When it comes to maintaining the central air system in your home, you likely turn the duty over to a local service provider once a year and call it good. That is, of course, if you even remember that you’re supposed to have your heating and air conditioning units serviced annually. If you’re a responsible homeowner interested in preserving the value of your greatest asset, chances are good that you’ve signed up with a vendor that calls you with annual reminders when your system is due for service, and you take them at their word and make an appointment. However, maintaining your system in this manner can be an expensive undertaking, especially when you consider how easy it actually is to do inspections, upkeep, and regular swapping of parts on your own. So if you’re trying to save a few bucks while still keeping your heating system in ship shape for the winter, here are just a few areas of maintenance that you’ll want to navigate on your own.
- Pencil in regular check-ups. If you’re maintaining your heating system on your own, you should probably do 1-2 inspections per year. First, you should check out the system before such time as you need to use it, which is to say prior to the first cold snap. So at the end of the summer, get into your attic, your basement, or wherever your furnace resides to give it a good once-over. And you might want to do another check midway through the cold season, especially if you live in a climate where you’re running the heat non-stop for 4-6 months at a time.
- Get ready to clean. When it comes to your heating system, dirt, dust, and debris are bound to cause you the most problems. So it’s imperative that you perform at least annual cleaning (although a couple of cleanings per year is even better). Pull on your rubber gloves and get to work vacuuming up excess particles that have settled in the system. Then scrub any parts that are particularly filthy with a rag or a brush.
- Have parts on hand. You may have to do some minor replacements or repairs, so it pays to have the parts you need handy. At the very least you’ll probably need to replace the filter once a year (depending on usage) and you can generally find good deals online. You should also have some duct tape around to reseal any parts you pull off in the course of your inspection or cleaning. As for other malfunctions, you may simply have to order parts as you go (although you’ll surely learn over time which parts need replacement more often).
- Watch tutorials. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, especially with so many professional tutorials available for free online. If you’re scared to screw up your system with cleaning or parts replacements, simply find an applicable video and learn how to do it right the first time.
- Hire a pro. If you’re having trouble maintaining your system on your own or you just can’t seem to troubleshoot a problem, it’s time to call in the pros. If you want to create reasons to replace your air conditioning unit, there’s no better way than by continuing to tinker well past the point where you actually know what you’re doing. You’re only likely to cause more damage this way. You’ll end up saving more in the long run if you have a qualified professional come out for a look when you’re no longer able to service your heating system on your own.