Spring is almost here, and if you are like most homeowners, you are beginning to compile a list of spring cleaning tasks you want to complete in the coming months. In compiling this list, make sure you do not overlook your heating and cooling system. A little cleaning and care right now will prep your system for air conditioning season and minimize your need for repair calls.
Here are five HVAC-related tasks to include on your spring cleaning checklist.
1. Change Your Air Filter
Really, this should be on your monthly to-do list, but many homeowners forget to change their air filter as often as they should. You're better off changing it late than never.
Check the size of your HVAC filter and shop for a new one at your local hardware store. A standard, disposable filter made from pleated cotton is sufficient for most homes. If a family member has allergies, you may want to pay a bit more for a high-efficiency filter.
A new filter will keep your air conditioner, furnace, and entire home cleaner. It will also improve your system's energy efficiency.
2. Vacuum the Vents
Air vents tend to attract dust. If you clear away this dust now, it won't get blown through your home when you turn on the AC in a few weeks.
Remove each air vent using a screwdriver. If the vent is really dirty, wash it with soap and water, and then let it air-dry. Otherwise, you can just vacuum the dust off of the vent using the wand attachment for your vacuum. Also, vacuum the area inside the duct that you can easily reach. Screw the vent back into place.
3. Change Your Thermostat Batteries
Thermostats usually give you a warning when the batteries are about to die. But what if you are out of town when the light goes on and the batteries die completely before you get back? Your air conditioner will not run if the thermostat batteries are dead. Thermostat batteries usually last a year or more, so if you preemptively change them each spring, you don't have to worry about sudden failure.
For most thermostats, you just have to slide the thermostat off the wall, remove the existing batteries, and pop new ones into place. Make sure you check whether your thermostat takes AA or AAA batteries so you buy the right ones at the store. Keep some spares on hand for future changes.
4. Clean the Condenser
The condenser is the outdoor portion of your air conditioning system. Over the winter, it tends to get dirty with leaves, road grime, and other debris. Thankfully, the condenser easy to clean, and a thorough cleaning in the spring will keep your AC working efficiently all summer.
First, turn the power off to the AC condenser. Then use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to suck the dust off the fins, which are the thin, comb-like pieces of metal covering the condenser. If any fins are badly bent, straighten them with a butter knife. Next, hose off the fins to wash away any stuck-on grime. Let the unit dry, and then restore power.
5. Clear Away Weeds
When you're cleaning the condenser, also take a minute to pull any weeds that have grown up around it. Trim back any bushes or shrubs near the unit too. Your air conditioner requires two feet of space on all sides in order to receive proper airflow. If weeds grow too close and block airflow, the unit may freeze over or fail to cool your home adequately.
Is your to-do list growing faster than you can keep up with? Leave the HVAC maintenance to ET Ferrell & Son Heating & Air Conditioning Specialists instead. We offer fast and reliable maintenance and repair services to get your system ready for the new season