Your home’s HVAC system is one of the most important systems on your property. Proper care and maintenance is essential to ensure the best performance and air quality from your system. Below, we discuss HVAC maintenance tips to help keep yours in optimal condition.
What is an HVAC System?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and this system gives you fresh air or air-cooled air in the summer and heating in the winter. A built-in thermostat detects changes in temperature within the home and activates the action that either cools or heats the air.
The most important part of your modern HVAC system is the air filter, as it determines the air quality and comfort you get in your home. A properly installed and well-maintained air filter can bring you many benefits. Here are some of the more important factors of HVAC maintenance:
Clean the filter regularly for better performance
Before your HVAC is able to warm or cool the air it receives, the air first has to pass through filters. The dirtier the filter, the more difficult it is for air to pass through, putting undue stress on your system. Changing the filter regularly ensures more efficient warming or cooling of air. Here are a few signs that can indicate it’s time to change your filter:
- Your filter’s color has changed considerably from its original color
- Accumulation of dust
- Your HVAC’s system cycles are longer than usual
- Your home is not warm or cool enough
- Some family members may be sneezing more — a sign that those sensitive to airborne particles may be reacting to trapped allergens like dust, pet dander, and pollen
- Your energy bill is much higher than usual — a possible indicator of inefficient HVAC system performance
Know the different air filters and what they are for
HVAC filters come in different sizes, thickness, and efficiency ratings, and are used for different purposes. It is important then to know which filter to use for your HVAC system. Here are some common types of air filters:
- High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters – These can trap up to 99.7% of dust, pollen, bacteria, mold, and airborne particles the size of 0.3 microns. They are the most efficient filters and the most expensive but are usually cost-effective enough to require changing only every few years.
- Pleated filters
- Fiberglass filters
- Washable filters
- Electrostatic filters
- UV filters
The type of air filter you buy depends on your budget and on your needs. If you have family members who are very sensitive to allergens, usually you would want to invest in HEPA filters. If no one in your home is that sensitive, the less expensive filters can do. It is actually more important that filters are changed regularly so your HVAC system does not break down and need repair.
Installing filters in the right direction matters
You need to know what is the right furnace filter direction. Filters that are not installed facing the right direction can build debris faster and force your HVAC system to work harder.
If you are installing the same kind of filters, you can pull out the old filters slowly, noting the direction of the filter, then insert the new filter the same way. Usually the filters also come with arrows that indicate which side goes first into the HVAC system. The arrow should be inserted facing towards the HVAC system.
Like any machine, regular maintenance is important. Keep your HVAC system clean always and it will give you comfortable and quality air in all seasons.