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How to Inspect Your HVAC

Posted on The Cooler Blog October 11, 2013 by Terry Jones

Want to avoid costly repairs throughout the year? Well we definitely recommend that you inspect your HVAC system twice a year. Falling leaves and budding trees are signs to conduct an HVAC inspection to ensure that heating and air conditioning flow efficiently. Some mechanical components, like the flue pipe that expels carbon monoxide, should only be checked by a professional. But there are other aspects that you can perform yourself.

Inspect Filters
Air filters, which clean the air returning to your HVAC system, are the easiest and most obvious components to check. Your air filter should be free of dust and dirt if you clean/replace them on a monthly basis. If your routine air filter maintenance has taken a backseat to other priorities, it’s recommended to vacuum or rinse the air filters under a hose or faucet, or replace disposables.

Ductwork Problems
Exposed ductwork in your basement or attic is easy to inspect. Look for peeling duct tape and loose, fittings around seams, dirt streaks that indicate escaping air, dents in metal, and collapsed or torn sections of flex ducts. Check all exposed ductwork for loose fittings, dents, and collapsed or torn sections.

Furnace Flames
Turn on your furnace (if applicable) and observe the flame. The fire should be a steady blue color. If it’s a flickering yellow or orange, then it’s an indication of combustion problems; this will require professional help. Make sure side panels are closed and fastened properly.

Grills & Registers
Inspect air return grills and HVAC registers for dust, dirt, and pet hair that can obstruct the airflow. Open and shut registers to ensure they work. Make sure the room furniture isn’t blocking any vents.

Air Conditioning Compressors
Make sure outside compressors are clear of vines, shrubs, and leaves. Check that condensor unit fins are straight and undamaged. Place a level on top of units to detect a tilt; a tilt will affect efficiency and performance. If not level, slip a shim under the unit. Remove the top panel and inspect the fan blades for damage. If a blade is bent, call an expert to replace it.

Thermostat Check
Inspect thermostats by removing covers to sleuth out dust and dirt that can shorten the life of mechanisms. Remove particles by gently cleaning with a Q-Tip.

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