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Spring Home Maintenance

Our family here at Mainstream Electric is always looking for a way to better serve our community. We love being helpful to our customers, friends, and family so we’re proud to add heating and cooling to both our services list and our name. You may have noticed the name change and additional service listings on our website and it’s true, we now offer HVAC and furnace services for our clients.

So with spring just a couple of days away (the official first day of spring is March 20th this year), it’s time to begin scheduling annual HVAC and air conditioner maintenance. Annual maintenance for your system is important for prolonging its life and for ensuring that the system runs as efficiently as possible. Spring is the best time of year for the maintenance because it allows you to find problems and get them fixed before you turn on your system for the first time.

What You Should Do

While we recommend scheduling a professional service tune-up for your HVAC system this spring, there are a few things you should do if you aren’t planning on having a professional maintenance performed on your system.

Change out your air filter. This is the easiest, most inexpensive, and most important thing you can do to maintain both your home and your cooling system. Air filters improve the quality of air in your home, reduce allergy problems, and keep your ventilation duct clean and clear. A dirty air filter impedes the flow of air in your system and can reduce how efficiently it operates. Ideally, you want to replace this filter every three to six months.

Clear the external condenser unit. Your HVAC unit needs to be able to breathe. Air needs to flow over the outside condenser fins to remove heat from the internal refrigerant. That means you need to keep the condenser clear of any debris. Rake back leaves and trim bushes to clear at least a two-foot area around the condenser. Be sure to take a moment to examine the condenser for signs of damage. If something is broken (impacted fins, damaged fan), then you will need to get the unit repaired before you turn on the system for the first time this year.

Dust and clean. As clean as your filter and ductwork may be, cleaning and dusting your home is essential to having clean indoor air. Dust the vents and registers of your ventilation system and take a moment to look inside to see if the ducting itself is clean for maximum clean-air quality.

Check for drafts. Double check your home for drafts and air leaks from windows and doors. These kinds of problems should have been obvious during the winter (leaks will let in the cold very easily) and a draft is easy to find with an incense stick. Simply light an incense stick and hold it near to windows or places you suspect a draft to be and watch the smoke to see if it’s drawn away.

Professional Service

These are, of course, not the only things that need regular service for maximizing the effectiveness of your unit. According to ENERGY STAR, you should be:

  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Cleaning both the evaporator and condenser
  • Lubricating all moving parts
  • Clearing the condensate drain
  • Testing your thermostat
  • Cleaning all fan blower components
  • Checking refrigerant levels

If you’re willing to risk some more advanced maintenance techniques, you can do a few of these yourself. You’ll find that getting a proper test of your thermostat or taking apart the blower fan to lubricate and replace bearings is more complicated than you’re willing to handle. We recommend scheduling a spring tune-up for your system because you get the full maintenance your HVAC unit requires and you can trust that it was done well.

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