Many homeowners put HVAC maintenance on their springtime to-do list. They call in an HVAC technician to give the system an annual checkup, but is there more that should be on that list? Yes, air filters and ducts.
Modern forced-air HVAC systems require a steady flow of air to work efficiently. They need clean air, however. Debris and dust can infiltrate the HVAC system, making it work harder than it should. That can lead to frequent repairs and can shorten the life of the equipment.
Air filters have another purpose. They help filter allergens and pollutants from your home’s air. Indoor air is more polluted than just about any outdoor air you breathe. Filters help capture the minute particulates that make your indoor air so bad.
Springtime is a great time to reassess your choice of air filter. If you’re using a basic fiberglass panel, you have minimal air filtration. It’s enough to keep the debris out of the HVAC system, but not much else. Consider upgrading to a pleated filter with a MERV rating of 5 or more. Another option is to select a washable electrostatic filter designed to work for about five years of use with regular cleaning.
It’s critical that you change air filters regularly. Clogged air filters are a major reason HVAC equipment fails. A clogged filter doesn’t allow airflow to the HVAC equipment properly. The increased air resistance makes the equipment work harder, which can lead to more repairs and shortened equipment life. Make sure you check the air filter monthly and replace it as soon as dust begins accumulating on the fibers.
Older ductwork tends to have leaks. In the worst case, you may be losing up to 20 percent of the heated and cooled air going through the ducts because of leaks, gaps or loose connections. Spring is a great time to evaluate the ducts and get any repairs needed.
A professional HVAC contractor has the equipment and expertise to spot gaps, even in the ducts that you can’t access easily. They can also make repairs and get those leaking ducts airtight again.
Other Steps You Can Take
If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, especially with the arrival of allergy season, there are other steps you can take to help improve the air you breathe. Some of your options include:
- Making sure to dust with a damp cloth at least weekly.
- Bating pets weekly; brushing them daily.
- Keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible when pollen levels outside are high.
- Considering the installation of additional HVAC equipment, such as an air purifier or ventilator.
For professional help with springtime HVAC maintenance, or any other home comfort concerns, contact the pros at Carefree Comfort, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning. We proudly serve our neighbors in the North Chicago suburbs.
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