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Fall Into Proper HVAC Maintenance With These Easy Seasonal Tips

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Your HVAC system provides you with the ability to control everything from temperature to humidity. Regardless of where you live in the United States, keeping it in good shape is important. Regular maintenance ensures that you'll have access to climate control features long into the future. The most advantageous time to run HVAC maintenance tasks is in the spring or fall, as most people significantly change the way they use their systems shortly after the beginning of the new season. This article focuses on fall maintenance tasks that help to ensure your system keeps you comfortable all winter long. 

Replace Your Humidifier Filter

In the summer, you don't typically need to add humidity to the air unless you happen to live in an extremely dry area. For most people, it's far more common to require a dehumidifier during the warmer months instead. In the winter, the use of forced air or electric heat can make indoor air extremely dry. This often manifests as a stuffy nose, coughing, or other mild breathing problems.

To combat this, replace your humidifier filter and add water to it on the same day you first start up your heating system or furnace. This will help to raise your indoor humidity to a more comfortable level. For the first few days, monitor your humidity and make adjustments to the settings until you find it comfortable.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a relative humidity of 30 to 60 percent for optimal indoor air quality.

Clean and Inspect Ductwork

Fall is also the perfect time to inspect and clean your ductwork. Small cracks, splits, or tears in duct seams destroy your indoor heating efficiency by depressurizing your air delivery system. Broken ductwork will fail to deliver heating or cooling to specific areas of your home. The good news is that any problems you encounter are quite easy to fix

Starting from your furnace or heat pump, run your fingers all along the ductwork to feel for ragged spots, cracks, and breaks. Look for streaks of dust coming from the seams; this is a dead giveaway that you have problems. Be sure to do this with the system on to make escaping air easier to identify.

If you happen to find any cracks or splits, you can use duct tape to seal it off temporarily. For a much more permanent fix, seal it using metal repair tape. If you have experience with welding, you can also well the seal shut.

Once you're satisfied that your ductwork doesn't require any additional repairs, it's time to clean it. Start by mixing up a few drops of dish soap and a bucket of hot water. Using your damp, lightly soapy cloth, gently wipe down all surfaces on the ductwork. 

Next, inspect the intake and outtake events from your furnace or heat pump. Clean these well, especially if they have dust or debris caught in them. 

Clogged intake or outtake vents severely reduce indoor air quality and heating efficiency. If they become completely blocked, they may even cause your furnace or heat pump to overheat or burn out. Never neglect this step, even if they appear clear at first glance.

Maintaining your HVAC system starts with simple tasks you can complete right at home. While there's plenty you can handle on your own, other maintenance tasks require the help of a professional HVAC specialist (such as one from Mechanical Energy Systems) for safety reasons. Cleaning out the inside of ductwork, replacing electrical components, and repairing broken furnace parts should all be left to the professionals, as they carry a high risk of injury and damage to your system. Contact your local contractor today for more information.