HVAC IssuesProblems with HVAC issues - heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can range anywhere from elevated operating expenses as a result of an older, inefficient system to hazardous defects. It is important to be somewhat familiar with your heating and air conditioning systems and to adequately maintain them to avoid any potential dangerous conditions or expensive repairs.
Probably the most important things you can do to maintain the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems, as well as the air quality in your house is to make sure that your duct-work and air-filters are cleaned or replaced regularly. Duct-work cleaning requires the expertise of a licensed professional. If you need to find a duct cleaning service in your area, this link is a good resource: www.nadca.com
It is also a good idea to routinely clean your registers and vents between your duct cleaning service’s visits. This can be done easily by cleaning and removing the registers and then vacuuming out the ducts as far as your vacuum hose can reach.
There are several easy and inexpensive things you can do yourself to maintain the efficiency of your heating system. If your heating system is a forced air furnace, you should clean or change the filter frequently (every 4 to 6 weeks during the cold months). If you have a radiator, you will need to “bleed” it of trapped air that would prevent the water from running through the system efficiently. You can do this by opening the bleeding valve until water comes out and then closing it – be careful as the steam and water is very hot. Be sure to have something handy to catch the water. If you have a hot water heating system, you’ll need to clean the boiler by opening the drain valve until the water runs clear. This should be done approximately once a month.
You should also do some regular maintenance on your air conditioning system. For central air conditioners, it’s a good idea to hire a licensed HVAC service company to give your system a service and evaluation before the hot months begin. This usually involves a thorough cleaning of the air conditioning unit, to include the condensor and evaporator coils and condensing lines, checking refrigerant pressures, and repairing any leaks and refill of the coolant if needed. Periodically, you should also check the unit for blockages and remove any vegetation growing around it that could interfere with its proper functioning. We recommend an absolute minimum of 12-inches clear space all around the condensing unit. You should also clean or change the filter and check the condensate drain at least monthly. For window AC units, you should clean or replace the filter at least monthly, bi-weekly during the hottest months. You should also check the condensate drain to make sure that all moisture is draining properly.
If your HVAC systems run on natural gas, make sure you know where your gas shut off valve is in case you need to close it. You should also make sure to keep an adjustable wrench handy for this purpose. If you ever smell gas, follow the below steps:
- Evacuate your home.
- Once everyone is safely out of the home, shut off the gas supply from the external shut off valve (this will be located near your gas meter).
- Call the utility company or emergency service to report the leak.
If you would like a professional, independent opinion on the condition of your HVAC systems, please contact us for quotes.
It is recommended that you choose a home inspector who is a Certified Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), Registered Professional Inspector with the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI), and ICC code certified as a Residential Combination Inspector.