians will come out and they’ll measure the amperage that they’re pulling, make sure that they’re running at their peak efficiency, they’ll check the bearings, they’ll check the refrigerant charge, and they’ll check how well the system is performing as for factory specifications. These are all things that you can’t do as a homeowner but a technician will know how to do. By having them come out once a year you’ll ensure the reliability of your system, that it’s not going to break on you, and that it’s going to last for the longest amount of time and you’ll get the best return on your investment. Once again if you have any questions give us a call, we can help you out with your maintenance needs.
If you want to learn more about your residential split HVAC system check out our video here.