HVAC Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Why do air conditioning and heating companies care so much about HVAC maintenance? Here in Texas, our air conditioners work hard. This is why HVAC maintenance is such a critical task on your regular home maintenance checklist.

The modern HVAC system was built to keep a home warm or cool for years—even decades if treated right. Of course, if you want to make sure your HVAC system reaches that full lifespan, it’s important to keep its parts from wearing down over time. To do this, you’ll need to protect it with an HVAC maintenance checklist.

If you’re wondering what items should make your checklist, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what your HVAC maintenance checklist should look like:

Getting started

In general, you’ll be tackling the same tasks regardless of the system you’re running, from ductless mini-splits to central air conditioning systems.

However, there are a few factors you should keep in mind as you set get started.

The age and condition of your HVAC system will impact the frequency of maintenance, as you may want to inspect an older model more often than you would a newer one. Your particular brand of HVAC system also makes a difference, as your manufacturer may have specific maintenance tasks outlined in your unit’s literature. It’s always a good idea to double-check your manual before you get started.

Going forward, we recommend that you have your HVAC unit professionally maintained twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. You can also take care of a fair amount of maintenance on your own in between professional tune ups.

To start, it’s important to replace your air filter at least every 90 days or once each season, as this can improve efficiency and lower your AC’s energy consumption by up to 15%. Don’t forget to keep a few things in mind when you’re replacing your air filters.

Fall HVAC maintenance checklist DIY

In the fall, your maintenance goal is to prepare your HVAC system for the coming winter chill. Some of the listed items will be similar to the ones on the springtime checklist, but others will be more focused on your heating system.

Start by doing an external inspection of your HVAC unit and thermostat. Is it blowing cool or warm air? Have you had any rooms that are warmer or colder than the others? If so make a note of what you’ve been observing. Then consider these tasks:

  • Replace your indoor air filters
  • Make sure you replace your furnace filter and/or in-duct media filter every 8-12 months
  • Clear your condensate drain lines
  • Toss any standing water from your drain pans (Call a professional if you see this!)
  • Inspect your attic for evidence of pest infestations
  • Change any batteries in your thermostat (if needed)
  • Check the programming of your thermostat and set to auto or heat (if needed)
  • Replace the battery in your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm (If it’s been 10 years, replace both.)
  • Remove any branches, leaves, or debris from your external condenser

Again, these tips will help get your system ready for winter, and they also take care of a few safety checks you should be doing on an annual basis.

Spring HVAC maintenance checklist DIY

In the spring, do-it-yourself maintenance will help prepare your air conditioning unit for the summer heat. This ensures you don’t have to call for AC repair services when you need your air conditioner most!

  • Replace your indoor air filters
  • Trim back any branches or bushes from the outdoor condenser so it has room to “breathe”
  • Clear your air conditioner’s condensate drain line by pouring vinegar through it
  • Toss any standing water from the drain pans (If you see this, schedule an HVAC service call.)
  • Make sure there is no evidence of pests in your attic (If you see evidence, call a pest control company. My favorite is Bugco)
  • Change any batteries in your thermostat (if needed)
  • Check the programming of your thermostat and change it to auto or cool (if needed)

Making these simple steps part of your household spring cleaning can ensure that your HVAC is ready for summer. It’s also a great way to warn your HVAC technician of any issues before they arrive for your seasonal maintenance.

Professional HVAC maintenance

As we mentioned above, you should get your HVAC professionally maintained twice a year. You’ve laid the groundwork for these experts through your DIY HVAC maintenance, but a professional will take care of the more complex, hazardous and technical checks that need to be done. Here are a few things your HVAC technician will do to maintain your system:

  • Visually inspect your entire system
  • Look for and remove any blockages that impede air circulation
  • Inspect the electrical components and wiring
  • Check the refrigerant levels (If they are low, we may suggest a repair)
  • Ensure that your thermostat reading is accurate and working correctly
  • Make sure any fans or blowers are moving without issue
  • Inspect exhaust outlets
  • Inspect your HVAC’s heating elements for damage or wear
  • Check fuel lines for gas-fired furnaces
  • Check carbon monoxide levels
  • Check the ductwork and HVAC system for air leaks
  • Ensure your unit’s performance matches manufacturer specifications
  • Take care of any minor repairs after discussing them with you

With the expertise of an HVAC professional, your system will be running at peak efficiency for longer.

The benefit of this, of course, is that a properly maintained system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat and cool your home. This in turn can lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC. And although the lifespan of your HVAC unit varies depending on the model, one source estimates that regular maintenance can keep an HVAC running smoothly for up to 20-30 years!

Get started with your AC maintenance checklist

It’s time to bring your HVAC unit up to speed. Proper maintenance can keep your system running longer, lower your bills, and lead to fewer HVAC catastrophes when you need your heater and air conditioner the most. So what are you waiting for?

Get started with your HVAC maintenance checklist today—and get help if you need it! Call the HVAC experts at Terry’s A/C & Heating at (281) 495-7830 to schedule a tune up for your air conditioner and heater. We also offer a scheduled maintenance program that we call our Peace of Mind Protection plan to make maintenance easy to budget for, remember and schedule each year. Find out what our customers have to say about our service and what makes us different from other HVAC companies in the Richmond, Fulshear, Sugar Land, Katy and Southwest Houston, Texas. We’re happy to help.