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Lowery’s Essential HVAC Maintenance Guide for Your Air Conditioning Unit: Is Your HVAC Efficient?

HVAC Maintenance, Lowery’s Essential HVAC Maintenance Guide for Your Air Conditioning Unit: Is Your HVAC Efficient?

As temperatures begin to rise for spring and the summer heat approaches, your HVAC system becomes an invaluable tool in maintaining a comfortable living space. Regular maintenance is pivotal to ensure that your HVAC performs appropriately and will last for seasons to come. This comprehensive guide from the experts at Lowery will walk you through essential tips and tricks to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape.   

Why is HVAC Preventative Maintenance so Important?

The HVAC system installed in your home is responsible for keeping your comfortable and breathing clean air. When issues arise in a home’s HVAC system, the consequences can be hard to notice and extremely problematic. For example, Louisiana State University found that a dirty air filter is damaging enough to reduce airflow by more than 30%. If your air filter is left unattended for just 18 months, your utility bill can cost you up to 27% more! Issues such as an improper charge to the HVAC system or leaks in your air ducts can also wreak havoc on your HVAC system. These risks make regular HVAC maintenance essential to a properly functioning home, so what can you do to save yourself the time, money, and stress that comes with HVAC issues?   

Regular Cleanings  

There are multiple areas of your HVAC system that need regular cleaning to function properly. Cleaning these will optimize your HVAC’s functionality and efficiency. It is important to note that many of these projects require you to cut the power to your system.   

  1. Clean Burner Assembly: To clean your home’s burner assembly, use a small wire brush to remove the build-up on your burners. Then send air through the burners to dislodge carbon deposits. Repeat this process until there are no signs of deposits.  
  2. Clean Ignition Assembly: Before cleaning your home’s ignition assembly, be sure not to use your bare hands to protect both yourself and the ignition. Rub the probe with fine steel wool to remove carbon deposits. Once complete, replace the ignitor and restore power to the system. 
  3. Clean Condenser Coil: There are several commercially available coil cleaning products. However, a solution of mild household detergent and water can be used to clean your condenser coils. Rinse the coils with water, apply your cleaning solution, and rinse again to remove debris from your coils.   
  4.  HVAC Air Filter Replacement and Cleaning: The easiest of these cleaning processes is cleaning your air filter. This can be done with a vacuum and a solution of water and vinegar. Let the filter dry before replacing it. Should the air filter be beyond repair, it is an easy process to replace it. Air filters can be found at your local hardware store and should be replaced every three months.   
  5.  Clean Drainage System: To clean your HVAC’s drainage system, you must first locate the drain line. Once found, use your vacuum to suction out clogs and debris in the drain line. You can also flush the line with water and vinegar to remove debris and clogs. Repeat regularly to prevent future clogs.   

Regular Inspections

Now that your HVAC system is clean, you can begin inspecting other sections of the system! These inspections will ensure your HVAC system functions optimally and safely for you and your loved ones. It is important to note that many of these projects require you to cut the power to your system.   

  1. Inspect Heat Exchanger: A visual inspection of your heat exchanger can be extremely revealing of any issues with your HVAC system. Check the exchanger’s exterior surface for any cracks or leaks. It is important to note that small amounts of leakage are average, so keep an eye out for abnormally large cracks or splits.   
  2. Inspect Thermostat: Check to see that your thermostat is receiving power by checking the wiring to your thermostat. Once you can confirm that your thermostat is correctly charged, adjust the temperature up and down to test your system’s receptiveness. A properly functioning thermostat and HVAC system should take about an hour to fully climatize your home.  
  3. Inspect Moving Parts: Your HVAC system consists of many moving parts that must be inspected regularly. These parts are essential to your HVAC system but can become slow and corroded. Be sure to lubricate the moving parts of your HVAC system, such as compressors and blower motors.   
  4. Inspect Electrical Connections: The electrical connections in your HVAC system are pivotal to a safe and optimal system. If your HVAC system is not receiving enough power, your home will see a decrease in airflow and an increase in utility costs. Faulty electrical connections can even be a fire risk, making it even more essential to inspect these systems.   

Regular Tests 

You can run several tests to evaluate your HVAC’s efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. These tests will give you the peace of mind that your home is working to protect you and your loved ones.

  1. Test Refrigerant Levels: You can test your HVAC refrigerant levels and gas pressure by crunching a few numbers. First, take down your evaporation and condensation readings using a refrigerant slider. Next, take your refrigerant temperature readings using a digital thermometer. Finally, you can calculate your refrigerant levels. To calculate the superheating temperature, subtract the evaporation temp from the suction pipe temperature. To calculate the supercooling temperature, subtract the discharge pipe temperature from the condensation. You likely have low refrigerant levels if your refrigerant temperatures are outside the 5k to 10k range.   
  2. Test Air Flow: An anemometer is the standard for measuring airflow. This device measures wind speed and direction, making it ideal for monitoring your HVAC system’s airflow. Place the device into a duct in your system and be sure to measure in cubic feet. The recommended airflow for each room of your home is around 50 cubic feet per minute.   
  3. Test for Carbon Monoxide: It is often difficult for homeowners to identify when their home is experiencing a Carbon Monoxide leak, especially if it is equipped with faulty Carbon Monoxide detectors. For confirmation you will likely have to call your local HVAC provider. Since Carbon Monoxide has no odor, color or taste, it often cannot be detected by our senses. This means that dangerous concentrations of the gas can build up indoors without detection until proper detectors alarm, or until they become ill. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. Should you experience any of these symptoms, call your local HVAC provider or fire department and seek medical attention immediately.   


Other signs of CO in your home may include: 

  1. Potential smell of burning, stuffy air.  
  2. Yellow or orange flame on your gas hob or oven, rather than a crisp blue flame. 
  3. Rusting or staining on or around gas appliances. 
  4. Pilot lights that frequently blow out. 
  5. Increased condensation inside windows. 
  6. Lack of draft in fireplace, or buildup of smoke or soot.  

  These essential maintenance steps will keep your home functional and comfortable through the long summer months. Regular upkeep of your home’s HVAC system not only extends the lifespan of your unit but also helps you save on energy costs! Make maintenance a priority this spring. Schedule your HVAC maintenance with Lowery and stay cool all summer!

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