Want cool summers, warm winters and low power bills? Keep your cool and take a little time to get to know your home’s heating, venting and air conditioning system. (HVAC)
HVAC, SEER, you’ve heard the terms but what does it all mean? Here is a quick glossary with a few terms to help you get started:
Duct work: These are insulated round tubes in your ceiling that carry and distribute heated or cool air to each room.
Filter: Located near the air handler or in the return air grill, the filter helps reduce the flow of dust into the air. This is usually square or rectangular in shape and should be cleaned or replaced monthly. Disposable filters usually cost less and are about a dollar.
Mastic: Mastic works to seal metal, flexible, and fibrous ductwork.
Register (also called grills): The registers/grills are the metal rectangle shaped inserts you see in the ceiling in each room. Some registers are supply registers; they deliver air into the room. Others could be return air registers that return air from the room back into the air handler to be re-heated or re-cooled.
SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, this says how efficient your system will operate in your space.
Thermostat: This is a small rectangle shaped box that is mounted on a wall and controls the entire heating and cooling system.
Now that you know the HVAC lingo, here are some tips to keep your system in good working condition.
Get to know your system. The air handlers in the new homes we build are usually located in an interior space of the home which allows them to work less and operate in a more energy efficient manner.
Some of the materials used in the installation are: sheet metal, dampers, louvers, grills, flexible duct, duct board, mastic, copper refrigerant lines, control wiring, overflow pan switch and plywood.
While annual professional inspection and maintenance is recommended, a little homeowner upkeep will keep your unit running at optimum levels.
Maintaining your HVAC system can seem like a daunting task. However, it does not need to be confusing, frustrating or problematic. The most important thing to do is inspect and either clean or replace your filter each month. When the filter becomes clogged with dust, allergens and pollutants it will restrict the airflow causing the system to work harder.
Imagine what it would be like trying to breathe through a straw while jogging, this is the type of strain you want to prevent with your ac unit. The harder the system works, the more energy is required. This will shorten the lifespan of the system and increase your cost to operate the system.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is to actually have your HVAC system inspected once a year by a professional.
Don’t wait until it is hot and you need your A/C, getting an appointment in the peak of the season may take longer and will be costly. Be proactive and keep your HVAC system in top working order and order ac maintenance.
Here are some tips and tricks for AC maintenance:
1. Outside you home, the A/C condenser coil should be kept clean. Vacuum out any debris that may have fallen in or around the unit. If your coil requires a chemical cleaning allow a trained technician to do it.
2. Always trim any bushes or trees around your condensing unit and maintain two feet of clearance around the unit.
3. Keep your coil clean inside the home as well. If your coils are not easy to get to, they may need to be cleaned by a professional.
4. Check your condensate drain pans and clean them of any mold or growth. This should be killed using a 10:1 solution of bleach. 10 parts water to one part bleach as the strongest solution.
5. Check your condensate drain lines outside to make sure they are clean and flow water freely without backing up.
6. It is important to make sure lawn sprinklers are not spraying on the condensing unit.
7. This is especially important if you have well water. Well water will make the condenser rust faster which is not covered under your warranty. Rinse the outside unit with city water once a month to help maintain it cleanliness.