5 HVAC Spring Cleaning Tips From the Pros
Spring is approaching fast, and it’s that time of year again to do your annual spring cleaning. If you haven’t already, make sure to include cleaning and servicing your air conditioning and heating systems. Preparing your furnace for the upcoming warmer months beforehand can have you better prepared for when summer comes to an end. Additionally, getting your AC ready for the heat ahead will prevent you from suffering through uncomfortable surprises.
Cleaning the components of your HVAC system not only allows it to work correctly, it will also help to extend the life of your cooling and heating devices. By doing this, any potential problems can be recognized and fixed before significant issues arise. We’ve put together 5 tips to help you get your home ready for the changing weather.
1. Clean Your Furnace Filter
Cleaning or replacing your furnace filter is one of the most important maintenance steps that you can take during your spring cleaning. The filter helps to prevent dirt, dust, and other debris from building up on furnace parts; furthermore, a filter also functions to stop allergens and dust from circulating throughout your home. A clogged or dirty filter blocks airflow, which will cause your furnace to use more energy to move air through the duct system.
Quite frankly, you should be performing this maintenance more than once a year. In an average home, a furnace filter should be changed or cleaned every three months at a minimum. If you have a pet, it should be changed at least every two months; if there are multiple pets or people with allergies, you may want to replace a filter at least once monthly.
HEPA filters can be vacuumed clean and re-installed more than once; although, most filters are made from fiberglass and should be disposed of after a single-use. Vacuums are unable to clean the inner fibers, and wet filters can become filled with mold.
2. Ductwork: Clean & Inspect
This is an ideal time to clean the covers on your registers throughout the house. A surprising amount of dust, pet hair, and other debris gathers within the slats and openings. This build-up prevents the air from circulating efficiently and can cause your furnace to work harder. By removing the register covers to vacuum and rinse them, you can rest assured that your furnace is running correctly and efficiently.
You will also want to set aside some time to inspect the ductwork itself. Climbing into a crawl space or attic to visually inspect the ducts with a flashlight may reveal holes or other damage along the surface, especially near joints or bends. Be sure to keep an eye for problems, such as the presence of rodent droppings or mold. Gaps and holes in the ductwork will allow air to escape, forcing your equipment to work harder and cost more money to operate—which means that you’ll be paying more on your electric bill.
Spring cleaning can also be an ideal time to have your air ducts professionally cleaned. Many homeowners will clean their ducts every three to five years. However, even during years that you do not have your ducts cleaned by a professional, you can use the furnace fan to circulate air while you tap on exposed ductwork to loosen dirt and use a vacuum hose to reach into the ducts to collect loose debris.
3. Your Furnace: Clean & Service
After working hard to heat your home over the winter, spring cleaning is the perfect time to have your furnace cleaned and inspected. Cleaning your furnace will not only prepare your heating system for next winter, but it will also help it to run more efficiently.
To clean your furnace, you can vacuum and wipe down the exterior of the unit, taking care to clean the intake vents of the system; to clean and examine the interior of your furnace, you will need to remove the combustion chamber door as well as the burner cover.
Next, you can inspect the flames at the burner. The flames should be even in appearance and blue in color.
If they are not even or appear to be yellow, it may indicate that the burners are dirty. In this case, it is recommended that a professional from Wade handle any cleaning or vacuuming of the burners, blower, pilot, and sensor.
By having one of our certified professionals here at Wade Heating, Cooling, & Geothermal inspect and clean your furnace, you can extend your unit’s lifespan, saving you money for years to come.
4. Your Central Air Conditioning: Clean & Service
Spring is the perfect time to clean and service your air conditioner before the hot summer days arrive. To clean your AC, look for the drainage hole underneath your unit and check to ensure that this hole is free of debris. A blockage of the drainage area will prevent your unit from working correctly and can cause damage. In the event of debris, try poking a piece of wire through the hole to help clear it.
If there are any filters on the system, you will want to clean or replace them. If you have an outdoor condenser, be sure to clean the unit and directly around it. Dirt, dust, and other debris can become wedged between the fins and should be removed; also, coils on your AC may have collected material over the winter and should be vacuumed and rinsed.
Inspect the area around the unit itself and remove any debris. Rake up dead vegetation and trim around the unit to ensure proper airflow.
5. Test Your Air Conditioner
Finally, be sure to test your air conditioner during your spring cleaning. Replace the batteries in any controllers that use them. Many homeowners will do this step twice a year—make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. That said, make certain that the thermostat is working properly by adjusting the settings at different levels to see how the unit responds. On digital units, be sure that you can read the panel, and, if necessary, re-familiarize yourself with your AC controls.
Now, you don’t want to wait until the weather is too hot only to discover that your AC is not working! Avoid this by doing a simple test: turn on the system and run for a few hours to ensure that everything is working correctly. If there is a problem, you can troubleshoot the issue and address them before you need that cold air. If you have an older thermostat, this might be the perfect time to upgrade to a modern programmable controller. A programmable thermostat can save you both energy as well as money!