Too many people go years and years without having their air ducts cleaned and some never even have it done at all. I met one homeowner a few years ago who had never had their ducts cleaned in the twenty-five years they owned their house. Of course, this isn’t good practice and is detrimental to the function of your HVAC system. Not to mention, it’s not good for the health of everyone in your family. However, even if you do have your ducts cleaned every year of two, you should perform routine maintenance to make sure the problem doesn’t get out of hand in the first place. In this article, we’ll cover the number of ways you can take care of your ducts and HVAC system to ensure peak performance every time you switch on the thermostat.
Change your filters on a regular basis – It’s better to change your air filters too frequently than not enough. Doing this prevents the build up of dust, debris, mold, mildew and airborne pollutants in the air system and throughout the home. Having newer filters means you have less dust in the ducts, which in turn means the system doesn’t have to be serviced as often. Not only does this help the quality of air in your home and the health of your family, but additionally means your central air unit will function more efficiently.
It’s also a good idea to splurge a little on the more expensive cloth air filters rather than the cheap fiberglass ones. This is because cloth filters (also called “pleated filters”) block a lot more pollutants from getting into the air system than fiberglass ones. While they may be more expensive, they also don’t need to be changed as often (about every thirty days for fiberglass and about every sixty to ninety for pleated), which means you save money in the long run.
It’s also a good idea to set yourself a reminder to change out the filters, rather than trying to remember to do it on your own. Since the development of the digital calendars, you can set reminders on your phone, tablet or laptop. Setting yourself a reminder has never been easier. I always like to set it for the first or last day of the month, that way it’s easy to keep track of when it needs to be done.
Mind your vents – One of the most important things you can do to ensure your system stays clean in between service calls is to take care of your vents. This means wiping down surfaces such as grills, grates, vents, and air handler covers to prevent excessive buildup of dust around the system. Much like the air filters, this needs to be done regularly so that the airflow can remain relatively unobstructed. It’s also a good idea to do this so your air vents don’t become rusty or start growing mildew around the edges. Dirty coils can cause moisture to build up around the vents, which can then lead to mildew, so it’s important to wipe everything down in the event that that happens.
Take care of your pets – If you have any furry pets in your home then you already know how much hair can accumulate everywhere. As more and more hair builds up over time the risk of allergic reactions is increased tenfold. Even if you don’t have a noticeable allergy to your dog (and chances are that if you have a dog in the first place you probably don’t have a severe allergy to animal dander), you can still end up with itchy eyes and sneezing when your home is bombarded with fur. If you take steps to groom your pets on a regular basis then you can improve the quality of air in your home and reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions. Vacuuming carpets or mopping hardwood floors a few times a week helps keep pet dander to a minimum. This simple task may also help kill anything associated with what your pet may carry into your home. Wiping any loose hair you see that may collect in or around air vents a couple times a week may also elongate the time between duct cleanings. Maintaining a home with a pet is an essential part of helping to maintain the cleanliness of your home’s duct system.
Clean coils, condensate pans, and blower motors – About every six months, it’s good to have your HVAC system’s coils, the blower motor, the drain line, the condensate pan and the condenser coil cleaned. While most of that should be done by a professional, it’s good to do as much as you can to maintain the system on your own. This helps save you money on service calls over the years and also helps keep your energy bills down (and really, who wouldn’t want a lower energy bill?). A clean unit runs more efficiently which helps prevent important components from wearing down and/or breaking over time. There are some great self-cleaning sprays on the market that only cost about $10 and are very easy to use.
No matter which type of system you have and no matter where you live, your home and HVAC components could probably stand to be more efficient. Not only do you save hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of dollars every year, but you can also sit comfortably in your home, confident that the temperature is going to stay where it should. The most important thing to remember is that you should never let routine maintenance go by the wayside, especially when professional help is only a phone call away. With a little patience, a healthy dose of discipline and the aid of a trusted HVAC company like J&W Heating and Air, you’ll never have to worry about wasting energy and money again.
For all of your HVAC needs, call J&W Heating and Air at 904-647-3292.
Proudly serving the Jacksonville area since 1966.