There has been a time in every home where you didn’t give in and call a plumber or electrician but instead done some DIY and it felt great. So, why give up now and call a heating & air conditioning specialist for HVAC maintenance work when you can do it yourself. Just like a good old bike, HVAC equipment needs its wheels greased to keep it working in tip top condition. Remember a smooth running HVAC unit will save you energy since your systems won’t have to work as hard to bring cooled and heated air into your home. Air sealing and insulating your unit can save you 30 percent plus on your bills – now for a few hours work that’s a pretty nice return.
Now here are a few warnings before jumping right in. Firstly, always make sure before starting any work on the internal components that the power to your HVAC unit has been disconnected. Secondly, the projects explained to you below are all small DIY projects that can be done without any professional help but for major repairs it is best to call a heating and air conditioning professional. Major repairs done by an inexperienced homeowner can throw off the entire home’s air pressure and air quality and even create problems that end up costing a lot of money your energy bills. But if regular maintenance is done then major repairs can be prevented, so a little work now will go a long way in the future.
So, let’s get started with a few weekend projects that even a trainee handyman can do.
Change Your Furnace’s Oil Filter
Just like any car can get a little gummed up from time to time, oil-fired furnaces are just the same if the filter has not been changed. The filters will need to be changed twice a year to keep it running smoothly, once halfway through the heating season and again right before it gets cold. In most units the oil filter is in the base that drops right off after loosening the bolt. Shut off the oil supply using the valve then pull the base off, clean it out and insert a new filter.
Seal Leaking Ducts
Off course we all one a high performance unit but air conditioning and heating units are as efficient as its ductwork. At the joints and the seams leaks and gaps overtime can form in ducts and you will be able to feel the effects of this when the room gets stuffy and feels uncomfortable or when certain spaces in the house that are always too cold or too hot.
You can save up to several hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bill by sealing these leaks. It is very simple to fix, you will need to feel them out with your hands and understand where the actual gaps are, and then apply mastic sealant or metal tape (ironically, not duct tape) over the gaps.
Clean Your AC’s Condenser and Evaporator Coils
Every air conditioner unit has a cover to protect it but still dust, grit and other foreign objects still manage to find their way into the internal parts, which then slows down the unit performance. Dirty condenser and evaporator coils limit the air flow through your system, then your home will not stay cool and you will most likely put up the air conditioner to the max so it can get cool and the end of the month your utility bill will be sky high by as much as 30 percent more than usual.
Again this is a very simple task, just pop off the access panel and dust them out with compressed air and damp cloth dipped in soapy water. Make sure they dry properly and then turn the unit back on. If your coils are extremely dirty and you are not able to clean them then contact a service repairman.
Just remember all these tasks will save you money in the long run, who knows what you buy with all that extra money.