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Proactive Maintenance Can Extend the Life of Your HVAC

Fall is just around the corner, and it's the perfect time to start thinking about your HVAC system's maintenance. Neglecting routine servicing of your system can lead to unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs during the winter months. We recommend scheduling your annual heating maintenance appointment in August or September, ensuring that when the crisp autumn weather arrives, your system is ready for it.

But once you've made your appointment, what else can you do? Below we've provided five DIY tasks homeowners can tackle to ensure that when cold winds start to blow, their furnaces are ready.

Tip #1: Clean or Replace Air Filters Regularly

Air filters play a vital role in maintaining indoor air quality and the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. Over time, filters become clogged with dust, dirt, and other particles, obstructing the airflow. This not only reduces the system's efficiency but can also lead to increased energy consumption. Regularly cleaning or replacing air filters can help prevent these issues, ensuring optimal performance and cleaner air for you and your family.

We recommend homeowners replace or clean their HVAC filters 3-4 times a year. To help you remember, we encourage you to set a calendar reminder at the start of each season to check your filters to see if they require replacement. Filter checks and replacements are also part of our seasonal HVAC service appointments.

Tip #2: Check and Seal Air Ducts

Leaky air ducts can significantly impact the efficiency of your HVAC system. Inspect your ductwork for any visible leaks or loose connections and seal them properly. This will improve the system's efficiency, enhance indoor comfort, and reduce energy bills.

Here are some tell-tale signs that you might be dealing with leaky air ducts:

  • Increased Energy Bills: If your energy bills have suddenly increased without an apparent reason, it could be due to leaks in your ductwork, causing your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Uneven Temperature: Are some rooms in your home noticeably colder or warmer than others? Uneven heating or cooling could indicate leaky ducts.
  • Dust Accumulation: Excessive dust in your home, especially near your vents, could indicate air leaks that allow dust and other pollutants to enter your home.
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality: If you or your family members are experiencing allergy symptoms or respiratory issues more frequently, it could be due to poor indoor air quality caused by leaky ducts.
  • Noisy HVAC System: If your HVAC system is making more noise than usual, especially a hissing or whistling sound, it may be due to air escaping from leaks in the ductwork.

Resolving leaky ducts will likely require the assistance of a professional HVAC team, like ours at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. If you suspect an air duct problem, give us a call.

Tip #3: Clean the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit of your HVAC system can accumulate debris, leaves, and dirt over time. This buildup restricts airflow and puts unnecessary strain on the system. Before winter arrives, take the time to clean the outdoor unit thoroughly. Remove debris, trim nearby vegetation, and ensure the unit is free from obstructions. This simple maintenance task can significantly improve the system's performance and lifespan.

Many people also install a cover over their outside unit, which they place over it once they are done using their AC for the year (do not cover your AC while it is in use). This can help protect the unit from snow and ice, keeping it in good condition for the following year.

Tip #4: Check All Your Indoor Vents & Registers

Ensure all indoor HVAC vents and registers are open, unobstructed, and correctly directed. Closed or blocked vents can cause the system to work harder than necessary, reducing efficiency and increasing wear and tear.

You should periodically walk through your home, examining each vent. Ensure rugs, furniture, or drapes do not cover them and that the louvers are open and pointing in the correct direction for optimal air distribution. This simple step can significantly improve the overall performance of your HVAC system, enhance indoor comfort, and potentially lower your energy bills.

Tip #5: Consider a Programmable Thermostat

Investing in a programmable or smart thermostat can offer significant energy savings and comfort benefits. You can optimize energy usage and reduce heating costs by programming your thermostat to adjust temperatures based on your daily routine. Additionally, a programmable thermostat allows you to maintain a comfortable temperature while you're at home and automatically adjusts when you're away.

By following these fall HVAC maintenance tips, you can ensure a cozy and energy-efficient autumn and winter season. However, if you require professional assistance or want to schedule your fall HVAC maintenance, Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to help. Our team of experienced technicians in Sterling, VA, is dedicated to providing top-notch HVAC services to ensure your system's optimal performance.

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