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With colder weather right around the corner, homeowners need to make sure their HVAC units are in operational condition. After months of working overtime to beat the heat, these pieces of equipment have to make a complete 180 to keep your home warm during Boston’s infamously cold fall and winter seasons.
While a high-quality HVAC unit should last anywhere between one and two decades, there are steps you can take to drastically increase its life span and maximize its efficiency. These strategies will help save you money in the long run by lowering your monthly utility costs and limiting the need for expensive repairs or replacements.
Let’s take a look at some HVAC maintenance tips to help you to get the most out of your HVAC unit.
Use a programmable thermostat.
Most modern HVAC units come with a programmable thermostat. These advanced pieces of technology allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling based on a predetermined schedule. In other words, your unit can be programmed to turn itself up or down any hour of the day depending on your needs.
When used correctly, a programmable thermostat can work wonders for your HVAC’s energy efficiency and lifespan. For example, you can have the unit turn off automatically after you leave and flip back on right before you return home.
Don’t forget to adjust the settings as the seasons change and your home’s temperature needs fluctuate.
Replace the filter regularly.
HVAC filters clean the air in your home by catching and holding debris as air is circulated in and out. You’ll need to replace these filters every three months in order to keep your HVAC unit running as smoothly as possible.
When filters are full of dirt, dust, and other contagions, your unit has to work harder to push the air through. This not only reduces energy efficiency and increases utility costs by requiring more energy, but it also decreases air purity.
Pay careful attention to ensure you’re replacing your filters with the right kind. There are a variety of different HVAC filters including fiberglass, pleaded, electrostatic, and HEPA filters. In order for your unit to run efficiently, the filter needs to be compatible with your unique piece of equipment.
Keep your home air-tight.
HVACs can’t work optimally when there are openings in your home allowing air to escape. When this occurs, your unit has to work overtime which can lead to higher energy bills and an increased chance of operational issues.
It’s important to keep windows and doors closed throughout the day when your system is running. You’ll also want to check to make sure the seals around your door and window frames are intact.
If you really want to get the most out of your HVAC unit, you can check ductwork connections for any gaps where air might be able to leak out.
Clear space around the unit.
Trees, bushes, leaves, tall grass, and other items around your HVAC unit can lower efficiency and output. It’s advisable to leave at least a few feet of empty space on each side and on the top of your system.
This space allows for proper airflow and can help reduce the chances of debris getting inside the machine. In the fall, you should rake regularly to ensure leaves aren’t piling up around this area. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure snow doesn’t pile up too much on the unit in the wintertime.
Remove debris from your system.
Even if there’s nothing around your HVAC unit, small pieces of debris will undoubtedly find their way inside and on the outside of the system. Anything from leaves and blades of grass to twigs and pebbles might be preventing your system from operating properly.
On most units, you should be able to use a garden hose on a light spray to remove the smaller bits of debris you can’t by hand. Be sure not to ruin the fins in the process and never resort to using a power washer.
If you’re worried about harming your HVAC unit, you can always hire a professional to provide routine cleaning. These services are quick, inexpensive, and critically important to the health of your system, so don’t forget about this step.
Service your drain pipe and drain pan.
If you know your way around an HVAC unit, it’s a good idea to clean out the drain pipe stemming from the evaporator coil. Debris and mold can build up in this area and create problems for the system. You can take a wet-dry vacuum or rag to this area every few weeks to ensure everything is running properly.
While you have the unit open, take out the drain pan and give it a good rinse. A drain pan is designed to collect condensation and other liquids but will sometimes catch debris. If you’re not sure where either of these components is located, hiring a professional is your best bet.
Hire professional maintenance help.
While there are excellent steps you can take to get the most out of your HVAC unit, there’s nothing quite as effective as hiring a professional.
With specialized tools, industry knowledge, and years of practical experience, these experts can spot issues you might overlook. They’ll provide any necessary maintenance and repairs to help keep your HVAC unit running at maximum efficiency.
It’s advisable to have a servicing conducted at least twice per year when the weather changes from hot to cold and back again. Having a professional conduct regular maintenance on your equipment can help improve its lifespan by helping it stay in tip-top shape for longer.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your HVAC unit, the professionals at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating can help. From routine inspections and maintenance to replacements and repairs, we’ve got all of your HVAC needs covered. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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