Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips

Date Published: April 28, 2023

Each year when spring comes around, it’s a time to shake off all that winter dust and spruce up your property. It’s spring cleaning time!

Winters can be rough (especially in Colorado), so by the time spring rolls around, many components of the home will be ready for a much needed cleaning and/or maintenance. A little extra care can really prove to go a long way.

As a homeowner, there is of course, a multitude of items that will need your attention during spring cleaning. However, in this blog, we will focus on HVAC maintenance and cleaning.

What should you do each spring in order to optimize HVAC performance? Well, let’s take a closer look.

Note: Many of these items are geared towards the DIY homeowner. While none of these items are inherently dangerous, if you don’t feel comfortable maintaining the items yourself, we suggest you hire a professional HVAC contractor for an annual or bi-annual service on your systems. 

Change Your Furnace Filter

Depending on how hard your furnace worked during the winter, you will likely need to change (or clean) your furnace filter. Having heated the house all season long, this thing is probably going to be dirty!

The air filter is responsible for removing dust, pollen, hair, and other contaminants from the air circulating throughout your home.

A clean filter can really make a difference in air quality. It’s no wonder then why it is so important to keep the filter clean.

It’s always advisable to reference the owner’s manual to determine how to properly remove/replace the filter. The manual will also indicate the correct filter size.

Clean out Your Furnace Cabinet

The next step in HVAC maintenance is to check the furnace cabinet. Again, your owner’s manual will tell you how to shut off the unit and remove the furnace doors properly, in order to access the cabinet.

It is recommended to clean the cabinet with a shop vac, where possible. Some parts of the furnace might be too delicate for a high powered vacuum – in those cases, it’s better to use a brush or compressed air to remove dust and debris.

Maintaining a clean furnace is a crucial part of HVAC maintenance

The inside of the furnace cabinet needs to be cleaner to help improve heating capabilities.

Annually cleaning the inside of your furnace will not only help to increase the overall performance and longevity of the device, but it will also help to prevent dirt and dust in the cabinet from making its way into the duct system.

Humidifier Maintenance

If you live in a predominantly dry region, you likely have a humidifier attached to your HVAC system. During winter months, the air is usually drier, making it necessary to really put the humidifier to work. So by the time spring comes around, your humidifier filter will probably need to to be cleaned or replaced. Similar to the the furnace air filter, this a relatively easy task for a homeowner.

Refer to your user’s manual for proper removal/replacement directions. The manual will also indicate the correct type and size of the filter, if replacement is necessary.

Keep in mind that in the spring and summer months, you can turn your humidifier down. There will be more moisture in the air and no need to compensate as much with your humidifier. The amount of humidity needed varies from home to home, so it might be a matter of testing different settings to find a level suitable for you.

Image sourced from: https://www.wikihow.com

Clean Off Your AC Unit

After the indoor components have been spruced up, it’s time to head outside to check on your trusty air conditioning unit. Springtime means that warm weather is on its way, so your AC system should be ready to go!

The winter likely did a number on your unit, making it dirty. If the exterior condenser fins are clogged up by dirt and debris, the unit will not be able to expel heat properly; and thus it will not be able to cool the interior of the home efficiently. So taking that extra time to clean it up will certainly help to ensure optimum performance.

To clean the unit, first turn off the power to the unit (do not forget this step). Then remove the exterior panels off the device, being careful not to misplace any of the hardware. You can then use a brush to remove all debris and dust from the condenser fins. To get an even deeper cleanse, you can hose off the fins, spraying from the top downward (not inward). If there is buildup on the inside of the fins, use the hose to gently spray from the inside of the unit outward.

Test Your AC Unit

Now that it’s time to get that air conditioning fired up, it helps to make sure that it’s performing properly. Checking your air conditioning temperature drop is an easy way ensure that it’s working effectively.

To clarify, the temperature drop is how cold the unit is making the air it is supplying to the home, compared to the air that it is taking in.

Run your AC for several minutes. Then, using an infrared thermometer, measure the temp of the air coming from a supply duct compared to the air entering a return duct. For a system that is working correctly, the temp differential should be 15-20 degrees.

Image sourced from: https://www.hvachowto.com

Hire an HVAC Maintenance Company

Although all of the above mentioned items can be DIY, it all depends on what you’re comfortable with. The alternate route, of course, is to hire a qualified professional that can help you with your HVAC maintenance needs. This will generally be the pricier route, but it’s a great way to get an expert evaluation on your HVAC situation.

There are certain things the a professional HVAC company can handle better than the average DIY homeowner. One such maintenance item is duct cleaning. This is something you won’t necessarily need every year, but it’s definitely good practice to do it periodically as needed.

While there are some duct cleaning techniques that you can do on your own, they won’t be as thorough as a professional cleaning.

Inspecting HVAC Components

During our standard home inspections, we are always sure to inspect all HVAC components for functionality and condition. We always advocate for routine maintenance, especially after those harsh Colorado winters!

If we see any unkept furnaces, dirty AC Units, insufficient AC temperatures, etc. we will surely make note of it in our reports.

If you are in need of a home inspection, we hope that you will consider Scott Home Inspection. Feel free to visit us for more information, or book your inspection today. But in the meantime, stay up on that spring HVAC maintenance!

Inspector examining a furnace during a home inspection

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About the Author: Chris Kimmel

Chris Kimmel worked as an Associate Home Inspector for two years, handling numerous services including sewer scope inspections, pest inspections, mold air sample testing, radon testing, and water quality testing. Chris now works with Scott Home Inspection as a Content Writing Specialist.

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