Homeownership comes with a slew of responsibilities. The upkeep can be overwhelming at times – especially if you’re calling on a professional every time something goes wrong. There are certain home maintenance tasks that homeowners can tackle on their own. For instance, taking care of your HVAC system is something you can have a hand in. Follow these essential DIY HVAC maintenance tips to keep your system running smoothly longer! 

Why is it Important to Learn HVAC DIY Skills? 

Before we dive into the tips, let’s dissect why it’s important to gain DIY skills around HVAC maintenance. Many homeowners won’t be aware that there’s something amiss with their HVAC system until it’s too late. If your system is running inefficiently and you’re not paying attention to it, you might not notice the issue until the system stops working or there’s an increase in your energy bill. 

A reactive approach to HVAC maintenance can be costly and inconvenient. If you’re actively maintaining your system on your own, you can prevent avoidable issues and even extend your system’s lifespan. Under proper maintenance, your system can last anywhere from 15-20 years. 

Tips for DIY HVAC Maintenance 

There are plenty of ways you can proactively assure your HVAC system is in good working shape on your own terms. Every two months or so, take some time to go through these tips to cultivate your own maintenance routine between professional services. 

Simply Keep Your System Clean 

As simple as it seems, keeping your system nice a clean can go a long way in HVAC maintenance. Plenty of issues can crop up as a result of dust and debris collection within and around the system. Take a look at the components of your heat pump or furnace to see if anything looks dirty. Wipe it down making note of anything that looks odd or damaged. This can be a great time to evaluate if there’s any existing damage too. 

Change Out the Air Filters Regularly

Regularly changing out your air filters is a vital piece of DIY HVAC maintenance. Your system depends on having an obstruction-free path for air to pass through. If you let your filter get too dirty, it will eventually start to over-exert itself as a result of the clogged-up air filter. 

We recommend changing your air filter out at least twice a year. But you may need to do so more frequently if you have pets or if you have allergies. If either of these scenarios applies to you, it might be best to change your filter out every 1 - 2 months depending on the MERV rating of your filter.  

Maintain House Registers

Just like dust in the filter and HVAC system itself can be harmful, so can dust and obstructions on the registrars throughout your home. If you notice dust collecting around these vents, be sure to remove them and clean them with soap and water. Also, try not to block the registrars with furniture or other items. Both dust and obstructions can negatively impact your HVAC system’s ability to work efficiently.   

Take Care of Thermostat 

Your thermostat is a key component of your HVAC system. There are a few ways you can tend to it in order to maintain overall HVAC functionality. First and foremost, check the batteries. Thermostat batteries can last roughly 2 years. Change the batteries as soon as it’s low. Another maintenance task that might not seem important is to keep it clean. Using a small q-tip or brush to clean off debris and dust can help keep it running smoothly for years to come. Lastly, perform a test to make sure both the heating and cooling functions are working. Pay attention to excessive delays – this can be a sign that there’s an issue with the HVAC system.  

Keep Up With Duct Maintenance

Dust can also make its way into your air ducts. Keeping them clean can extend the lifespan of your HVAC system. It can also reduce how often you have to dust as well as improve your indoor air quality. To spot clean your ducts, use a vacuum cleaner or shop vac to remove dust from the openings of your ducts. If you want a deep clean, you’ll need to reach out to a professional. 

What About My Air Conditioner? 

While your air conditioner isn’t technically a part of your HVAC system, it’s still important to know how to do maintenance on it yourself too. Here are a handful of ways to do so. 

Keep Both Indoor and Outdoor Unit Clean 

Just like your heating system, your AC will run best when it’s clean. 

Over time, dirt, leaves, twigs, and other debris will collect in the outdoor unit of your AC. Be sure to sweep away debris from around the outdoor unit and wipe down the outside of it. You can also clean the fins on the side of the machine and assure that the metal is not bent out of shape. 

Before moving on, be sure that the outdoor compressor is level. If it’s not, the slope can disrupt the flow of oil and refrigerant through your system. 

Dust can also collect in and around your indoor unit. Be sure to give it a good wipe-down when conducting your DIY HVAC maintenance. 

Maintain the Evaporator Coil and Drain 

The evaporator coil and drain are vital to a properly functioning air conditioner. Be sure to inspect each of these while going through your DIY maintenance process. 

You can find the evaporator coils in the access panel on the air handler unit. If this component is covered in dirt, dust, or mold, it can clog or freeze during the peak cooling season. Use a spray designed for coils such as a no-rinse foam cleaner to wipe it down. 

There can be a lot of excess liquid created during the cooling process – especially when the temperatures are high. This is where to evaporator drain comes into play. To assure all that liquid makes it out of the system properly, free the drain of any dirt and debris you notice around the drain. You can use a shop vac, specialty drain cleaner, or simply a wet rag to clean this area. 

Use Fans When Possible

Fans are a lifesaver during the peak of summer heat. Instead of keeping your AC on blast all season, use fans on milder days. You can also open your windows to increase airflow while using your fans. Ceiling fans or portable fans can both be beneficial in giving your AC a break. 

Invest in a Maintenance Plan 

DIY maintenance will make a huge difference in the functionality of your HVAC system and AC. The tips above are manageable tasks that just about anyone can perform. But there are some maintenance and repair tasks that a professional will be able to accomplish more efficiently. If you want to protect your system even further, invest in an HVAC maintenance plan. 

At To the T Plumbing and Heating, we can help you keep your family comfortable in your home regardless of the season. When you choose us as your trusted HVAC company, we will visit your home and conduct a thorough inspection two to three times a year. We proudly serve Denver, Thornton, Brighton, Longmont, and the surrounding areas. Get in touch with us today for more information!