DIY HVAC – 7 Tips to Save You Money & Boost Air System Efficiency
Updated: Mar 18
We understand that you (DIY-ers) like to save money.
At 3HAC, one of our top priorities is providing affordable options for our customers. Let’s just be completely honest; HVAC services are not always cheap. While there are many system fixes that need to be handled by our service professionals, there are MANY ways for you to proactively prevent unnecessary HVAC costs and repairs.
With 46 years of experience in residential HVAC service, we have seen a thing or two. Surprisingly, many of the problems that we are called out to fix could have been avoided well in advance…. and most of them for free! To help you keep your system at peak operation, we have included a few easy steps to add to your monthly chores list to keep your HVAC unit clean and running with maximum energy efficiency.
Clean Your HVAC Filter
When to DIY & When to Call 3HAC… Good Question!
We all want to be comfortable in our homes. It just so happens that a major component of that comfort level is heavily influenced by an intricate mechanical system. Just like any other mechanical system, it can experience technical difficulties from time to time, if left unattended. The more moving parts there are in a system, the higher the chance that something will eventually go wrong. So, when your HVAC system stops moving cool air in the summer and hot air in the winter, it’s time to ask the question: “Should I do this myself or get a 3HAC pro to handle it?”
If you go through the following steps and your system is still not working properly, then it’s time to call us.
Top 7 HVAC Fixes for the DIY-er
#1. Change Your Filters
This is – by far – the most important thing to do regularly to ensure your system is doing what it is supposed to do, providing clean and comfortable air. Dust, air particles, and dander build up within a filter can lead to a unit overworking itself. Therefore, decreasing the life length of the unit and leaving you with higher utility bills. 3HAC recommends changing out your filter monthly to maximize your unit’s health and lifespan. An easy way to remember it is to set a reminder on the 1st of every month; every time you pay your bills, you know to change your filter, too.
#2. Clean Your AC Drain Line
That little pipe that stopped dripping could be a sign of a larger potential problem. Many people overlook this, but it can actually become one of your biggest issues and is a major warning signal. Just link any other industrial machine, air conditioning units have some type of discharge. For HVAC units, it just happens to end up being water. It is crucial to ensure frequent, monthly checks of your AC drain line. Make sure to follow it from the indoor coil, and going all the way out, to be absolutely sure no waste has built up to stop the flow of draining water. Over time dust and debris can build up in that line. If this happens, the water can back up, with no other alternative than to end up draining inside the unit. This can cause catastrophic damage and even render your entire HVAC unit useless. So… DON’T DO THIS!
#3. Clean Your Outdoor Unit
Keep components clean, especially the outdoor condenser/compressor unit. After a long winter, it is especially a good idea to walk outside and do a little “spring cleaning” around your unit. Make sure no limbs fell on or around it and make sure nothing is restricting airflow in close proximity to the unit. Remove dirt, debris, and cut back vegetation at least two feet on all sides. Don’t forget to look inside the unit, too, and clean leaves or other small pieces of nature that may have fallen inside.
#4. Clean Your Indoor Coil
Also considered to be the heart of your cooling system, another key point to check before starting that system up is the indoor coil. A coil is a typical place within a system that builds up dirt and debris faster than other areas. You have to remember the coil is receiving airflow that is forced through it anytime the system is running. It’s not a surprise that it is going to be a key point for buildup. Be sure to open up the coil and remove and clean any debris.
#5. Use Your Dryer at Night
This DIY HVAC Tip usually surprises, and confuses, a lot of people. Did you know that the way we dry our clothes has an impact on our AC systems? You may not realize this but as you dry your clothes it actually is blowing out the air of the home. This causes more air to obviously be drawn into your home. If it is warm outside, that warm air is being sucked in therefore making the Air Conditioner work harder and the home hotter. So, the easy fix is to relegate laundry time to after evening hours.
#6. Clean the Condensation Line
In order to keep your home cool, the air conditioning component of your HVAC system removes moisture from the air to lower the humidity level inside your house. The drip, drip, drip you see from the small pipe outside, is where the excess condensed water is deposited, away from the AC unit and your home. Over time algae, mold, and mildew can build up inside the condensation drain line and form a clog, causing water to back up and overflow inside the air conditioner unit. To prevent this from happening, pour a cup of bleach in the access opening in the drain line near the AC unit to kill any algae, mold, or mildew that has formed in the pipe. Then you will need to use a shop vac to physically remove the clog from the line.
#7. Install a Float Switch
Now that we know about the natural occurrence of condensation in an HVAC system, it’s important to set up precautions for the possible overflow of the drain lines. As condensation builds up to the level that it can flow easily out of the pan, the condensate switch turns on a pump to remove it. When a condensate switch fails, condensation will begin to overflow the sides of the condensate pan, which can damage wood supporting the AC unit and create an environment that promotes the growth of mold and mildew. If this has happened to your unit, you will need to replace the A/C Float Switch.
HVAC Still Not Working?
If you applied all of the above steps and the unit is still giving you grief, then it’s time to let 3HAC help you! It is likely that you are at the crossroads of either repairing the unit or replacing the unit all together. (Remember any unit over 12 years of age should probably be replaced with a more efficient, up-to-date, 410a system.) Isolating and solving AC issues promptly – especially if your problem takes place during those super-hot summer months or during the frigid winter – is very important to YOU. At 3HAC it is our #1 priority to provide you with multiple replacement options to fit a range of wants and needs, all while keeping it as affordable as possible. And did you know…
We NEVER charge extra for Emergency HVAC Service. Ever. Reach out to schedule one of our 3HAC HVAC Pros so we can have your family comfortable today!