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The heating and cooling equipment that keeps your home or business comfortable throughout the year is like any other machine — it can wear out and break down over time, especially if it isn’t well maintained. It is all too easy to take important items of maintenance for granted when your system works. When things break down, though, many often find themselves wishing they’d done something to prevent the problem in the first place. By knowing and sticking to an HVAC maintenance checklist, you can do everything you can to keep your equipment operating near peak condition.

What should go on your maintenance checklist? The items which follow include a mix of tasks you can and should regularly undertake on your own, along with maintenance items that require a more experienced team to tackle. Not sure what some of the terms below mean, or what the different parts of an air conditioner are? Take some time to learn about those things first, then start putting together a checklist like the one here.

Change Your Filters on a Regular Schedule

Caucasian Hands holding black pen and checking list on white paperIt is one of the most often repeated pieces of advice, but your air filter is your first line of defense for your HVAC system. Not only does it help to safeguard the quality of the air you breathe by trapping allergens, but it helps to keep excessive amounts of dust from accumulating on important components in your system. Monthly changes are ideal, though some modern filters feature a design intended to last for up to 90 days. Visually inspect your filters once a month and don’t go too long between changes.

Prevent Dust from Building Up in Key Spots

Your filter will keep a good deal of dust out of your system, but it can still build up in areas it shouldn’t. For example, if your air handler unit is inside of a closet or your return duct and filter are behind a grate, you should clean these spaces frequently. Large amounts of dust will tend to accumulate in these areas. It is both unsightly and undesirable, as it increases the chance for dust infiltration into your ducts. 

Keep Leaves and Plant Debris Away from Your Outdoor Unit

Observe the location of the outdoor unit for your air conditioner. Is it near bushes, hedges, or trees? It’s not uncommon for this unit to end up near some landscaping features due to a lack of available space. About once a month, head outside and clear off the area around this unit. Keep leaves from accumulating on top of the unit or around it, as this could affect efficiency and put too much strain on your compressor. Trim back tree branches to reduce the risk of damage to your equipment should one break.

Dust Mites in your HVAC Ducts

Keep Fresh Batteries in Your Thermostat

Did you know that blank thermostats are one of the most common complaints HVAC maintenance teams hear? It’s a frustrating problem that sometimes indicates a more serious problem with your installation, but most often means that the batteries powering it have run out of charge. Changing the batteries in your thermostat should be easy; follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most modern thermostats will display a low battery warning to let you know when it’s time for a swap.

An Annual Service Visit is a Must

While there are plenty of things you can do at home, there’s no substitute for a professional’s assistance. Once a year, call for preventative maintenance and an inspection from an HVAC team you trust. During this visit, your technicians will carry out a variety of tasks which may include:

  • Removing dust from interior system components, cleaning the compressor, and checking refrigerant levels
  • Replacing worn-out components and inspecting for signs of damage or excessive wear
  • Draining and cleaning condensation pans
  • Assessing the age, efficiency, and likely remaining lifespan of the unit

Don’t try to do these jobs yourself — turn to a team with the right tools and experience as a part of your HVAC maintenance checklist.

Periodic Air Duct Cleaning Helps You Breathe Easy

Even with regular filter changes and annual maintenance, your ductwork will become dirty. Over time, this could affect air quality, or even allow mold to begin growing in these hard-to-reach spaces. Every few years, inquire with your service provider about the need for duct cleaning. An inspection can reveal whether there are any issues to address, and thorough cleaning will ensure continued clean air in your home.

Seek Professional Help for Checking Off Your HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Whether you’ve noticed something unusual during your routine HVAC system inspections or it’s time to call in for an annual inspection, a friendly AC service provider can make all the difference. From putting you at ease about the maintenance of your system to answering any questions you have clearly and concisely, having the right contractor on your side is an invaluable asset. Know where to look for help, what questions to ask, and when to call for an appointment. With this HVAC maintenance checklist in hand, you can continue to stay comfo