It’s amazing how fast the weather is turning this year here in the New York City area. Just a few weeks ago you were probably running the AC, and now you’re probably thinking about turning on the heat. Not so fast! Have you completed your fall HVAC maintenance yet? To keep the occupants of your space comfortable and your systems in great shape, now’s the time to tackle the HVAC maintenance checklist.
Read on to learn what needs to be done to your heating and cooling systems, as well as why it’s in your best interest not to skip the essential tasks on the HVAC maintenance checklist.
Learn more about the WHY behind fall HVAC maintenance in NYC by reading this: 4 Consequences of Fall Furnace Maintenance Neglect.
Use these checklists to start a conversation with a certified provider of HVAC maintenance in NYC or in your area about what’s included in their service agreement, as well as what HVAC maintenance checklist tasks are needed for your equipment.
Fall HVAC maintenance checklist: AIR CONDITIONING
You’re probably wondering why you need to do AC maintenance now, when you (hopefully) won’t be using your AC again for a while. The fact is, now is the best time to clean and protect your AC system after this record-breaking hot summer. If you skip these important AC-related tasks on the HVAC maintenance checklist, you’re risking a major HVAC repair headache (not to mention a major expense) when you start up your air conditioner in the spring and find it’s not working.
Call in your HVAC maintenance technician to tackle these steps so your system is in top condition come spring:
Clear drain lines and pans
It’s never a good idea to leave standing water around. Not only can it lead to mold and mildew growth, but standing water also attracts insects and vermin. Also, drain lines should be checked for blockages so you don’t end up with water leaks and a big mess when you turn on the system in the spring.
Clean the coils
Built-up grime on your AC coils not only causes the system to lose efficiency, it can cause corrosion of the metal coils. Don’t let that dirt and debris sit there over the winter, possibly causing coil damage and refrigerant leaks.
Learn more about coil cleaning: AC Coil Cleaning: How to Tell When You Need It
Check refrigerant charge
Speaking of leaks, now is the time to make sure you don’t have any. If refrigerant charge is low, that means there’s a leak somewhere, and it’s better to find and fix it now. If you don’t, you’ll be turning on the unit on that first hot day to find it won’t cool your space.
Check belts and pulleys
Worn belts sitting idle all winter can break when your system starts up again. Prevent bigger problems with this HVAC maintenance checklist item: have your system inspected and replace worn parts now.
Get ducts inspected
Especially after such a hot and humid summer, moisture can accumulate in your ductwork. When that happens, it can lead to the growth of mold and other biological contaminants. In the worst case, people can experience health problems and even Sick Building Syndrome. Does your service provider include duct inspection on their HVAC maintenance checklist? If not, ask for your ducts to be inspected to see if you need duct cleaning services.
Learn more about duct cleaning services from this informative guide: FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality.
Fall HVAC maintenance checklist: HEATING
Especially for a commercial establishment, you are responsible for the not just the comfort of your employees and customers, but also their safety. So it’s essential to make sure your equipment is properly taken care of. This HVAC maintenance checklist is a resource that can make sure you’ve covered the essential tasks to prevent a breakdown of your heating system.
It’s important to note that fall heating maintenance is not one-size-fits-all. Depending on the type of equipment you have, how it is fueled, and the specific needs of your building and your business, there may be different HVAC maintenance checklist tasks that need to be completed.
Especially if the same filters serve both your AC and heating systems, be sure to change those now, to avoid introducing contaminants that can cause system damage. Also, ask your service provider to show you how to change them and how frequently it needs to be done. Depending on your system and usage, you may need to change filters monthly or even more often.
Check belts and pulleys
Just like your air conditioning system, you heating equipment has belts and pulleys that control the blower and motor housing. These can get worn over time. Now is the time to replace any worn parts to prevent breakdowns and further damage to your heating system. A small thing like that can cause you to be without heat during freezing weather. This HVAC maintenance checklist task prevents bigger problems later.
You won’t get reliable heating if thermostat readings are off. Make sure they are working properly before the start of the heating season.
Check operation of blower fans and motors
The blower assembly is a critical part of your heating system. If fans are covered in grime or a motor is operating sluggishly, your system’s performance can suffer. Parts must be cleaned, lubricated, and faulty parts replaced.
Inspect electrical parts
A simple failure of a wire or electrode can take down your heating system. Make sure your electrical parts and connections are in good shape.
Check operation of the limit switch
The limit switch is a safety control that turns off the burner when parts of your heating system get too hot, and then shuts off the blower after the temperature drops. If blower is running continuously, this part could need to be adjusted or replaced.
Check duct insulation
The insulation in your ducts can become damaged over time. When that happens, your expensive heated air can escape before it ever has a chance to reach the areas where it’s needed. As a result, your system has to work harder to warm your space. That translates into higher energy bills for you and extra wear and tear on the system that can cause breakdowns. Don’t skip this essential task on the HVAC maintenance checklist.
Additional steps for gas heating systems:
- Check the pilot light or ignitor, valves and thermocouple.
- Check the gas burner flames, which should be steady with no trace of yellow coloring. Your technician may need to adjust the flame height.
- Inspect the condition of the gas line.
Additional steps for oil heating systems:
- Oil furnaces may need cleaning and maintenance more frequently than gas furnaces.
- Check fuel volume, as well as oil filters, gaskets and pump strainer.
- Check condition and operation of oil nozzle, air tubes, and pump.
- Clean & adjust draft regulator.
- Clean & check operation of the stack control or electric eye safety switch. This safety device shuts off the motor if the burner fails to ignite.
- Check the chimney smoke: if it’s black, the oil is not burning completely. This wastes fuel and causes pollution. Your technician needs to adjust controls.
Clearly, there’s a lot more to fall HVAC maintenance than you might expect, and we hope this HVAC maintenance checklist serves as an informative guide. Get it done now during this fleeting in-between season to get improved performance, better comfort, and peace of mind during the heating season and beyond.