Having a contractor in for annual preseason checkups helps keep air conditioning and heating systems operating at peak performance. Maintaining equipment prevents unnecessary problems and extra costs. Contractors are busy during peak seasons. Consider having them check cooling systems in the spring and heating systems in the fall, usually during daylight saving months.
Typical routine maintenance checklists include:
- Thermostat settings ensure cooling and heating operations keep you comfortable when you’re home and cut energy use when you’re not.
- Electrical connections should be tightened. Voltages and currents on motors should be measured. Poorly maintained electrical connections cause unsafe operation of your system while reducing the life of all components.
- Lubricate moving parts. Friction causes additional resistance in motors and increases the amount of electricity used.
- Inspect the condensate drain in central AC units, furnaces and heat pumps (for cooling modes). Plugged drains cause overflows and water damage, affecting indoor humidity levels.
- Controls ensure safe and proper operation. Check that the system cycles (starts, operates, and shuts off), properly.
- Evaporator and condenser air coils. Dusty, dirty coils reduce a system’s ability to cool your home. They cause the system to run longer, raising energy costs while shortening the life of the equipment.
- Check and adjust the refrigerant level of your central air conditioner. Too much or too little refrigerant is another sign that the system is not running efficiently, is using too much energy, or is being used in a way that will shorten its lifespan.
- Clean and adjust blower component. This provides proper airflow for greater comfort. Airflow problems the system to run up to 15% less efficiently.
- Check gas and oil connections. Improper connections are in fire hazard and can contribute to health problems.
- Gas pressure. Natural gas contains approximately 5% moisture. This can cause the diaphragm in pressure regulators to freeze in some winter climates. Rust preventing paint can help prevent leeks at joints.
- Burner combustion and heat exchanger. Dirty burners or a cracked heat exchanger cause improper operation. Either will cause equipment malfunction.
Do It Yourself Maintenance:
- Inspect, clean and change air filters. Your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump filters should be maintained at least once a month. Your contractor can show you how to do this. Good filtration can keep energy costs lower and enhance the longevity of your equipment.