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Top 10 HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

TL;DR: Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is crucial for efficiency, cost savings, and comfort. This article provides the top 10 maintenance tips for homeowners, including replacing air filters regularly, cleaning both indoor and outdoor units, inspecting ductwork, installing a programmable thermostat, checking vents, proper insulation, cleaning condensate drain lines, monitoring refrigerant levels, and scheduling professional maintenance twice a year. While these tasks can be done independently, seeking professional help, like Clarke and Rush in Sacramento, can ensure optimal HVAC performance and longevity.

As a homeowner, you’re likely aware of your HVAC system’s part in keeping your home a comfortable place to live. In California, 72% of the residents use some kind of HVAC equipment to regulate the temperature in their homes. Because we rely on these systems to keep our homes comfortable, we must maintain them regularly to keep running at peak efficiency.

Overlooking this aspect of HVAC ownership can lead to unexpected breakdowns, expensive repairs, and a shortened lifespan of the units themselves. This article will cover the top 10 HVAC maintenance tips every homeowner should know to help you keep your system in top shape and ensure your home stays comfortable, no matter the weather outside.

The Importance of Regular HVAC Maintenance

Most homeowners don’t actively think about their HVAC system. The majority leave this task on the back burner until something breaks or goes wrong. Regular upkeep can help you see any issues before they escalate. You can also enjoy other advantages when regularly taking care of the HVAC system.

  1. Different HVAC systems have different life spans; for example, central AC can last up to 20 years with the proper upkeep. Having your system serviced regularly can add a few years to its lifespan. 
  2. A recent study showed that 52% of the annual energy bill of a typical U.S. household goes to heating and cooling. An HVAC system in good condition is more cost- and energy-efficient. This means you pay less on your utility bills and, at the same time, reduce your carbon footprint.
  3. Cost savings is another crucial benefit. The average cost for HVAC repairs starts at $150 and can go up to $2,900, depending on the issue. Imagine having to pay that every few months. Regular maintenance will help you avoid repairing the same parts repeatedly or replacing the entire HVAC system before it’s time.
  4. Comfort and air quality in your home are directly related to your HVAC maintenance. A well-maintained system provides better temperature control, making your place more comfortable and cozy. It also improves your home’s air quality by keeping your filters clean and your system free of dust and allergens.

Top 10 HVAC Maintenance Tips 

As a homeowner, there are some simple steps you should be taking to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. If you take these tips to heart and follow them properly, you can save money on repairs, extend the life of the HVAC, and improve your home’s air quality.

Regularly Replace Your Air Filters

One of the simplest and fastest tasks you can do for your HVAC system is to replace the air filters regularly. When the filters are dirty, they block the airflow, so your system must work harder than necessary, using more energy and causing additional wear and tear.

Clean filters can also improve the air quality in your home by trapping any allergens or other microscopic particles. Generally, it’s recommended to replace your filters every 30 to 90 days. However, if you have pets or allergies, you’ll want to change them more often.

Keep the inside HVAC Unit Clean

Dust and other particles can block the airflow, putting extra strain on your unit. To prevent this, regularly dust off the interior components using a soft brush or a vacuum with a brush attachment. For the evaporator and condenser coils, consider hiring a professional, as these parts are delicate and require careful cleaning to maintain their functionality.

Maintain the Outdoor Unit

Fallen leaves, twigs, and grass clippings can accumulate and obstruct airflow, leading to inefficiency and potential system damage. Keep a two-foot clearance around your unit and regularly check for any obstructions. 

You can clean the outdoor unit by yourself with the tools you already have at home. Simply switch off the unit, then use a garden hose, not a pressure washer, to gently rinse the dust and dirt off the coils.

Inspect the Ductwork

The ductwork of your HVAC system moves the cold or hot air throughout your home. If the ducts leak air, your system will have trouble maintaining the temperature you prefer. You can do a simple visual inspection by looking for signs of damage, like tears or gaps. You can also feel around the ducts when your system runs to see if any air is escaping.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can set different temperature levels for different times of the day. You can tell it to set a lower temperature when you’re out during the day and increase it before get back home. This way, you’re not wasting energy heating an empty house, and your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard.

Check Heating Vents

When the air vents are clear, your system can distribute heat evenly throughout your home. Furniture or other items can unintentionally block these vents, reducing your system’s performance. Keep them clear of any obstructions, like rugs or curtains. Regular vacuuming around the vents can also help remove dust and debris that could hinder airflow.

Insulate Your Home Properly

If your home is poorly insulated, your HVAC will consume more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. To improve your home insulation, check around the windows and doors for drafts. If you feel air moving, seal any gaps with weatherstripping.

You can also add more insulation to your attic or basement, as these areas often lose the most heat. You can also insulate your HVAC ducts to prevent energy loss.

Keep the Condensate Drain Line Clean

The condensate drain line gets rid of the liquid your air conditioner creates as it cools your home. When this line is clogged, it can cause the moisture to spill over. You can use one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water and pour it down the drain line every few months to help keep it clear.

Maintain the Refrigerant Level. 

Your HVAC system won’t function correctly if the refrigerant level isn’t right. Too much or too little can lead to issues like inefficient cooling and higher electricity bills. You can check the refrigerant level by turning off your HVAC system, locating the refrigerant line, and observing the level.

Get Regular Professional Maintenance

Regular professional maintenance can keep your HVAC system running smoothly. These visits ensure any issues get caught before they cause other problems, saving you from unexpected repairs. Ideally, you should schedule a regular maintenance visit twice a year – once in the spring for your cooling system and once in the fall for your heating system.

Get an HVAC Specialist in Sacramento, CA

From regular filter changes to installing a programmable thermostat, keeping your HVAC system in good shape requires only a few simple steps. These are the top 10 HVAC maintenance tips every homeowner should know and can do by themselves if they make the time.

But if you want some extra help, the HVAC experts at Clarke and Rush in Sacramento, California, are here to lend you a hand. We can help you maintain your furnace, air-con, and heat pump. Want to insulate your home? We can do that as well. See why we’ve been the top HVAC service in Sacramento for over 60 years, call us today!



Why is regular HVAC maintenance important?

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure your HVAC system operates efficiently, reducing energy consumption and utility bills while extending its lifespan. Additionally, it helps prevent unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs, maintaining your home’s comfort year-round.


How often should I schedule professional HVAC maintenance?

It’s recommended to schedule professional maintenance twice a year, ideally in the spring for your cooling system and in the fall for your heating system. This ensures your HVAC system is in top condition before the peak seasons, enhancing its performance and reliability.


What services does Clarke and Rush offer for HVAC maintenance?

Clarke and Rush provides comprehensive HVAC services tailored to meet your maintenance needs. From routine filter changes and thermostat installations to inspecting ductwork and checking refrigerant levels, our expert technicians ensure your HVAC system operates at peak efficiency.

How can Clarke and Rush help improve my home’s energy efficiency?

In addition to HVAC maintenance, Clarke and Rush offers insulation services to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Proper insulation reduces heat loss, enhances comfort, and lowers energy bills. With over 60 years of experience serving Sacramento, California, Clarke and Rush are your trusted partners for all your HVAC and insulation needs.

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