Your Springtime HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Practically any home or property owner can attest that seasonal maintenance is essential to ensure HVAC systems run as effectively and efficiently as possible. Simple tasks like changing filters can have a huge impact on HVAC operations. Some maintenance tasks are easy to recognize, some are hard to remember, and others might completely slip your mind. Want to be sure you aren’t forgetting any important HVAC preventative maintenance steps this spring? While you might be able to complete many of these tasks yourself, some should only be conducted by a licensed professional. Many property owners and operators will hire a HVAC professional rather than completing tasks themselves. Take a look at the following maintenance checklist to ensure your HVAC system is running at peak performance all spring and summer long:

1. Change filters

Replacing air filters at least twice a year is a simple yet impactful step that can boost HVAC performance. During the springtime, it’s great to check your system and replace old air filters that accumulated dust and debris all winter before turning your air conditioning on for the summer.

2. Inspect and clean indoor equipment

Air conditioning equipment can become dirty or damaged during months it’s not in use. Before deploying the AC for the season, be sure you inspect indoor HVAC elements such as indoor coils, air blowers and even vents or ductwork, and cleaning and replacing parts as needed.

3. Inspect and clean outdoor equipment

While indoor HVAC equipment can attract dust and grime, the outdoor units can accumulate even more dirt and debris. Each spring, be sure to inspect all outdoor equipment and clean it as needed. Be sure to remove wintertime debris like leaves, acorns, grass or twigs. You can even open up the unit to be sure nothing has slipped inside its case.

4. Check refrigerant levels

Tiny leaks can slowly cause the refrigerant to move into the air over time. Spring is a good time for a professional HVAC tune-up, and for a licensed technician to safely inspect your HVAC refrigerant levels to identify any leaks. The tech can often replenish lost refrigerant and offer other recommendations to prevent future loss.

5. Inspect all electrical connections

You never know what sort of wear or damage can occur among your HVAC electrical connections. Even small vibrations in the system can eventually lead to loosened connections. It’s vital to have them periodically inspected, cleaned and tightened before they damage HVAC equipment.

6. Inspect and clean drains

Your HVAC equipment won’t function effectively if liquid can’t be drained away from the unit. It’s important to make sure all drain lines and openings are clear of dirt, debris and other obstructions as a part of your seasonal maintenance. You can even use an algaecide to prevent blocked drains if necessary.

7. Dry out and clean your dehumidifier

Allowing the dehumidifier to dry out before cranking on the AC for the season can boost HVAC efficiencies and help protect the equipment from damage. If your HVAC system features a dehumidifier, remove the hosing and allow it to completely air dry. Be sure to clean it out before replacing it.

8. Check for leaks

Just because you’ve checked a building for costly air leaks once, that doesn’t mean cold air won’t find new ways to escape to the outdoors during the hot summer months. Periodically inspecting a building for air leaks is a vital step in boosting HVAC energy efficiency. Visually inspect exterior corners, faucets, and foundation for cracks or gaps that could create air leaks. Be sure to look at your indoor crevices for gaps as well. For example, look around electrical outlets, doors, windows, baseboards, weather stripping, attic hatches, fireplace dampers, vents, fans and even the entry points of cable and phone lines. Repair any gaps with caulking, weather stripping or other appropriate materials.

9. Test airflow 

Airflow blockages can reduce an HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent, so testing airflow is a necessary preventative maintenance step. Clean and adjust blower components to promote proper system airflow and avoid unnecessary energy drains. When in doubt, a professional HVAC technician can run an airflow test to diagnose other problems in your ducts and equipment.

10. Check thermostats

Your HVAC system won’t function properly without an operational thermostat. Be sure to check your thermostat each spring, and change the batteries as needed. Before deploying your air conditioner for the summer months, you might consider replacing it with an energy-efficient programmable thermostat that can reduce cooling bills by as much as 10 percent.

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