What Maintenance Can I do Myself?
With the proper maintenance and care, your equipment will operate economically and dependably. There are a few simple, routine maintenance operations you can do to help ensure the best performance and comfort from your system.
Before you perform any kind of maintenance, consider these important safety precautions.
- Disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels to perform maintenance. Please note that there may be more than one power connection switch.
- It’s best to be very careful when you handle parts or reach into units.
Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil every 3 to 4 weeks. A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type. (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it’s completely dry before you re-install it.) The prefilter and collection cells of an electronic air cleaner should be cleaned at least two or three times per year.
Clean dust off of your indoor coil . With a vacuum cleaner and soft-brush attachment, you can remove any dust from the top and underside of the coil. Make sure you only do this when the coil is dry. If you can’t get the coil clean this way, call us for service.
Keep your outdoor condensing unit free of debris . If you keep grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care to operate properly. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris, to help the unit drain correctly. If the outdoor coil becomes dirty, use a brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean the surface. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact a professional.
Take special care of outdoor condensing units in ocean environments. If your unit is located near a sea coast, you can help preserve its optimal condition with a little extra care. Ocean mist and sea breezes carry salt, which is corrosive to most metals. Although new units are made out of galvanized metal and are protected by top-grade paint, you can add life to your unit by washing all exposed surfaces and the coil approximately every three months. (Ask your installing contractor about the appropriate interval in your area.)
Make sure your outdoor unit stays in a level position . If the support for your split-system outdoor unit shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it promptly to make sure moisture drains properly out of the unit. If you notice that water or ice collects beneath the unit, arrange for it to be drained away from the equipment.
Inspect your furnace’s combustion area and vent system before each heating season . If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call Heat NW and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.
Have oil-fired boilers inspected annually . Call Heat NW before each heating season to replace your oil filter cartridge and conduct a thorough inspection of the unit’s operation.
Clean your humidifier at the beginning of every heating season . Review your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to clean the external and internal components of your unit. The evaporator pad should also be replaced before each heating season. If the water in your area is hard or has high mineral content, you may need to clean or service your humidifier more frequently.
Clean the core and air filters on a ventilator at least every three months . You can vacuum the core of an energy recovery ventilator as long as it is dry and the outdoor temperature is between 60 F (16 C) and 75 F (24 C). Heat recovery ventilator cores can be soaked for three hours in a solution of warm water and mild soap and then rinsed. Ventilator air filters are washable: just use a vacuum to remove the heaviest accumulation of dust and then wash them in lukewarm water. Replace them after they are completely dry.