Sustainability tip: getting started with HVAC maintenance

Summer is just around the corner and when the sun shines longer and the temperature rises, it means a few more hours of outdoor activity. In this time of change, we must not neglect our heating and ventilation systems, which worked so hard for us last winter.

Maintaining a healthy HVAC system not only keeps the system healthy, but it can keep you and your home healthy too. Air pollutants and pollutants can put a physical strain on your body. This is one reason why properly maintaining your equipment is so important. Scheduled maintenance can also save you energy costs.

One energy-saving spring cleaning activity is to check the health of these systems. This measure not only lowers operating costs, but also improves indoor air quality. Filters are a quick do-it-yourself project that can help alleviate both of these problem areas. Old filters can put strain on your system, which means the system will work harder and reduce power efficiency – which translates into higher energy costs. Dirty filters can also force dust and debris into your home. This maintenance measure extends the life of your system and ensures that the air in your home is clean and filtered. Ideally, homeowners are advised to check these filters for effectiveness once a month. You may need to change these at least every three months, and more frequently if you use it frequently.

Professional maintenance can also increase your energy savings and improve indoor air quality. The US Department of Energy recommends doing this every six months. A certified HVAC technician can ensure that your system is working safely and efficiently. You can determine the remaining life of the system, ensure proper venting and ignition, the efficiency of your plumbing or piping, and provide recommended heating and cooling settings for maximum comfort and savings.

HVAC best practices

  • Check the condition of your vent pipe and chimney. Parts of the ventilation system may have deteriorated over time. Repairing chimney problems can be expensive and warrant installing new heating appliances that do not use the existing chimney.
  • Check the physical integrity of the heat exchanger. Leaking boiler heat exchangers leak water and are easy to spot. Furnace heat exchangers mix combustion gases with house air when they leak – an important safety reason for their inspection.
  • Adjust the controls on the boiler or stove to achieve optimal water and air temperature settings for efficiency and comfort.
  • If you are considering replacing or upgrading your existing heating system, have the technician perform a combustion efficiency test.

Contact the Walking Mountains Science Center energy programs to find out how we can help. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 970-328-8777 for discount opportunities and our local contractor list.

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