It’s safe to say that practically every home and business requires heating, cooling, or both. And in the very coldest or very hottest periods, modern HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems are an absolute comfort necessity in our modern lives.

HVAC systems operate with greatest efficiency and are trouble-free when routine maintenance is performed. Some of this maintenance is easy for anyone to do, but the trick is to do it and not procrastinate. Filters naturally are going to get dirty, so regularly inspect them and have replacements on hand to change them out. Changing filters removes dust and dirt, pet hair, and even captures bacteria from the air.

In cold months you may need a humidifier to add some moisture to your home for better heating efficiency and comfort. In hot summer months turning off the humidifier is smart, since humidity holds heat and will make your AC unit work harder to maintain cool temperatures. Another wise checkup is to visually inspect the coils of any indoor units to spot dirt buildup and remove it. For outside AC compressors, a visual inspection will identify any leaf and twig debris that should be cleaned away. Debris you can reach is easy to remove. Any debris out of reach can often be hosed away to keep outdoor equipment running smoothly.

Annual HVAC system tune-ups, however, are best left to qualified HVAC technicians. Inspecting electrical connections, the evaporator, gas or oil furnace components, condenser coils and blower components is best done by a professional. As HVAC units age their fan belts need to be inspected regularly and motors properly oiled. This maintenance will help ensure that breakdowns don’t occur in cold or hot weather when you need your HVAC system operating most effectively. Another smart task that can be done less frequently is to have ductwork vacuumed to remove dust buildup within the property’s air moving system. Cleaning forced-air ducts allows the HVAC system to operate with greater efficiency and may lessen filter replacement frequency.