HVAC Maintenance Tips For Homeowners

Ontario HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Ontario may not have Canada's harshest weather patterns, but the temperatures here can still be extreme—and high humidity levels make those temperatures feel even more uncomfortable. That's why most Ontarians treasure the HVAC systems that help us keep our homes at the perfect indoor comfort level all year round. But your HVAC is a very complex system with a lot of moving parts, and that means there's plenty of opportunity for breakdowns and malfunctions that could leave you shivering in the winter season, sweltering in the summer months, inconvenience you with costly repairs or an impacting on your home insurance.

The best way to avoid those unpleasant situations is by following a few essential HVAC maintenance tips. These tips can keep your system in great shape for longer, help prevent issues, and even save you some money on your energy bill. Here are a few essential Ontario HVAC maintenance tips from the reliable brokers at Morison Insurance.

Your HVAC Maintenance Checklist

HVAC systems can vary quite a bit depending on the components you have installed at your home, whether that's an air conditioner, a heating system, or just a heater. While not every home has an air conditioning system, it's safe to say that no one can go without some variety of heater when temperatures plunge during a chilly Ontario winter. These HVAC maintenance tips apply to most HVAC combinations, particularly those that utilize ductwork in a forced-air system for central air conditioning units, furnaces and heat pumps. Adding these tips to your spring home maintenance checklist will make sure you have peace of mind during the winter.

1. Change Air Filters

This task is often at the top of any Ontario HVAC maintenance tips list, and with good reason. Installing a clean filter is an often-neglected task that can have a big impact on not only your indoor air quality but also the condition and longevity of your overall HVAC system. The good news is that this is an easy, inexpensive task that typically only takes a few minutes to complete, so it's a breeze once you're familiar with it. In most cases, you just remove the old, dirty filter, remove the new air filter from its package, and slot it into place. Swapping out a clogged filter makes for a healthier living environment, improves proper airflow and reduces unnecessary wear and tear damage to your HVAC system.

2. Clean Air Vents and Registers

Your HVAC system has both air intake vents and output registers, and those entry and exit points are prone to collecting dust, dirt, pet hair and other grime that impedes airflow, accelerates wear and tear damage, and lowers indoor air quality. Taking the time to clean them off periodically with a vacuum or duster will improve performance and reduce allergens in your home.

3. Protect Outdoor HVAC Units

If you have an air conditioner or heat pump, you have an outdoor unit that houses the compressor. It needs to be outdoors so the compressor coils can vent excess heat properly, but that leaves it susceptible to collecting dirt, grass clippings, dead leaves and other debris that can make it difficult to function properly.

The exterior unit should be located away from high-traffic areas, out of direct sunlight and at least a few feet away from tree branches or bushes. Check up on it every month or two and brush off any debris that has been collected, taking note of any signs of potential damage. Compressor units have delicate aluminum fins that can easily be crushed or bent, but you can straighten them out with a fin brush or use a butter knife to bend them back into place gently.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you're looking for ways to reduce your system's energy consumption so you can increase your energy savings, it's worth considering the option of installing a programmable thermostat. You can set it to automatically lower or raise the temperature in your home based on the time of day and your typical schedule—for example, you could have it turn up the heat just before you typically get home from work or lower it at bedtime. That gives your HVAC system a break when you don't need the heat or AC on full blast. You can also get a smart thermostat that can be controlled remotely through your smartphone.

5. Ensure Air Registers Are Open

If you have a central heating and cooling system, you have registers in each room that deposit heated or cooled air into that part of the house. They can accidentally be knocked closed or closed by someone looking to cut off heat or cold in one room, but it's best to ensure that they're open at all times and control temperatures from the thermostat only. If some registers are closed, the system will sense that those rooms aren't at the correct temperature according to the thermostat and keep working to correct the problem, which increases energy costs and leads to premature breakdowns.

6. Monitor Energy Usage

We've mentioned energy costs several times, and with good reason—your HVAC system is the biggest consumer of energy in your household, so making sure it's able to run at peak efficiency is important to avoid out-of-control energy charges on your utility bill. As your system ages or experiences problems, its ability to operate with optimal energy efficiency decreases, and alert homeowners can identify an issue that requires professional attention by keeping track of energy consumption. If your home's energy costs start to rise unexpectedly, it's likely your HVAC system needs maintenance or repair services.

7. Consider Installing a Ceiling Fan

This HVAC maintenance tip may seem surprising, but you can reduce the workload of your HVAC system and your energy charges by installing a ceiling fan in a large room where you spend a lot of time, like the living room or primary bedroom. Ceiling fans improve air circulation by stirring up cold air that settles near the floor and pushing warm, rising air downward. That can change the temperature by about four degrees, meaning you can turn your thermostat up or down by a few degrees so your HVAC system doesn't have to work as hard and the room is still at your preferred temperature.

8. Invest in Professional, Annual HVAC Maintenance

There are some Ontario HVAC maintenance tips, such as the ones listed above, that most people can handle on their own. But there are also HVAC maintenance steps that professional technicians with the experience best handle to notice problems others may miss and correct them before they cause major issues for your household or require costly HVAC repairs. Investing in regular maintenance appointments once per year from an experienced HVAC technician is a very good idea. This is typically not as expensive as you may think, and it's certainly less costly than premature HVAC replacement for a system that wasn't adequately maintained. Many HVAC companies offer an annual maintenance plan that can further reduce HVAC maintenance costs and repair costs.

9. Talk to Your Broker About Equipment Breakdown Coverage

This isn't exactly an Ontario HVAC maintenance tip, but it can still help you considerably if you experience an HVAC breakdown. Equipment breakdown coverage is an addition to your home insurance coverage that applies specifically to equipment issues resulting from mechanical breakdowns, power surges, operator error and more, and the equipment in question includes HVAC systems. That means if your HVAC system breaks down unexpectedly for an insured reason and you have equipment breakdown coverage, you can have peace of mind that you'll receive insurance compensation to deal with the cost of repair and replacement to get your system up and running again as quickly as possible.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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