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A malfunction with your HVAC system can leave you without treated air for a significant amount of time. This can leave you exposed to the extreme temperatures in your region, which can cause you to become ill or exacerbate pre-existing health conditions. You can avoid these unexpected malfunctions by following a few suggestions for taking better care of your system.

5 Tips for Preventing HVAC Emergencies

Keep Your Filter Clean

According to Jeffersonville HVAC, One of the most important things you can do to keep your HVAC system running efficiently is also one of the most overlooked preventative maintenance issues. Your system’s filter should be checked and changed at least once every 30 days to ensure you’re always operating with a clean filter. One reason this is so important is that it can affect you and your family members’ health. A dirty filter will cause dust, pet hair, pollen, and other allergens to be recirculated throughout the home. This means you’ll keep breathing in this debris, so if your family is finding it harder to breathe, checking the filter may resolve those health concerns.

A dirty filter can be just as destructive for your air conditioner because a clogged filter makes it harder to push the air through the system. When airflow is obstructed, your system will work harder and use more energy to provide the same comfort level. This can ultimately cause greater wear on the system, which means you’ll experience a mechanical failure that much sooner.

Keep the Condenser Unit Clean

If you’re not familiar with your air conditioner’s various components, the condenser is the large unit that’s located just outside your home. The unit has vents designed to keep debris and pests from accessing the parts inside the unit, but that doesn’t mean leaves, sticks, litter, and small pests can’t make their way inside. You can prevent damage to the unit by keeping the area surrounding the condenser clean. This means removing any shrubbery or weed growth in the immediate area and raking leaves and litter regularly. If tree branches hang directly over the unit, you should trim them to keep leaves and other debris from falling on top of the unit.

While you’re cleaning around the condenser unit, take a minute to look at the cables and hoses running from the unit to your home. Be sure they’re still intact and connected. If pests have been chewing on the cables or hoses, you should have them replaced immediately. You may also want to take steps to keep pests away from the area.

Watch for Leaks

When you open up your HVAC unit inside your home, you’ll see a pan with a small hole, which leads to the drainpipe that takes water outside. As your unit operates, it produces condensation that leaks into this pan. Over time, the drain pipe’s opening can become clogged with mold and algae growth, causing water to build up in the pan. If you aren’t checking the pan regularly, water may back up enough to drip over the edge of the pan and leak onto the floor.

Once a month, you should look at the pan to ensure it’s draining properly. If it’s not, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to empty water from the pan and remove any mold build-up in the drain. If the vacuum doesn’t fix the problem, you can try clearing the entire drain pipe with a small drain snake. If there’s mold or algae growth deeper in the drainpipe, the snake will help you push it out to the end.

Clean the Vents, Ducts, and Registers

Your HVAC system relies on a duct system to deliver treated air into your home and to push exhaust out of the home. The exhaust ducts are covered with a vent where they exit the home. The vent is designed to let the air out while keeping debris and pests from entering the home. Over time, the vents can become clogged with debris, keeping the air from being properly pushed out of the home. When this happens, it can cause damage to the ducts by placing extra pressure on the system. Taking the time to check these vents and clean them will help you keep this part of the system functioning correctly.

Similarly, your heating and cooling ducts need to be kept clean to ensure your system’s continued operation. Debris can get stuck in your ducts and cause a build-up that threatens the condition of the ducts. Once a hole is punctured in the ducts, or a leak forms where portions of the ducts are connected, the system won’t cool or heat the home as efficiently. This will force the unit to use more energy and work harder to provide the same comfort level. You can avoid this situation by cleaning the ducts once per season and cleaning the registers once every couple of weeks. If you notice dust builds up at a faster pace, you may need to clean the ducts and registers more frequently.

Request a System Inspection

Finally, you should have a professional HVAC technician service your system at the start of the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. There are a few reasons your system needs this preventative maintenance measure twice per year. First, the technician will provide a more thorough cleaning of the various components of your heating and cooling system. This will involve taking these components apart to clean inside the system, refill refrigerant levels, and check the belts, fans, and wiring.

Additionally, your HVAC contractor will be able to identify problems with the unit that might interfere with its continued operation throughout the season. This will help you learn of problems before the breakdown occurs so that you can budget for the repairs in advance. It can also help you get repairs completed before the system stops operating. The preventative care you devote to your HVAC system will ensure you won’t have to go without treated air when you need it most.