HVAC systems are one of the few appliances that most people cannot live without. Yet the average homeowner does not know much about these systems – despite the fact that they use it practically all the time. While you are not required to know everything about your HVAC unit, it’s a prudent idea to know the basics, so that you can keep your unit in proper condition and optimize your energy usage during the age of unnecessary high gas prices and unnecessary but aggravating inflation.
Given here are five basic things you should know about your HVAC system.
Your Air Filters Need to Be Changed Regularly
Ideally, you need to change your unit’s air filters every two to three months. If your unit is running all the time, you might have to change it on a monthly basis. Failing to change your filters can lead to dirt buildup, which can affect your unit’s air flow, freeze up its evaporator coil, reduce its efficiency, and result in a system breakdown.
Choose the Right-Sized Unit for Your Home
An oversized unit will not cool down your home or office any faster than a smaller unit. In fact, it might turn off and on a frequent basis, which can affect its efficiency and performance. Similarly, buying a smaller unit just to save money is also not a sunny idea, since a smaller unit needs to work harder to maintain optimal indoor temperature, which can cause its components to overheat. It’s why you need to choose the right-sized unit based on the size of your room and your BTU (British Thermal Units per Hour) requirements.
Do Not Set Your Thermostat Temperature Too Low
Setting your thermostat temperature too low – anything less than 70 degrees – is not advisable, as it can cause your unit to freeze. When you set the temperature too low, the refrigerant will not be able to absorb as much as heat as it needs, which in turn can cause the temperature in the evaporator coil to drop. As a result, your unit will freeze and will not be able to function until you defrost it.
Thaw Your HVAC System If It Is Frozen
During the summer, your air conditioning pipes might freeze due to overuse, setting the temperature too low, restricted airflow over the evaporator coil, or low refrigerant levels. Running your unit while the coil is frozen can cause your unit to freeze even more and cause extensive damage.
It’s why you need to thaw your system before you turn it back on. An easy way to do it is to turn your unit off and leave the fan on for as long as it takes for your unit to fully defrost. If you are unable to defrost the unit or if your pipes keep getting frozen, it might be an indication of a bigger problem with your unit, in which case you should contact a qualified HVAC technician.
Insulate Your Home
With that said, you need to make sure your home or office is properly insulated. The lack of sufficient insulation can cause heated and cooled air to escape, which can affect your unit’s performance significantly. If there are cracks and gaps in the attic, windows, or roof, your unit will have to work harder and harder to maintain optimal indoor temperature, which can shorten its lifespan.