Tips For Wintertime HVAC Maintenance
When it’s cold outside, cooling equipment is likely to be the last thing on your mind. However, winter can be a great time to upgrade, repair, replace or reset your cooling system. Scheduling cooling adjustments during the heating season offers two advantages: HVAC technicians have more time available outside their peak season, and better wintertime maintenance helps you avoid the need for summertime emergency service. To keep your system at peak efficiency, consider these tips for wintertime HVAC maintenance:
Stick to preventative maintenance schedules – routine cleaning can have a significant impact on energy efficiency. A dirty condenser coil can increase energy consumption up to 30 percent. In addition, dirty filters allow unfiltered air to bypass the clogged filter and deposit grime on the evaporator coil, which is much harder to clean than a filter is to replace.
Check and correct settings – preventive maintenance for cooling equipment should include periodic inspection of settings that can affect its performance and efficiency. Make sure the compressor is operating at peak efficiency. You should also periodically measure the refrigerant charge and correct it if necessary. Fixing an incorrect refrigerant charge can save you 5 to 10 percent on cooling costs. Changing the thermostat settings can lower your energy bills significantly, but we don’t recommend more than a 5-degree swing. You’ll waste more money trying to get it back to your original temperature.
Fix leaks and malfunctions – leaks and poorly performing equipment can kill your best efforts to shore up cooling efficiency. Ductwork leaks are fairly common and frequently overlooked. Sealing ducts and restoring the integrity of the unit can save around 20 percent of your annual cooling costs. Common corrective actions including simple screw and latch replacements, patching or replacing gaskets, and replacing missing screws on a loose access panels. The condensate drainpipe can also leak air, so be sure to recharge P-traps or U-bend water traps for condensate drain pans.