HVAC Maintenance Checklist

HVAC technician working on a large AC unit

When it comes to keeping your HVAC system in tip-top shape, it’s smart to follow a regular HVAC maintenance checklist.

Small tasks like regularly cleaning or replacing dirty filters will significantly improve your system’s performance. Fortunately, HVAC maintenance takes very little of your time and doesn’t have to be overly expensive.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick checklist of things you should do periodically to help keep your heater and air conditioner working well: 

Schedule Professional Tune-Up

It’s wise to set up scheduled professional HVAC service. An HVAC technician will know how to assess your system accurately and ensure everything is in proper working order. 

Generally, it’s recommended to have your HVAC system checked at least twice a year — once in the spring and again in the fall before seasonal changes are underway. 

On average, HVAC maintenance costs around $85 to $170 per visit.

Depending on the HVAC unit type, your technician will perform several maintenance tasks, such as:

Air Conditioning UnitFurnace Unit Heat Pump 
Inspect the condenser, evaporator, and blower coils 
Check refrigerant lines
Clean the drain lines and eliminate any clogs
Replace and clean air filters 
Inspect all electrical connections 
Recalibrate thermostats for optimal performance 
Inspect condensate lines and safety controls 
Check all gas connections (only for gas furnaces)
Check the combustion motor and blower assembly 
Inspect air filters and replace them as necessary 
Lubricate moving parts
Check thermostat calibration 
Inspect ductwork and registers for any blockage 
Clean condenser coils
Replace filters 
Inspect all electrical connections 
Check for any refrigerant leaks

Monitor and Change Air Filters

Dirty AC air filter
Photo Credit: Ivy Dawned / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Change air filters regularly. This simple yet essential task is the best way to maximize your HVAC system’s efficiency. To make sure that your air filter isn’t clogged up with dirt and debris, check it every few weeks. Depending on usage, a filter should be replaced around every 60 to 90 days. 

Clean Your Exterior Units

Cleaning an AC Condenser Unit
Photo Credit: Phyxter Home Services / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

HVAC units placed outdoors can attract dust, leaves, and dirt. Remove any blockages or debris that may be trapped underneath the HVAC unit to keep components running efficiently.

Check Doors and Windows Frequently

Checking window with hand
Photo Credit: Pexels

Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to help keep cool air in and hot air out. This easy task can help lower energy bills and ensure your HVAC system maintains an optimal efficiency rating. 

Check the Batteries in the Carbon Monoxide Detector and Thermostat 

Check the carbon monoxide detector in your home regularly, as well as any smoke detectors. This will help keep everyone safe if there’s a buildup of toxins due to an HVAC malfunction. You should also test the batteries in your HVAC thermostat, as a dead battery can lead to an inefficient system and increased bills.

Turn Off Your Humidifier After Summer

Person touching an air humidifier
Photo Credit: HS You / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Before the cold weather comes, take care of your central humidifier. Turn it off and give it a thorough clean. It’s also a good idea to replace or change the water panel if needed. Doing this will help make sure your HVAC system works like a charm when the temperature drops.

Level Your HVAC System

Make sure your HVAC unit is level to ensure efficient operation. An uneven HVAC system can cause the motor to overheat and stop working in peak conditions, which can lead to costly repairs down the road.

Clear Condensate Drains

The condensate drain serves an important purpose — it funnels away water that’s been used to cool the air, so it’s critical that it stays clear of any blockages. Before doing any cleaning, switch off the power supply to your HVAC unit.

Inspect Evaporator Coils

Stainless Steel Evaporator Coils
Photo Credit: jblevine2004 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Check your evaporator coils to make sure they’re in good working condition. This is because they absorb the heat from the air in your home to keep it cool. So, check them periodically to look for any signs of rust, corrosion, or damage. If you spot something that doesn’t look right, it’s best to call an HVAC professional to get it sorted out.

Check Refrigerant Levels

Monitoring refrigeration weight and pressure of a chiller
Photo Credit: NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If your HVAC’s refrigerant is too low, it won’t be able to cool the air that passes through the evaporator coil. To get the system working right again, contact an HVAC professional to recharge it. Don’t try to do it yourself — this is a job for the expert technicians.

Clean Your Vents

Regularly vacuuming your HVAC’s vents removes dust, dander, and other particles from the air. Not only does this keep air circulating properly between rooms, but it also helps to prevent excessive dust buildup. 

Why Does HVAC Maintenance Matter?

There are numerous reasons why it’s important to keep up with HVAC maintenance. Here are some of the top benefits:

1. Keeps the HVAC System Running Efficiently 

Regular tune-ups and preventive care can ensure your HVAC system is running efficiently and reduce the chances of a surprise breakdown on the hottest summer day. A well-maintained HVAC system also helps improve air quality by minimizing dust, pollen, and other irritants in the home.

2. Saves Money on Utilities

An efficient HVAC system can help save money over time by reducing energy bills and conserving energy. Many times, routine HVAC maintenance can ensure there are no extra costs due to malfunctions or worn-out parts.

3. Extends the Lifespan of the System 

Regularly scheduled maintenance is a smart way to ensure your HVAC system lasts as long as possible. After all, these are big pieces of machinery that need to be cared for to continue to perform at the highest level. This means fewer costly repairs over time, and you won’t have to replace your HVAC system as often. 

4. To Make Sure Your System is Running Safely 

Neglecting to maintain an HVAC system can be both costly and dangerous. A regular maintenance check helps ensure no harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, are released.

HVAC Services

If you need help with your HVAC system, an experienced specialist is the way to go. From repair to replacement, they can ensure you get the best performance from your HVAC system. Here are some related HVAC services that might come in handy:

HVAC Repair

Two HVAC workers using their instruments on an AC unit
Photo Credit: Southern Virginia Higher Education Center / Flickr / Public Domain Mark 1.0

It is no fun dealing with a broken HVAC system, especially when the temperature starts to rise. If there are issues with your system, like a malfunctioning thermostat, leaking ducts, or a broken part, it’s time to call the HVAC professionals. 

An experienced HVAC specialist can help diagnose the problem and provide the necessary repairs to get your system running smoothly again. 

On average, basic HVAC repairs cost around $350.

HVAC System Installation

HVAC technician working on an AC unit
Photo Credit: Pexels

If your HVAC system is over 10 years old or completely beyond repair, it might be time to install a new one. It’s important to keep your HVAC system up to date so you don’t have to endure uncomfortable temperatures or costly repairs.

Professional HVAC installation costs anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 in total.

Ductwork Replacement

HVAC Ductwork
Photo Credit: Ernest McGray, Jr. / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ductwork is an integral part of your HVAC system and plays an essential role in air circulation. If you have leaky ducts, it can reduce the efficiency of your system and increase energy costs.

A ductwork installation project can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

Thermostat Replacement

Person adjusting the AC thermostat
Photo Credit: CORGI HomePlan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The thermostat acts as the control center of your HVAC system, regulating temperature and airflow. If your old thermostat is outdated, then it’s time to upgrade and take advantage of the features of a modern model. With a new thermostat, you’ll be able to set a comfortable temperature and maintain it without any issues. 

It will also help you save on energy costs by allowing you to program the temperature to change throughout the day. 

Thermostat replacement costs range from $120 and $330 for a new thermostat.

HVAC System Inspection

It is a good idea to schedule an HVAC system inspection. By doing this, you can make sure your HVAC system is in top shape and running properly. A professional technician can identify any issues and ensure everything is working as it should. Plus, they’ll be able to give you tips on ways to improve energy efficiency. 

The cost of an HVAC system inspection is around $300.

FAQ About HVAC Systems

What does the HVAC system include?

The HVAC system is the total package when it comes to keeping your home comfortable. It stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and covers all your needs for temperature control. 

The heating elements keep your place cozy during cold winter months, while the air conditioning system keeps it cool and refreshing during hot summer days. Ventilation helps maintain healthy indoor air quality by filtering out dust, allergens, and other pollutants.

What are the three main components of an HVAC system?

The three components that make up an HVAC system are the heating mechanism, cooling source, and air distribution system. The heating mechanism is usually a furnace, boiler, or heat pump. 

The cooling source is usually an air conditioning system or evaporator coil. The air distribution system is typically a series of ducts or vents circulating air throughout the home. 

What is the most common problem with HVAC systems?

Generally, the most common HVAC problems are related to a lack of maintenance or faulty parts. This can include leaky ducts, dirty filters, gas leaks, or issues with the thermostat.

Hire a Pro for HVAC Inspections and Maintenance

It takes effort and some know-how, but taking the time to perform basic HVAC maintenance will mean lower utility bills, improved indoor air quality, and long-lasting comfort in your home over time.

Make sure to keep up with regular inspections and perform small tasks yourself. If you ever notice an issue or have questions, hiring the help of a trusted HVAC technician is always the right choice.

Main Photo Credit: Phyxter Home Services / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Luminita Toma

Luminita Toma is a nature-loving writer who simply adores anything pretty, from colorful flower gardens to chic interior design. After plenty of research on landscaping and home improvement, she’s got a keen eye for what makes a home beautiful. When she’s not sharing what she’s learned, there’s nothing she enjoys more than chilling with her friends, hitting the theatre, or traveling.