Diamond Certified Experts: Heating and Cooling System Tips

by James Florence


Considering the complex nature of heating and cooling systems, it’s beneficial to know some maintenance basics. Photo: Innovative Mechanical, Inc. (2015)

Temperature regulation and air quality are key concerns in any indoor environment, which is why, in addition to keeping your home’s heating and cooling systems functional, you’ll want them working as efficiently as possible. We’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to share their tips on basic HVAC maintenance and troubleshooting.

1. Know the location of your furnace filter: Kim Haddon of Haddon Heating & Cooling

While routine furnace filter replacement is often neglected, for some, the problem starts with locating the filter in the first place. If you don’t know where your furnace filter is, there are a few common places to check, including the furnace blower compartment, an external compartment of the furnace, or a return air grill in either the ceiling or a nearby wall.

2. Find a furnace filter that meets your needs: Al Morando of Innovative Mechanical, Inc. 

Many consumers assume all furnace filters are basically the same, but in reality, filters vary greatly in terms of efficiency, from a 7 to 10 percent efficient standard filter to a high-efficiency filter that catches 97 percent of airborne particles and contaminants. While the latter is more expensive, for those suffering from allergies, asthma and other air quality-related conditions, it can be a worthwhile investment. Before purchasing a high-efficiency filter, however, you should consult a licensed HVAC professional to make sure it’s compatible with your particular furnace system.

3. Don’t close too many heater vents: Kent Penning of Cold Craft, Inc.

In an effort to minimize winter heating costs, some people employ the strategy of closing air vents in unoccupied rooms throughout their homes. While this can potentially save money, it can also cause the furnace to overheat and trigger its automatic shutoff, requiring a professional service call. To avoid this, be sure to leave at least 60 percent of your home’s air vents open at all times. 

4. Test heating and cooling systems before they’re needed: Brian Waskow of Hometown Heating & Air Conditioning

It’s better to find out that your air conditioner needs servicing in the spring than on a hot summer day. For this reason, prior to summer, it’s a good idea to turn on your air conditioner and let it run so you can test your thermostat and make sure the air is coming out cold in all the vents. You should also perform a similar test of your heater before winter. By being proactive about testing, you can take care of any issues before these systems are needed.

5. Troubleshoot your air conditioner before calling a professional: Michael Zieglar of Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar

If your air conditioning system doesn’t seem to be operating at full capacity, take a moment to do some troubleshooting before calling a professional. One possibility is that you’ve simply forgotten to set the thermostat to the “cool” setting or to a sufficiently low temperature. Another contributing factor is if components like the filter or evaporator coil are dirty or clogged, in which case you should clean them and see if it makes a noticeable improvement.

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