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DIY Maintenance for Your HVAC System

Let’s first get this out of the way. Do not conduct DIY repairs on your own HVAC system. HVAC systems are complex and a mistake could be costly on your bank account and the comfort in your home. However, there are some maintenance items and minor repairs you can do yourself. We’ll walk you through a few of them here. And remember, before you perform any maintenance yourself, shut off the fuel line and power supply to your HVAC system so you can work on it safely.

Clean, clean, and clean

The best thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system’s integrity is keep it clean. Dirt and debris buildup on any component of your furnace or AC unit can lead to poor heating and cooling performance and even damage your system.

1. Outdoor condenser/compressor

Your outdoor condenser/compressor unit should be cleaned regularly and should be cleared of any vegetation for at least two feet on all sides.

2. Change/clean blower filter

Change or clean your blower filter as often as the manufacturer recommends (typically once every month or every three months), and more often if you live in a particularly dusty area.

3. Vents and fans

Keeping your air vents and any filtering fans, such as in the bathroom, clean will help keep your system working well and your home looking good.

Tuneup your furnace

If your furnace goes out, you might not know it until you really need it, and then you might have to wait a few days for a technician to come or pay extra for emergency service. Here are a few things you can do to keep it maintained and in good condition.

1. Check the pilot light

If the pilot light goes out when you’re not using your furnace, you might not notice until you have to turn it on again. Regularly checking the pilot will ensure you don’t have to wait in the cold for the furnace to heat up again. If the pilot light is out, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for relighting.

2. Lubricate blower motor

Remove the access plate to expose the motor and apply two to three drops of oil to each oil port (usually two to three). For the specific number of ports and type of oil to use, check your owner’s manual.

3. Check burner for corrosion

Remove your furnace’s flame shield and check for corrosion on the burner. Be sure to check with the fan on and off to ensure the furnace is working properly.

4. Check the flue

Inspect the flue looking for any dents or gaps that would impair proper ventilation.

5. Make sure vents aren’t blocked

Even if your furnace is working perfectly, you won’t get any benefit if the vents in your house are blocked by furniture, rugs, drapes, etc.

Seal any air leaks in your home

If you have any air leaks in your home, make sure to seal them with caulk or weatherstripping to ensure your HVAC isn’t working overtime and your AC and heating aren’t going to waste.

Professional inspection and service

Finally, although you may feel confident in your ability to maintain your HVAC system, you should have a professional technician inspect it once every year. And for big jobs or anything you don’t feel totally confident doing on your own, always call a professional.

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