A Spring HVAC Checklist

Feel that in the air? Kinda feels a little bit like springtime doesn’t it? Of course, being in central Texas, we don’t really experience the seasons the way people in other parts of the country do so putting a finger on exactly what spring should and does feel like is a bit tricky. But nevertheless, we seem to have run out of cold weather for the season and so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say it’s starting to feel like spring. There are more green leaves on trees and blue skies and high sun days. The official start of spring might be a little bit away but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about our spring cleaning.

One of the biggest necessities when it comes to spring cleaning is your HVAC system. The beginning of spring is a great time to catch up on some much-needed cleaning and maintenance around the house and the HVAC system is a great place to start. So consider kicking off this years’ spring cleaning routine with a little spring HVAC checklist. What exactly should a spring HVAC checklist entail you might wonder? Well that’s the subject of this AC Express tip of the day.

Springtime is Maintenance Time

You may be wondering what exactly makes spring such an ideal time for HVAC maintenance that it deserves its own checklist. Well, it turns out there are a number of reasons why springtime is maintenance primetime. Winter is coming to an end, which means that spring is right around the corner in Austin. Heating and cooling needs are at an all-time low due to the lovely weather coming at us. Whether you found yourself using your heating system a lot or a little during the winter there’s no doubt it will be off for a while now.

The spring is a time of the year where you won’t need to depend on your heating system or your cooling system too much, making it the perfect time to do a little HVAC maintenance to make sure that your cooling system, heat pump or air conditioner, is running properly and efficiently for when summer hits. It’s also the best time to check up on your furnace to make sure it got through all the hard work it endured during the winter without too much wear and tear.

Winter storms can wreak havoc on HVAC systems, leaving outdoor components full of debris and indoor components in need of a cleaning. Thankfully, there are several things homeowners can do to prepare for spring and summer and improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. So what does this include? Well, there are some things that are going to require professional assistance and there are some things you can do on your own. Let’s get the harder, more in-depth things out of the way first by looking at why this is the ideal time to schedule an HVAC maintenance check.

Professional Maintenance Checkup

The spring is a great time to have your cooling system, whether it be an air conditioner or a heat pump, checked on by a professional cooling expert. Preventive maintenance ensures that your system is in proper working order and working efficiently. Additionally, having a quality, HVAC professional inspect your HVAC components allow small problems to be addressed and repair before they become a serious, and costly, problem.

Because your air conditioner is about to get the most use of the year in the upcoming spring and summer, the beginning of spring is the best time for this annual check-up to ensure it has the greatest possible chance of making it through the hot Austin air conditioning season without any trouble. Professional heating and air conditioning maintenance is a smart investment for your home and your family's health. Seasonal maintenance will help to ensure your system is working properly and that you don't get stuck with costly emergency repairs or replacements further down the line. Not only will this simple step be the best insurance against HVAC system problems throughout the cooling season, it will also help keep your utility bills low by making sure your system is running efficiently.

Preventative Maintenance Checklist

So what exactly goes on during one of these professional preventative maintenance checks? It’s a question worth asking. Even if it’s the Austin air conditioning expert whose going to be going through this checklist and not you. It is good to know what will be and what should be done to your cooling system.

Ductwork inspection is a big part of successful maintenance check-up even if it doesn’t directly involve messing with the air conditioner. Leaky ductwork can cost you in terms of home comfort and energy bills. If yours hasn’t been looked over lately, having it done as part of spring maintenance is a good idea, ensuring that ducts are properly sealed and insulated before the cooling season begins.

A lot of what your HVAC contractor will be doing during preventative maintenance falls into one of two categories, cleaning and inspecting. Cleaning means exactly what it sounds like it means. It means using the right tools and materials to clean off all of the sensitive components of the cooling system, both on the indoors and outdoors unit. This also includes lubing motors and bearing. Improperly lubricated rotating equipment will eventually fail.

Inspecting just means looking thoroughly at each and every individual component of both the outside and inside unit of your air conditioner and making sure everything is in perfect working order. It means checking the refrigerant level and looking for leaks. It means checking the temperature difference across the evaporator coil. Temperature difference indicates production and capacity of unit. It means checking the condensate pan and drain. A cracked pan or loose fittings can cause expensive water damage and a plugged condensate drain can cause expensive water damage.

DIY Spring Maintenance

All this talk of professional maintenance checks, the importance of scheduling one each year and what goes on during one, leaves out an important part of the spring checklist, what you can do on your own. There are a number of tasks you can add to your spring HVAC checklist that doesn’t require the help of a professional if you’re a little handy.

First and foremost, you should take this time to replace your air filters. You should be changing your air filter on a monthly basis in order to ensure the proper airflow throughout your home. If you don’t change your air filter regularly, dust and dirt will build-up to the point where it will obstruct your airflow. This will make it harder for your HVAC system to cool or heat your home properly, affecting both your comfort and your energy bills. Check and replace your furnace and air-conditioning filters every month. There are several types from which to choose, depending on your needs. Fiberglass filters last only one month, while the filters typically last three to four months. HEPA filters last up to six months and can be cleaned with a vacuum nozzle.

If you covered the outdoor coil in order to protect it during the winter months, be sure to remove the cover before starting the system. These covers protect and insulate the coil, but also limit any heat transfer. Starting the system with any of these covers in place, even for a short time, could severely damage your system. Many people forget to remove their covers every year, often resulting in major repairs or even replacement of the whole system.

Some of the cleaning tasks can be handled by you as well. For example, the outdoor unit is fairly easy to clean. Winter storms often leave dirt and debris in and around your outdoor HVAC components. After turning power to the system off, carefully remove any debris that has accumulated around the system or in the metal cage that surrounds the components. Use a garden hose to gently wash away any dirt, dust and debris that are on the coils. You can even make this a fun family spring cleaning activity. Grab the family and get to work outdoors by removing leaves, twigs and pollen from the sides and tops of your air conditioning unit and heat pumps. This is also the season to be aware of grass clippings from the lawnmower. Make sure no loose clippings are allowed to pile up around the unit to prevent overheating or clogging.

Similar to your outdoor cleaning duties, the indoor air vents and units need to be kept clean and free of debris in order to work their best. Take the time to vacuum and clean all air vents around the home and vacuum the area outside of the HVAC unit (usually in your basement or utility room) as well.

Still as much as you can do by yourself with the right tools and research, there’s no real replacement for a professional’s help. A brief inspection of your system now could help keep your system running worry-free through the heat of the summer and fall and is especially important for older systems. While performing this general inspection, take note of the overall system health in order to assess the likelihood of a problem. If your system is old and has endured an unusually harsh season, it might be time to call for help. A qualified technician can help you do a more thorough spring technical inspection to avoid system failure in the hottest months of the year. The technician can also help address any concerns you have so let the contractor know what you found during your own spring inspection. Summer is just around the corner and no one knows your house better than you. If air conditioning is a necessity due to your lifestyle or geographical location, then be sure to get a professional’s opinion before time runs out.

Spring Checklist and Air Conditioning Repair in Austin

A spring checklist is a great way to stay on top of the needs of your air conditioning system so it can reliably meet your needs throughout the long and hot spring and summer here in Austin. Air conditioning doesn’t happen without the cooperation of all of the precisely positioned components within it and that means having it checked up on regularly is invaluable.

If you ever need AC repair in Austin, consider AC Express. AC Express is an Austin AC repair company that has helped people throughout the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Round Rock to Lakeway and Taylor for many years. For quality air conditioning service in Austin, call today!