How long would you drive your car without changing the oil? You should think about heating and air conditioning the same way. Your HVAC system works harder than nearly any other system in your house. It often runs daily, working hard to heat or cool your home in response to the temperature outside. That’s a lot of wear and tear on an expensive system.
Regular HVAC maintenance keeps your system in tip-top shape, lubricates the gears (literally), and minimizes wear-and-tear damage. HVAC pros recommend getting your system inspected twice a year: once in spring before AC season begins and once in fall before you start using your heating.
A typical AC inspection costs between $50 and $200 and takes about an hour — but this quick inspection can save you thousands in the long run. If you have a service contract with your HVAC provider, this often includes twice-yearly checkups.
Here’s what you can expect from a professional AC inspection:
- Inspect the motor, blower, drain line and coils
- Check operating pressures and temperatures
- Verify refrigerant levels
- Lubricate where needed
- Check ducts for potential air leaks
- Test electrical components
Pros should handle most HVAC cleaning and maintenance. However, you can improve efficiency in between inspections with these three simple DIY steps:
1. Change the filters as recommended by the manufacturer
Some filters last several months, while others must be changed every month depending on size. Better filters are worth the money.
2. Clean your outdoor unit
Clear at least a few feet around your outdoor AC unit and ensure plants don’t invade its space during the growing season.
3. Keep an eye on your system
Every so often, take a look at your central HVAC system.