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Calgarian Homeowners' Guide to Basic HVAC Maintenance

The Homeowners’ Guide to Basic HVAC Maintenance

As Calgarians, we experience extreme temperatures and weather conditions in a year. Luckily, our HVAC systems always come to the rescue, which is why we’ve taken the time to help you, our fellow homeowners, take care of their HVAC systems.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about HVAC maintenance. 

Without further ado, let’s get started with this ultimate homeowner’s guide to HVAC maintenance. Here’s a comprehensive maintenance checklist to keep your HVAC system in peak condition.

Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy HVAC System at Home

Before you proceed, know that professional HVAC maintenance should be done at least once a year to make sure your system is as efficient as possible. The more efficient the operations, the less your electrical bills.

Another great thing about regular HVAC maintenance is the ability to avoid emergency repairs, especially during the cold Calgary winters. 

So, follow these tips to maintain a healthy HVAC system at home.

1. Change/Clean Filters

1. Change or Clean Filters
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Changing and cleaning AC filters should be done monthly, especially during the summer, when you’re constantly using your air conditioner. You can clean washable filters by wiping them or brushing them with soap and water solution before drying them out.

AC filters can freeze up and thaw out when they’re too clogged. So, if you have pets or live in a Calgary area with frequent traffic, then you may want to consider fully replacing your filters every three months.

When replacing filters, make sure you buy those with HEPA or hypoallergenic filters.

2. Clean and clear drains

Cleaning drains allows you to remove any possible dirt or even mould blockage in your AC drain. You can do this simply by using a damp cloth. Using bleach once a year to thoroughly clean these drain lines is also effective.

Additionally, you should remove any standing water from your drain pan to avoid overflows.

3. Inspect lines and ducts

3. Inspect lines and ducts
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You should also check lines monthly to make sure there aren’t any leaks or disconnected pipes. 

Your air ducts are also important because they move air throughout your house. Contact professional air duct cleaners to make a full sweep of your air ducts.

Clean air ducts will make sure you and your family are breathing only clean and healthy air. Buying humidifiers can also help you improve your indoor air quality.

4. Clean condenser and heat pump

Cleaning the condenser coils and fins regularly helps maintain good heat transfer. This is because grime and moulds stuck on condenser coils can prevent heat from escaping, thus making your HVAC system less effective.

You can clean the condenser fins by using a brush or comb with thin bristles, so you’ll have to be patient with this task! Luckily, you only need to do it at least once a year.

5. Declutter your yard

5. Declutter your yard
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The outer parts of your HVAC units may not be as important as their inner workings, but they still need to be taken care of. 

Declutter your yard and make sure there aren’t any leaves, twigs, or even rocks near your heat pump and AC units to avoid potential blockages to exhausts. This maintenance tip is essential during the fall and spring.

6. Inspect and lubricate moving parts

Fan blades of your HVAC system are also important as they allow proper air circulation. 

These should be inspected for damages and possible signs of wear and tear. Check them out while they’re moving and while they’re stationary for good measure.

You should also check out the pumps, motors, and belts within your HVAC to see if they’re working properly. And if they’re having a hard time moving, you can lubricate these moving parts.

Now, this can be a complicated task. Luckily, you can easily call on the best HVAC contractors in Calgary for help.

7. Disconnect water supply

In the summer, when the weather already provides good humidity, make sure to disconnect water from the furnace humidifier. This can help prolong your furnace’s life and save up on hydro bills.

8. Have proper insulation

8. Have proper insulation
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Another way to improve your home’s temperature is by having energy-efficient windows installed by window replacement contractors. You can also have carpets installed by flooring installation companies to make your floors warm during colder months.

You can also consult insulation contractors so that you can improve your entire house’s energy efficiency.

9. Replace batteries

Now, this last tip may not exactly improve your HVAC system operation, but it can certainly make your home safer. Check the batteries of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they are still working.

Just remember to schedule your appointments before the summer and winter if you plan on contacting professional HVAC contractors for regular inspection.

Quick HVAC Maintenance Checklist

For SummerFor Winter
Inspect for dust, debris, or mould in ducts
Clean or replace filters
Check blowers, fans, and blades
Check thermostat controls and batteries
Lubricate bearings
Check electrical connections
Check for refrigerant levels and leaksInspect for gas leaks and gas pressure
Clean condenser and evaporator coilsExamine heat exchanger and heating elements
Clean drain linesEnsure safe attachment of exhaust to the furnace
Replace damaged pulleys and beltsInspect ignition burner and heat pump

Common HVAC Issues

Regular inspection and maintenance can make your HVAC units last long enough, but they can only do so much. So, if your preventive measures still fail, then it’s time you call the best Calgary HVAC contractors.

1. Malfunctioning AC unit

The most common HVAC issue you may encounter is a malfunctioning air conditioner where it only spews out lukewarm air. This can be caused by a broken thermostat or insufficient refrigerant.

Here’s what you can do to initially solve the problem:

  • Check and change thermostat settings
  • Replace old thermostat batteries
  • Clean the blocked air filters

If these don’t solve the trick, you may need to top up on refrigerant. You can do this by yourself, but if you want it done quick and right, it’s best to call an air conditioner repair technicians instead.

You can check for your refrigerant levels by touching the biggest copper wire. If it feels wet and cold, your refrigerant levels are still sufficient, otherwise, you’ll need to refill it.

2. Uneven temperature distribution

Now, while your HVAC systems may work, there’s also a chance of uneven temperature distribution. Some parts of the house or room may be cooler than others because of poor airflow or poor insulation.

Luckily, an HVAC expert can help you craft a holistic plan to improve heating or cooling distribution within your home. You can also call expert radiator repair technicians for help.

In the meantime, here are some things you can do while you wait for your appointment:

  • Cover windows with heavy drapes or blinds
  • Inspect room and wall insulation
  • Use HVAC dampers to control airflow

3. Noisy HVAC systems

Rattling and screeching noises are usually a sign of loose or damaged parts, which will require professional replacement from HVAC experts. These noises also tell you that your AC or furnace is already working harder just to achieve your desired temperature.

Noises from an AC may come from loose belts or bearings in the motor. On the other hand, furnaces usually produce noise when they have dirty or blocked burners and poor airflow.

Call the best air conditioner or furnace repair technicians to sort this kind of problem because detecting noises alone is already a challenging job. They may need to replace or lubricate these parts, depending on the severity of the problem.

Before you call a contractor, try these steps and see if they solve the problem:

  • Remove debris and obstructions in the outside unit
  • Check the thermostat 

4. Leaks

If you notice a rise in your electric bills, poor or long cooling, or frozen evaporator coils, you may have leaks in your AC unit.

This problem can be due to holes in the drains and lines, broken connections, or blockages. Thus, leaks can be a difficult thing to fix by yourself, which is why you’ll also need to call HVAC contractors for such a problem. 

Usually, leaks can be found in:

  • Drain pipes
  • Heat exchanger
  • Collector box
  • Evaporator drain pan

Another possible source of the leak is in the refrigerant coils. If you have this kind of problem, you’ll likely hear a hissing or—in a worse case—a gurgling sound.

5. Faulty ignition

A faulty ignition can both be a nuisance, as it won’t give you the heat you need, and a hazard, as it can cause accidental fires. With faulty ignitions, your furnace may suddenly stop working or short cycle.

The common culprits to faulty ignition in your furnace unit are:

  • Flame sensors
  • Burners
  • Pilots

These parts can be blocked or worn out and will need replacing or cleaning. Avoid any fire hazards by hiring fireplace repair experts to inspect your fireplace regularly.

You can do preliminary inspections to diagnose these common issues. But if you feel like you need to examine wirings and the inner workings of your HVAC appliances, it’s time to call the experts.

We hope our complete and ultimate guide to basic HVAC maintenance can help make a more comfortable home. 

If you think we’ve missed a few things you wanted to be discussed, feel free to send us a message! We can’t make any promises but we’ll surely look into your requests!

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