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Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is integral to your home’s comfort level. To keep your system running as efficiently as possible, it is best to have a professional technician perform maintenance checks at least once a year. But there are some simple DIY tasks homeowners can perform to maintain their HVAC system. Here are five maintenance tasks that you can perform on your system.

Replace Air Filters

Regularly changing your air filters is the most important task for HVAC maintenance. Over time, your air filters pick up dust and debris that get into your home. The air in your vents becomes blocked as this debris accumulates in the filter, forcing your HVAC unit to work harder for longer. Changing your air filters helps improve airflow and helps to increase the longevity of your HVAC unit.

Maintain the Area Around the Outdoor Unit

Give your outdoor unit a little more love by making sure that the area around it is clear. Vegetation, dirt, and outdoor debris can accumulate on your unit and create blockages. A good rule of thumb is to give your unit a 2-foot radius of clear space on all sides.

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Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can set your heating and air conditioning to run at certain times during the day. This gives you the ability to program your unit to only run when someone is home, thus reducing the amount of time the system has to be active. Setting your thermostat to turn off when you leave for work and turn on an hour before you get home saves several hours of energy consumption.

Seal Air Leaks

Making sure your home is well-insulated means that the airflow your HVAC produces stays inside where it is supposed to be. Check your doors, windows, and attic spaces for any cracks that might let air through. Also, check your air vents for space between the wall and the vent. You can use caulk to seal any spaces and cracks you find, and you can use weather stripping to block spaces around doors.

Rinse Your Condenser Coil

Rinsing the condenser coil in your outdoor unit now and then is an easy way to help your HVAC system perform better. Simply turn off your air conditioner and locate your outdoor unit. Use a hose to gently rinse the outside of the unit to remove any dirt, leaves, or other debris that may have accumulated on the unit. Don’t use a high-pressure spray because it could bend the fins around the coil. Keeping your unit clear and clean helps your HVAC system expel the heat from inside your home. It’s recommended that you do this twice a year: once in autumn after leaves have fallen and again in the spring before you start using your AC unit again.

Doing simple maintenance tasks can drastically improve the life span of your HVAC system, but so can preventative maintenance! Schedule a routine maintenance appointment with an HVAC technician to maximize your HVAC system’s efficiency and identify problem spots before they become costly repairs.