How do you go about giving your heating and cooling system the care it needs? An HVAC tune-up can do the trick. Here's what you need to know about what this process entails and when you should get it taken care of.
Anatomy of an HVAC tune-up
All things considered, the point of a tune-up for your HVAC system is the same as one you'd schedule for your car - to make sure every part works as it should and replace certain components with a shorter shelf life than the whole system is supposed to have. Here are some of the key steps:
- Checking on the thermostat settings and controls (along with other major controls).
- Measuring the unit's refrigerant levels.
- Examining all of the moving parts (fins, blower motor and belts, coils) and cleaning or lubricating them as needed.
- Replacing the air filters (or, in the case of units with permanent filters, cleaning them).
- Tightening each electrical connection.
- Cleaning the condensate drain.
One important note: In most cases, cleaning or replacing HVAC filters can be a DIY job - one less thing for a technician to handle (and one less charge for you). Check out this tutorial from BobVila.com for more details.
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When (and how often) do you tune up your HVAC?
According to The Home Depot, you can have someone check the status of your HVAC unit at any time of year. (Although opting for a winter tune-up is probably inconvenient for a technician if you've got an external central air system, so maybe avoid doing that.)
Ultimately, what's more important is how often you have your unit examined. Twice a year is a good rule of thumb to follow, especially if you schedule HVAC service calls for seasonal transition points, just before you'll need either heating or cooling to be in tip-top shape. This is also in line with industry guidance on filter upkeep - at least once every six months - although experts recommend opting for filter changes every three months to best protect the shelf life and energy efficiency of the unit.
Count on HomeServe for HVAC maintenance
When things go awry with your HVAC, some replacements or repairs are relatively affordable, while others can be more than $1,000. If you opt for the TotalHome Warranty Systems Plan or Combo Plan from HomeServe, you'll be covered for up to $1,500 in HVAC upkeep costs each year and have the flexibility to use that budget for other repairs if it doesn't all go to HVAC bills.
See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered appliance and home system repairs.