What can I do at home to keep my heating and air conditioning system running as efficiently as possible?
The first thing you need to do is change the filter monthly or more often if you live in a community with a lot of dust or you have pets. The system draws air from inside the house. Air is heated or cooled and pumped through the duct work into the house. A good filter traps dust, pollen, pet hair and other allergens and tiny bits that float around in the air.
Make sure the vents are open. Closed vents put additional stress on the HVAC system. Blocked vents, such as a couch or chair over the vent, keep air from flowing the way it’s supposed to. It also stops a free flow of air throughout the house. Some companies make vent filters. These are a bad idea. It restricts the air flow just like closing the vent off.
Go outside and make sure the area around the HVAC unit is clear of debris. If you have a lawn service, make sure they mow and trim all around the unit. Don’t pile things around the unit. Definitely do not put things on top. The grill on top of the huge fan is not designed to support weight. It’s there to keep things from falling into the space and damaging the fan. The fan also needs all the room to push air around.
Check the drain line on the unit. This is a small pipe that funnels the condensed water away from the unit’s internals. If this gets blocked, water will build up in the drain train and can cause problems.
Some maintenance, like checking the coolant levels, heat strips or heating coils and the circuit boards should be left to a licensed technician.