If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time. No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel. One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven. According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!” The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?
Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey. With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively. As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind. This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.
Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.
- Outside Components
Outside Compressor Unit
- Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
- Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year. Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
- Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
- Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
- Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use
Inside Coil, Blower, and Return
- Change your air return filter at least once per month
- Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
- Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season. I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home. It is not pretty when it happens. These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.
Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future. I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line. Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.
Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality. Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker. Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.
Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.
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