Your HVAC Maintenance Checklist | Schedule Maintenance Today

It’s critical to take care of HVAC maintenance before the cold season so that your home is prepared for chilly, sweater weather. The importance of prevention really can’t be emphasized enough. Ideally, this home maintenance should be done on a regular basis to cut back on the need for expensive HVAC repairs in the future. It’s also important for your comfort and health!

In this blog post we’re going to share with you some things you need to keep an eye on when it comes to HVAC maintenance, as well as how a specialist can help.

Essential HVAC Maintenance

Even if your heating and cooling systems seem to be working just fine, they may not be as efficient as they could be. A yearly tune-up will ensure that your heating and cooling systems are working at their optimal efficiency levels; this can help you save money on your monthly electric bill too. A professional HVAC tune-up will also identify any issues with things like airflow or faulty parts.

Is Your Heater Ready?

The first step to making sure your home is comfortable during the coming cold season is to make sure your heating system is running effectively. This, of course, requires routine HVAC maintenance, like making sure the blower motor is working right.

If you have a gas furnace, the exhaust flue needs to be checked to verify that it’s clear as well. This is because carbon monoxide is a serious threat to our homes, but an HVAC specialist can help keep your household safe. If the exhaust flue becomes blocked, carbon monoxide can build up inside your house.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is colorless and odorless. It’s created by the burning of fuel, such as leaving a car idling in a garage. It’s so dangerous to breathe in CO because it actually displaces oxygen in your blood. This can cause both short-term and long-term health effects, and even result in death.

Replace Air Filters

Air filters are typically replaced every three months (90 days), or as recommended by the manufacturer. A dirty filter that’s full of trapped dust and allergens obviously won’t be as efficient, and can actually increase your monthly energy costs. It’s also not great for your health, so be sure to change air filters regularly to remove dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens from the air that circulates through your home.

Clean AC Condenser Coils

Do you have an air conditioner? Have your AC condenser coils cleaned at least once a year. Dirty, clogged coils can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system and lead to expensive AC repair work. Also, be sure to remove debris around an outdoor air conditioning unit, such as grass clippings or leaves that accumulate during yardwork.

Flush Your Water Heater

How do you know if your water heat needs to be flushed? In general, it’s a good idea to have this done once a year by a professional who provides HVAC maintenance. This will help make sure there are no sediment blockages in hoses or fittings that can lead to frustrating issues. There are some common signs to watch out for, including a lack of hot water, strange smells, and even rusty-looking water.

Check Hoses for Cracks or Leaks

An HVAC expert will also check hoses for cracks or leaks. If they’re damaged, they will need to be replaced with hoses that match the original equipment and specifications. This is essential because it can help prevent extensive damage in the long run. An HVAC expert should check all hoses to ensure they’re in good working order.

Swap Out Old Thermostat Batteries

A simple thing you can do on your own is check the batteries in your thermostat to make sure they’re still working properly. It’s usually not too tricky to swap them out for a fresh pair if it’s needed. But if your thermostat is not working properly or is showing signs of wear and tear, replacing the batteries may not fix the problem. If it’s still not functioning properly even after new batteries have been installed, then a professional can check the controls.

Inspect for Leaks with Gas Furnaces

If you have a gas furnace, you will also need an expert to inspect the entire system for any possible gas leaks. As mentioned above, this is one of the most important steps you need to take as a homeowner to protect your household.

Check for Faulty Fans

Faulty fans can act up in different ways, like continuing to circulate air at high speeds. This can really cause unnecessary wear and tear on some HVAC parts. Humming or rattling are a strong indication that your AC fan motor needs to be replaced or repaired.

Examine Ductwork and Vents

This is also the best time to have ductwork and vents examined. These parts need to be in good shape for your HVAC system to function at its best. Did you know that dirty ducts can harm the air quality of your home? It pays to remove the buildup and grime that accumulates over time. It’s also possible for air ducts to leak if they become loose or disconnected. In some cases, wild animals have even been known to build nests inside ductwork, which can cause issues as well.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance Today

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to the HVAC maintenance in your home. Keep in mind that a problem is much easier and (usually) cheaper to fix before disaster strikes, so schedule an annual HVAC tune-up to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system!

These tasks will help keep your living space as comfortable as possible during both the cold winter months and the hottest summer days! Preventative measures can also save you the hassle of needing an emergency HVAC repair or replacement that could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Let’s Talk

Here at Palo Alto Plumbing, our team can solve anything from a drippy faucet to a cracked sewer pipe, and also take care of all your HVAC needs. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will ensure your household’s health and safety by providing quality services.

Contact us at 650-405-1460 or fill out a contact form to chat with us today.

A Guide to Spring HVAC Maintenance

If you have an HVAC system in your home, there are a few things you should hire a professional technician to inspect at the start of each new year. After all, your HVAC needs important maintenance before every season.

Here’s a checklist that you can use in the spring to keep your HVAC up and running throughout the year. Although, be sure to keep in mind that it’s not safe for homeowners to perform most of these tasks on their own.

Check the Thermostat

Obviously, your thermostat is the main way you control your HVAC system. You use it to adjust your home or office to the right temperature. Whether or not you’re heating or cooling your space, this thermostat should show you an accurate indoor temperature. To test this, you can purchase another thermometer to make sure there isn’t a big difference. You can also program your thermostat to turn on and off at a certain time. Just make sure that it’s working properly.

Check the System Controls

Make sure all the controls are working correctly. The system should turn on or off when using the thermostat. If it’s not operating well, try changing the batteries in your controller. If a setting or function isn’t responding at all, you need an HVAC professional to take a closer look at it because this requires professional skills to troubleshoot.

Check All the Electrical Connections

This will require a certified HVAC technician to take a thorough look at your system. They will check the electrical connection and make sure the wires are attached to their connection points. Of course, while doing this, it’s best if they turn off the electricity that feeds directly to your HVAC. So, be prepared by knowing where the shut-off switch is. This allows them to check the wires safely, without the threat of being shocked or electrocuted.

Lubricate Moving Parts

A certified HVAC tech will also lubricate moving parts. They may use a bottle of machine oil or a specially formulated lubricant spray like WD-40. The little applicator straw will help them get into cramped areas that need extra lubrication. An HVAC tech will focus on motors that have moving parts, such as the fan axils and heating blower. It’s best to leave this job to a pro.

Change the Filters

Every HVAC system has filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. These filters trap dust and pollen that can infiltrate your home. Unfortunately, they accumulate over time, so you need to have them replaced every now and then. It also puts some extra strain on your HVAC system, causing poor airflow as a result. Spring is the perfect time to take care of this because all the plants are about to bloom and spread their pollen.

Inspect the Condensation Drain

Inspecting the condensation drain is important before cleaning it. A trained HVAC tech will remove anything that’s collected in the drain. If your drain is clogged, it can cause overflowing water, which can ruin your HVAC and cause other kinds of damage. You should have this done before spring. Trapped water may become stagnant, which means you could find yourself dealing with mold and humidity issues in your home.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Since spring is right around the corner, you’ll likely be using the air conditioner again in the coming weeks. This means that you should make sure that it’s running as efficiently as it should. Here’s what a certified HVAC tech can do to prepare your AC for warmer weather.

Clean and Adjust the Blowers

Your HVAC system should produce excellent airflow, so having the blower inspected by a specialist is a must before the weather heats up. This includes cleaning off dust or any built-up sediment that covers the parts. A professional will use a vacuum brush to get into spots where you can’t easily reach on your own. They may also use something that looks like a paint brush to sweep out the dust inside the edges of the blowers. This is a soft tool that won’t damage anything.

Check the Fluid Levels

Don’t check fluid levels on your own. The potential to leak dangerous freon/ refrigerant into the air is high and harmful. An HVAC professional will check the levels and add more if it has dropped. Having too little fluid can affect your air conditioner’s efficiency, leading to increased energy costs.

Clean Off the Coils

You need to have the coils cleaned off, too. They connect to the condenser of your air conditioner. These coils play a huge part in cooling your home, and if they are covered with dust and dirt, they won’t function properly. Even though your HVAC has a cover, outdoor air can still pass through your home, carrying all sorts of contaminants with it. A certified HVAC technician will also remove things like spider webs and debris with a clean paint brush.

Other Helpful Tips to Follow:

Turn Off Water to the Furnace Humidifier

Since you aren’t going to be using the heater function anymore you need to have the furnace’s water supply turned off. If you have an HVAC that includes this type of add on, it needs to be shut off. There will be a simple exterior valve that can be closed to keep water from getting into the humidifier itself. An HVAC professional can look this over and make sure everything is in order.

Check the HVAC for the Remaining Level

It doesn’t hurt to have a pro give your HVA equipment a once-over to see how level it’s sitting. They will inspect the ground around it for any signs of leaning or soil settling. Earthquakes can often cause the soil in your yard to settle over time and unintentionally cause your HVAC to lean very slightly.

Pour a Drain Cleaner into the Condensation Drain

A technician may also determine that it’s a good idea to pour a drain cleaner inside the drain to kill mold or mildew that grew during the winter months. Sometimes this can help control any smell coming up from the drain, which can seep into the entire HVAC system in your home.

Need an HVAC Professional?

Leave these essential HVAC maintenance tasks to a pro. If you need a professional to handle your spring maintenance, you can always seek help by searching for “HVAC companies near me.” A lot of homes have their own HVAC systems, but only a few maintain proper upkeep. This is really important for a lot of reasons. You could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. We offer a wide variety of essential services, including 24-hour emergency HVAC service. For fast and reliable HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-405-1460. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Dangers of DIY HVAC Hacks

 

HVAC system installs aren’t cheap – there’s no denying it. Your home comfort is an investment and we understand that when you can save a few bucks, you do what you can. The best ways to save on HVAC costs are to conserve energy where possible and perform routine maintenance on your system to prevent excess repairs. However, many homeowners are turning to the web to find ‘Hacks’ in preparation to DIY their HVAC and results are COSTLY.

We get it – you DIY your brick patio to avoid hiring a landscaper and maybe it isn’t as pretty. But it sure was cheaper. You looked up kitchen remodel hacks and found that re-staining your cabinets could change the whole look – so you did it yourself and LOVED the results. In the era of the internet, there’s nothing you can’t YouTube! This includes HVAC hacks.

However, trying to ‘hack’ your HVAC system or DIY an install or repair could cost you more money, more hassle, and worse yet, your safety. Unlike in the case of a kitchen cabinet re-up or a landscaping venture, HVAC work requires training and licensure because it is complex and risky. There are two major considerations for why HVAC hacks aren’t worth it

HVAC Hacks are not safe.

A big misconception about the HVAC profession is that it is low-risk. In fact, working with high voltage electricity, dangerous chemicals, and in touchy environs such as attics and crawl spaces – we see our fair share of injuries and take mega risks. Homeowners who take on our repairs or installations thinking there’s no risk are overlooking major hazards. Not only could you injure yourself in numerous ways while working on your system, but you will also put your entire family at risk of air quality contamination from a leak of refrigerant gas or furnace fuel.

HVAC Hacks are unreliable.

As you probably know, the internet is packed with erroneous information. Not everyone is trying to scam you with a flat-out lie, but many people produce content believing it is true, and being WAY off. In the HVAC industry, some technicians have produced helpful, accurate content but it is meant to be shared between trained professionals – not to assist homeowners who don’t have the background knowledge to perform tasks safely. Similarly, content not endorsed by a professional at all is 100% unsafe and runs the risk of being entirely wrong. Don’t take that chance.

HVAC Hacks are not cheaper.

First, you will need to purchase a handful of tools you do not already own – HVAC is a specialty that requires specialized gauges and tools. Without these tools, you simply won’t be able to perform your install or repair to code and if you purchase them, you’ll spend a pretty penny (possibly more than you would to have it professional repaired!). Further, if you make a mistake in your install or repair – which is almost inevitable, since you are not trained – you may end up paying more to repair an even bigger issue or replace your system once damage is irreparable.

With the holidays on the horizon, the desire to save a few bucks is completely understandable. However, the financial implications of DIY HVAC hacks are a bit misunderstood and nothing is more valuable than the safety and comfort of your family this holiday season. For tips on HVAC maintenance you CAN perform yourself, check out more of our heating & cooling maintenance articles here.