Spring HVAC System Maintenance Tips
For most Toronto locals, few things in life beat a cool blast of A/C during the sweltering summer months. Spring is the perfect time to assess the health of your HVAC system and make repairs. Most homeowners can perform a rudimentary HVAC overhaul themselves without the need for specialized tools. Doing so will allow you to save your money for bigger repairs that require a professional.
Why Spring HVAC Maintenance Is So Important
There are dozens of upsides that come with properly maintaining your HVAC infrastructure. An annual spring HVAC tune-up will ensure the following.
Improved Energy Efficiency
There's no denying the reality that an air conditioner draws a ton of power under the best of circumstances. Poorly maintained HVAC systems have to work a lot harder to deliver adequate cooling if they're even capable of doing that. As such, it's in your best interests to guarantee that your HVAC system is using as little electricity as possible by performing yearly check-ups during the spring.
Enhanced System Longevity
While a central A/C system won't cost as much as a new car, it's hardly a trivial purchase. Installing central air will set you back anywhere from $3,800 to $7,500 depending on the size of your home and the complexity of the system. Consequently, routine A/C maintenance is a sound investment that can save you a ton of money on future HVAC repair and replacement.
Superior System Performance
If you neglect regular spring HVAC maintenance, rest assured that the system won't blow very cool air when you want it most. What's more, an inefficient A/C unit will take forever to cool any given room to your desired temperature. Furthermore, HVAC systems that have been neglected for years on end will result in poor indoor air quality that can exacerbate health conditions like allergies and asthma.
Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips to Live By
If you want your HVAC to deliver the goods throughout the summer, this comprehensive maintenance checklist will get the job done.
Swap Out the Air Filter Often
Changing air filters is hands down the simplest way for homeowners to make HVAC systems deliver the best performance. A cheap air filter can be had for less than $10. Try to find a quality filter from a trusted manufacturer that's capable of trapping particles as small as 1 micron. Changing the air filter at least once every 3 months will greatly improve air quality and system efficiency.
Thoroughly Clean Vents and Registers
Debris such as dust, dirt, dander and fur that isn't trapped by the air filter will eventually end up in the slats of output vents. Ensuring that vents and registers aren't obstructed by contaminants will allow an HVAC system to operate at peak efficiency. Unscrew each vent cover and wipe off the accumulated grime. You can use a dilute bleach solution to kill any bacteria that may be present.
Check for Duct Leaks and Insulation Gaps
Leaky ducts are responsible for more wasted energy than most Toronto homeowners would assume. Performing an annual inspection for cracks in ducts will ensure that cold air isn't being directed towards spaces that don't require cooling. While you're at it, make sure that ducts and pipes are insulated properly. Well-insulated HVAC conduits allow central air units to control temperatures in different areas of the house with maximum efficiency.
Find and Repair Leaks in the Home's Exterior
It's hard to keep a home's interior cool during the dog days of summer if significant amounts of cold air are escaping through the walls. The areas around windows and doors are notorious trouble spots. Fortunately, you can easily seal up window and door leaks by applying a bead of caulk around these openings. If you have a fireplace chimney, make sure that the flue damper is completely closed.
Clean the Interior Evaporator Unit
Your HVAC system's evaporator is a device that sucks thermal energy from the air and transfers it to the condenser. Dirty evaporator coils reduce the efficiency of the system and result in sub-par performance across the board. Locate the evaporator coils, spray them down with a quality no-rinse coil cleaner and wipe off the excess. Make sure that the breaker to the HVAC system is off while doing this.
Check the Electrical Connections
If any component of your HVAC system isn't getting the power it needs, you'll likely experience any number of A/C malfunctions. When inspecting your HVAC system, be sure to be on the lookout for dodgy connections and wires with compromised insulation. Unintentional grounding is a major cause for concern. If nothing else, faulty wiring can be a major fire hazard that should be addressed ASAP.
Check the Condensate Drain Line
The evaporator found inside your home within the main central air unit produces a lot of moisture via condensation. Typically, a small pipe or hose funnels that water outside via a drainage line. Over time, that line can become clogged and lead to major problems. Using a snake or compressed air to dislodge particulates from the condensate drain line will save you a lot of headache.
Ensure That Refrigerant Levels Are Adequate
Much like a refrigerator, your HVAC system relies on gases known as refrigerants to extract heat from a space and move it elsewhere. If you don't have enough refrigerant in the system, your A/C will blow hot air. Since refrigerant isn't consumed under normal circumstances, low levels indicate a leak. If your refrigerant levels are low, have a qualified technician assess the problem and seal the leak.
Make Sure That the Compressor Is Working Properly
As the engine that powers a generic HVAC system, the compressor is prone to malfunctions and outright failure during the hottest summer months. Typically housed within the exterior condenser unit, compressors tend to get pretty noisy when they're on the verge of dying. If your compressor is making a racket, it's best to call in a specialist to check its amp draw and diagnose the problem.
Inspect and Clean the Condenser Coils
Much like the radiator found in your car or truck, the condenser coils of an A/C unit can't do their job if they're covered in debris. You can make sure that your condenser coils are ready to rock with a few simple tools and cleaners. Start by using a shop vacuum to remove contaminants. Use a foaming cleanser after that to strip away stubborn deposits.
Install a New Smart Thermostat
If you really want to guarantee the health and longevity of your HVAC system, an inexpensive "smart" thermostat is the way to go. These nifty devices allow you to precisely fine-tune cooling schedules and maximize efficiency as the weather changes. Most smart thermostats can be controlled remotely via a Wi-Fi connection. As far as HVAC investments go, smart thermostats deliver the best bang for your buck.
Making Your HVAC System Fire on All Cylinders the Right Way
Toronto homeowners that are serious about A/C and HVAC maintenance don't skimp on high-quality parts or professional service. The Boiler Shoppe can meet all of your HVAC repair needs when it comes to both. We have the inventory and know-how required to keep your HVAC infrastructure in great shape over the long haul. When cool air is a must, there's no better outfit to trust.