Home Tips & Maintenance

It is very important to keep your systems maintained during the year. There are items that must be checked on your heating and Air conditioning to ensure maximum efficiency every year by a professional.

Maintain Your Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning System
Air filters in HVAC systems should be replaced every month. We recommend a medium priced air filter that won’t restrict airflow as much as the expensive air filters. The less air flow a filter allows, the less efficient your heating system will be at keeping your house warm.

Get the furnace and humidifier checked out to ensure that it’s working well. It is good to get a maintenance contract with an HVAC company to inspect and service your furnace and air conditioner/heat pump each year. This will help preserve your system and greatly extend its life.

If you have outside air conditioners you can protect them from the snow by placing a plastic tree leaf bag around them. Be sure, however, that the unit is strictly an air conditioner and not a heat pump since the two look alike. Heat pumps and air conditioner units should not sit directly on the ground, but should be supported to keep them level and allow any surface water to flow under them and away from them. Keep the units clear of shrubbery.

Your heat pump serves as an air conditioner to cool the home in the summer and to provide heat in the winter. I recommend having the unit checked once in the spring prior to summer operation and again in the fall before winter operation. The unit should be pressure tested to determine if there are any leaks in the unit itself or its lines. Also, refrigerant pressure should be checked and more added if necessary. This will insure the optimum operational efficiency of the unit.

Heat pump units should turn on immediately when you switch the thermostat to heat. Be sure that you have the proper thermostat installed which allows for heat from the heat pump, and auxiliary heat from the electric furnace. It should have a setting for heat and auxiliary heat. Use the auxiliary heat in case the heat pump is not enough to adequately heat your home.

General Tips for a Healthy Home

• Clean or replace air conditioning filters. If you have an energy recovery system (air exchange system), remember that these filters also need to be cleaned or replaced.

• Inspect, clean or replace kitchen vent hood filters (non-charcoal filters).

• Flush all toilets and run water through all sinks, especially in bathrooms that are not used on a regular basis.

• Ceck the exterior drainage conditions to ensure that nothing is causing water to stand in puddles for more than 24 hours and that water from any source is not draining toward your foundation.

• Check your GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) for proper operations by tripping the circuit interrupter buttons and then resetting them. If they will not trip and reset, contact your Customer Care Department for service or information on what to do.

• Inspect, lubricate and clean all of your exterior vents. Make sure that air flows freely and that each has an operable damper to prevent back flow of outside air and to keep small animals from entering your home.

• Inspect and clean all weep holes for water drainage (windows).

• Every six months, inspect and service either your heating or air conditioning system, depending on the season.

• Twice a year, you should inspect and repair the following caulked areas, as necessary:      • Kitchen and bath wet areas.
     • Flushing areas.
     • Window and door seals.
     • Around all penetrations (hose, faucets, duct work from vents, fireplace and chimney vents).
     • Vinyl, aluminum or wood siding.
     • Stucco or mortar cracks.
     • Interior settling or shrinkage sheetrock cracks.

• If you have a basement and it has a sump pump, check to make sure it is operating properly, clean the pump screen and remove any soil buildup from the well.

• Clean and repair gutters. Make sure gutters are free of material that could prevent free flow of water. Make sure you have splash deflectors at the base of the downspout to deflect water away from the home.

• Inspect and adjust sprinkler systems. Set your timers for the proper season to ensure enough, but not too much water per station.

• Drain and refill your hot water heater(s). This may be necessary on a more frequent basis if you live in an area with extremely hard water.

• Inspect and test your hot water heater safety valve.

• Inspect your garage door(s), rails and lock system; adjust and lubricate, as necessary. Consider changing your garage door opener code as a security precaution.

• Service your lawn mower and yard equipment (blowers, edgers and trimmers).

• Clean your faucet aerators and inspect your plumbing for leaks.

• Clean and sharpen your garbage disposal by running a tray of ice cubes and depositing a cleaning (foaming) product into the disposal.

• Inspect or have tested your home fire extinguishers.

• Replace smoke alarm batteries.

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