When you start your annual spring cleaning, don’t forget about your HVAC system. Like many parts of your house, your HVAC system requires special care to perform at its best. Thankfully, a little goes a long way, and there isn’t too much maintenance you have to do yourself.
How Do I Prepare My HVAC for Spring in Los Angeles?
While tune-ups and repairs should be left to the professionals, you don’t have to be an HVAC expert to do some basic AC maintenance. Below are some simple steps to get your HVAC system ready for the spring and summer:
Inspect and Clear Debris from Your Outdoor Unit
Your outdoor unit has to withstand whatever weather may come. And whatever that weather brings with it, including leaves, dirt, twigs, branches, and more.
That’s why it’s important to clear away the debris around your outdoor unit at the beginning of spring. There should be at least two feet of clear space on all sides of your unit to ensure that it can ventilate itself correctly and that there is easy access to your unit for servicing.
While you’re at it, inspect your outdoor unit for any signs of damage caused by falling debris. If you notice any visible damage on your unit, call your trusted local HVAC repair company to come out and fix it before it gets scorching hot outside.
Change Your Air Filters
The air filters in your house should be changed at least every three months. If you notice your filters are full before then, change them as needed.
Replacing dirty air filters helps your HVAC system run more efficiently, use less energy, and lower your utility bills. Additionally, installing a clean air filter improves the indoor air quality of your house by reducing the amount of dust and allergens that are released into your home.
Check Supply and Return Vents
Your supply and return vents are responsible for circulating air in and out of your home. If one of these vents is blocked, clogged, or closed, it can lead to uneven cooling. It also forces your HVAC system to work overtime to compensate for the faulty vent.
You should walk around your home and visually inspect all of the supply and return vents at least once a month. Remove anything that might be obstructing the vents, like furniture or blankets, to ensure proper airflow.
Fix Drafty Windows and Doors
Spring is a good time to fix drafty windows and doors that let precious cool air escape your home. Drafts cause your HVAC system to work harder and use more energy to get your home to your desired temperature, so it’s best to fix them as you find them.
How to Check for Drafts
You’re probably already aware of any big drafts in your home, but even small ones can cost you considerable amounts of energy.
To check for drafts, take a feather or lit incense stick and slowly move it past the edges of your doors, windows, and other draft-prone areas. If you notice a lot of movement in the smoke or feather, you’ve likely found a draft.
There are also thermal leak detectors on the market that use infrared technology to detect drafts.
Don’t Neglect Your Thermostat
Many people don’t realize their thermostat requires maintenance, too. Dust can build up under your thermostat cover and interfere with important sensors and wiring. As part of your annual spring cleaning, remove your thermostat cover and gently clean underneath with a soft rag or brush. If it uses batteries, replace them.
You should also consider upgrading to a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one. These devices can automatically set your system to the optimal temperature throughout the day, saving you energy and keeping your home comfortable.
Inspect and Clean Air Ducts
Dirty, clogged, or leaking air ducts can lead to various problems in your Los Angeles, CA home. It’s important for your ductwork to be inspected and thoroughly cleaned to optimize your HVAC system’s performance and protect your family’s health. However, inspecting ductwork is not an easy job and is better left to professionals.
Benefits of Professional Duct Cleaning
When spring rolls around in Los Angeles, a professional duct cleaning and inspection offers the following benefits:
- Improves indoor air quality
- Improves airflow efficiency, saving you money
- Reduces the number of allergens and amount of dust in the air
- Eliminates unpleasant odors
- Reduces the amount of dusting your home requires
- Extends the lifetime of your HVAC system
Although you can clean and care for your vents, you can’t give your ducts the same deep cleaning that a professional can.
Schedule a Maintenance Visit
In addition to the things you do yourself, your HVAC system requires an expert touch every now and then, so it’s important to schedule annual AC maintenance with a professional you trust.
During a maintenance visit, professionals are able to more thoroughly inspect and clean your entire HVAC system to ensure it’s in its best shape. They perform crucial maintenance steps, including:
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Inspecting terminals for corrosion and damage
- Testing for leaks
- Condenser and evaporator coil cleaning
- Cleaning the evaporator drain
- Cleaning your unit’s fins
- Inspecting all parts for wear and tear damage
Professionals are also trained to handle anything they run into. During the course of routine maintenance, you may run into problems that you are not qualified to handle, like mold or pest infestations. That’s why you should leave the more in-depth maintenance steps to the professionals.
How Often Should I Have My HVAC System Checked?
Most professionals recommend having your HVAC system checked at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.
During the fall, you should have a tune-up and inspection for your heating system. Spring is the best time to schedule AC tune-ups and inspections. This approach ensures that your HVAC system is ready for the hottest and coldest days of the year long before they come.
Take Advantage of Maintenance Plans
By now, you know keeping up with regular HVAC maintenance can save you money, but taking advantage of professional maintenance plans can save you even more. So look around your area for HVAC companies offering comprehensive maintenance plans.
Usually, you pay a small fee a month, and they take care of all of your annual HVAC maintenance. With a maintenance plan, your HVAC system receives the timely care it requires without you having to remember to schedule visits twice a year.
Should I Service My HVAC Myself?
Although there are some proactive measures you can take yourself, when your HVAC needs to be serviced, leave it to the pros. This advice includes AC tune-ups, repairs, and installations.
Licensed HVAC contractors undergo extensive training to gain all of the knowledge and skills necessary to properly service your HVAC unit. They understand the intricate details of HVAC systems and know how to spot early warning signs of future problems during the course of service.
Having a professional service your system also ensures any manufacturer warranties stay intact. Most warranties on HVAC systems and replacement parts have one important caveat; they must be professionally installed and serviced. Otherwise, the warranty is null and void.
Professional AC Services in Los Angeles, CA
Homeowners in Los Angeles, CA, can count on Service Genius for all their AC services. Whether you need a new unit, a small repair, or a deep cleaning, we have the team for the job. To brace your system for the upcoming season, give the Service Genius team a Call to schedule your AC maintenance visit today.