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Get Lucky with Early DIY HVAC Maintenance

With spring weather arriving in the area earlier than usual, some Houston homes have already started using their central air systems to cool down. Running your HVAC before seasonal maintenance is not recommended by technicians as it could potentially lose some of its operating efficiency. Your system might also break down during peak performance months because of minor problems that weren’t caught in time. Don’t rely on blind luck to keep your HVAC in top condition; this March – make your own!

If you have yet to turn on you’re A/C this unseasonably warm winter, try to put it off until you are able to do some basic DIY maintenance. Ideally you will want to perform these basic procedures before setting up professional service with Universal Home Experts. But with highs about 20 degrees above the monthly average, that might not be possible for much longer. This month, don’t let an elusive four-leaf clover dictate your comfort; get lucky with proactive DIY maintenance.

Consider these essential tips for keeping your HVAC “charmed” throughout the spring and harsh summer.

Keep Your HVAC Free From Debris: The majority of homes in the Houston area have an outdoor A/C unit. This large outdoor component (referred to as the condenser unit) contains the condenser coil, evaporator coil and the fan; all instrumental components in the system. It is important for the unit to be able to breathe, so make sure to keep plant life and other outdoor debris away from it. Leave at least two feet of space around it for maximum airflow, which might entail cutting back bushes or plant life. Also consider shutting of the power and hosing down the unit; especially if there is a high concentration of pollen or dust on the exterior.

Check the Fan: After you turn the power off, check the fan mounted to the top of the condenser unit. Make sure that the blades are in good condition. Bent or cracked blades with compromise the airflow and ensure the system has to work harder to function. If you see any visible signs of wear, either replace the blades yourself or have them replaced by an HVAC technician.

Check and Replace Air Filters: This is the easiest and most important maintenance procedure that you can perform on your own. When your filter becomes full of dust and debris, the airflow decreases and the output contains more dust particles. Your HVAC filter should be replaced once every three months in the spring and fall – and once every 30 days during months of heavy use. You will find the air filter in a slot on your furnace, inside the blower compartment (of the furnace or air handler), or behind a return air grill in a central room.

Clean the Registers: A register is an important component in your HAVC system. It is a grilled vent on a wall or ceiling that can help direct the air that is forced through the ductwork. It can be closed completely or opened to allow varying degrees of airflow. Before you turn on your HVAC for the season, go throughout the house and dust each one. If they are extremely dirty, unscrew the grills, remove them and thoroughly clean the loose grill and open duct area with a dust cloth.

Check the Thermostat: Houston thermostats didn’t get a lot of use during the warm winter (March came in more “like a lamb”). Make sure that your thermostat is working properly by running a short cycle of your HVAC. Does your home still have a mechanical thermostat? Consider upgrading to a programmable model. These modern thermostats allow you to control your comfort levels more precisely – and save electricity and money in the process. Many allow you to control their programming through WiFi, which means you can change the settings even from wherever you may be.

Listen for Noises: When you run the short HVAC cycle to test your thermostat, be mindful of any odd noises coming from the system. Any screeching coming directly from the condenser unit might indicate a worn belt or motor bearing problems. Clanking or rattling noises coming from the condenser often mean that a part is loose and needs to be tightened. If you hear any out-of-ordinary sounds, make an appointment with your HVAC technician before using the unit for the season.

A More Involved DIY Maintenance Plan

Remember that DIY maintenance doesn’t take the place of professional servicing. In order to keep your HVAC in “charmed” condition, it is important to schedule annual maintenance twice a year. If you’d like to join our Maintenance Plan or need to schedule your spring maintenance earlier, call us today at (713) 364-0226. We’ll make sure that your comfort level relies less on luck than by design!