Texas Living

Your Annual HVAC Maintenance Checklist

By Michaela Brandt 8.1.19

Take a deep breath — and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained HVAC system.

Your HVAC system can do much more than keep your home comfortable during the dreaded heat of summer. It can also help you breathe easier by improving your indoor-air quality, and save you money on energy bills by using power more efficiently.

Get the most out of your system by crossing these eight tasks off your HVAC maintenance checklist once a year.

Check and Replace Air Filters

Having a good flow in your home is about more than feng shui. It’s about your air filters providing a clean, healthy airflow throughout your living spaces.

“Out of sight, out of mind” can have serious consequences when attributed to your HVAC system’s air filter. Your air filter is your home’s first line of defense against harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like dirt, dust, and allergens getting into your air.

It also directly impacts the efficiency of your HVAC system. So, replacing your air filter quite literally makes your family breathe easier by ensuring a regular supply of clean air throughout your home and the energy savings of an efficient system.

☐ Set a reminder on your phone or circle a date in your calendar to check your filter every month.
☐ Replace your air filters at least every 90 days, or more as needed.

Clean Vents and Registers

You want to be open to new things in life, right? So do your vents. Keeping your vents and registers open and clear is important for maintaining proper airflow throughout your home. Completing your annual HVAC maintenance checklist is the perfect time to check that your vents and registers are open and clean.

☐ Wipe off vents and registers with a damp cloth to rid them of any dust, cobwebs, or other debris blocking airflow. (Pro tip: For hard-to-reach places, use your vacuum cleaner’s tube attachment.)
☐ Leave them in an open position.

Switch Your Ceiling-Fan Blades

Ceiling fans can be your saving grace in August, but they can also save you in the winter. When your fan spins clockwise, it creates an updraft in your room and redistributes warm air, curbing your urge to crank up the heat. Changing your blade rotation could save you up to 15 percent in heating costs. (Just remember to change the direction back at the beginning of summer to enjoy its cooling windchill effects.)

☐ Change your blade rotation when weather cools.
☐ Change it back when it gets hot again.

Replace Batteries

While many modern thermostats are not battery-operated, most manufacturers still recommend placing batteries in the systems in the event of a power outage. So, smart thermostat or not, you should check and replace your system’s batteries to ensure your thermostat is properly powered.

As part of your routine HVAC maintenance checklist, you should check and replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors as well.

☐ Change your thermostat’s batteries.
☐ Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Seal Up Costly Air Leaks

Keeping your home sealed properly is an easy, cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs and maintain healthy indoor-air quality. You can hire a qualified technician to conduct and energy audit and blower door test to identify these leaks for you. You can also do a visual inspection of a few key areas. Some air leaks may require professional service, repair, or replacement, but most can be easily sealed with caulking or weather stripping.

☐ Plumbing, ducting, and electrical wiring
☐ Doors and windows
☐ Attics and basements

Add Insulation as Needed

Proper insulation is key to year-round comfort and energy savings. As a good rule of thumb, your insulation should be between 10 and 16 inches deep.

☐ Check the depth of your attic insulation.
☐ If needed, schedule an appointment with a qualified technician to address your needs.

Check Your Outdoor Unit

We usually like to forget these are there, but completing a few easy tasks will help ensure good airflow to increase your system’s efficiency and lifespan.

☐ Walk around your outdoor unit to make sure its foundation is firm and level and that there’s at least a 2-foot clearance around the system.
☐ Trim back any plants too close to the system, as well as overhanging limbs that could break off in a storm and damage the unit.
☐ Take a moment to turn off the unit and wipe it down to clear any leaves, dirt, or pollen.

Schedule Biannual Appointments

Most other, heavy-duty HVAC maintenance checklist items require a professional. During these appointments, a qualified technician will check thermostat settings, lubricate moving parts, measure voltage and current, tighten electrical connections, and more.

☐ Take the time now to review your service agreement and schedule biannual appointments.

Pro tip: Schedule your A/C maintenance in late winter-early spring to prep your system for the cooling season. Schedule furnace maintenance in late summer-early fall for the heating season.

Keep your family healthy, too, with back-to-school checkups.

© 2019 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance