If you’re like most Americans, you probably use your HVAC system a lot—probably daily. In fact, heating and cooling your home make up nearly 42% of your energy bill. Anything that works that hard will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. However, there are several preventative measures that you can take to make your system last longer. Here’s what they are.
The typical lifespan of your air conditioning unit is 12 to 15 years, while your furnace can last up to 20 years. However, you will only make it that long if you schedule regular heating and air services with your local HVAC company. At least twice a year, you should have an inspection, cleaning, and tune-up to ensure that your system is working properly. Schedule the air conditioning maintenance in early spring and your furnace maintenance in early fall.
Don’t Wait for Heating and Air Conditioning Repair
If you notice strange sounds, leaks, or any other changes with your HVAC system, don’t wait for heating and air conditioning repair. Getting heating and air conditioning repair at the first sign of a problem can save you from more costly problems down the road. You also run the risk of having to wait for heating or AC repair (or even a new unit) during the hottest or coldest months, which tend to be busy, if you ignore problems. You don’t want to be left sweating it out in August when your system fails because you didn’t heed the warning signs in June.
Change the Filter
It may seem like a simple preventative measure, but many people don’t change the filter on their HVAC systems frequently enough. You should change your filter at least every three months to keep your unit working efficiently. A dirty filter can slow the flow of air, which forces your unit to work harder to circulate the air. This can shorten its lifespan.
Use the “Auto” Fan
Most thermostats have either an “auto” or “on” fan option. When you choose “auto,” the fan will only run when the heat or air conditioning kick on. If you choose “on,” the fan will run continuously, which can shorten the life of many units. It can also mean that you will need to change the filter even more frequently. Unless you notice a lot of dust or someone in the home has breathing problems, you should use the “auto” option whenever possible.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, you may want to get one. With a smart thermostat, you can program or adjust the temperature from your phone, tablet, or computer—whether you’re at home or not. This can save your system from heating or cooling an empty house and can also save you money on your next energy bill.
Keep the Condenser Clean
Outside of your home, you’ll find the condenser for your HVAC system. You should keep it clean by removing debris, such as leaves and grass clippings. You should also avoid blocking the condenser with plants or lawn ornaments. It needs space to circulate air effectively. You should also check the condenser after any big wind or hair storms to ensure that nothing has been damaged on the unit.
Give Your System a Break
It’s a good idea to give your system a break once in a while and open the windows, use ceiling fans, or use the fireplace. You won’t be running your heat or air conditioning as much, which can prolong its life. You can also install curtains or blinds that block heat and cold from getting in or from escaping, which means that your system will get a much-needed break. Be sure to seal any cracks or holes around doors and windows, as well. It’s also a good idea to check the insulation and fan system in your attic. Good insulation keeps your HVAC from working harder than it needs to.
If you’re worried about replacing your furnace or air conditioning unit sooner than you should, try some of these preventative measures. Simple tasks, such as regular maintenance, changing the filter, getting timely heating and air conditioning repairs, updating your home, turning the unit off, and keeping parts clean can give your HVAC system a longer life.