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4 Basic HVAC Tips Homeowners Should Know

September 28, 2021 | Blog

Learning about air conditioning systems can be overwhelming in the beginning. For good reason — there’s a lot to consider. But you don’t need to be an expert in air conditioning units to keep your unit working as efficiently as possible. Keep reading to learn more about HVAC systems and how to prevent common future issues!

Know Your System

In order to better understand your system, you have to know which type you have. There are many different HVAC systems, but two of the most common in the United States are central air systems and ductless mini-split systems. 

Central AC systems, also known as ducted systems, are found in most large and new homes. They use split systems to send air through ducts to multiple rooms at once. “Split systems” just means separate heating and cooling systems. This includes an indoor unit, an outdoor unit and a thermostat.

A ductless mini-split system is made up of multiple small, compact indoor units and an outdoor compressor/condenser. Typically, each room in a house has its own unit installed. 

Knowing which unit you have will tell you exactly how your house is heated and cooled and how often you’ll need maintenance. 

Replace Your Air Filters

Air filters are one of the most essential, but often overlooked, components to your HVAC systems. They filter out small and large particles that can be harmful to your health like dust, pollen, pet dander and even pieces of insulation. 

Whether you have a central air unit or ductless unit, letting your air filters get too dirty or clogged will force your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to. This wastes more energy and can cause your energy bill to increase as a result. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends replacing your central AC unit filter every month or every three months at a minimum. You can find filter replacements at any home improvement store. (Make sure you measure the size of your filter before you purchase!)

Another factor to consider before replacing central AC unit filters is its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. This just means how well a filter can remove particles from your air. A good rule of thumb is the higher the number, the better the filtration. Most homes should have filters with a minimum MERV rating of 10, but anything over that, such as 13 or 14, could possibly be too much for your system.

Most manufacturers of ductless systems suggest filters should be cleaned every two weeks. They aren’t disposable, however, so instead of replacing them every month like with central systems, their filters can just be rinsed with water. 

Check Your Ductwork

If you have a central AC unit, it’s easy to forget about your ductwork. But just like air conditioning unit filters, ductwork requires cleaning and maintenance, too. Failing to check your ducts can cause a variety of dangerous issues, including:

  • Mold
  • Pests
  • Clogs in System

All these issues are not only hard to fix but also can be expensive. And while you could attempt to clean your vents yourself, it would be wiser to call a professional that knows exactly what to look for and how to avoid doing any further damage, costing you more money in the long run.

Annual Maintenance or Tune-Ups

The best way to keep your air conditioning unit working without issues is to schedule annual tune-ups. Waiting until an issue comes up to call a professional is just asking for trouble. Not only does it give you less time to find someone you can trust, but will likely cost you more in the end. In fact, according to the Indoor Air Quality Association, regular HVAC maintenance is said to reduce the risk of pricey repairs by as much as 95%! 

If you’re looking for trusted HVAC experts to inspect your system or are just looking for HVAC advice, we at Barker’s Heating and Cooling would be happy to be put to the test! Contact us today to help get your HVAC system into good shape.

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