2 HVAC Mistakes That Can Cause Problems Later

It can be overwhelming to be a new homeowner. In addition to footing the bill for a mortgage and trying to fill your place with furniture, you also have to worry about taking care of your investment. Unfortunately, even the most proactive homeowner might make a few bad maintenance decisions from time to time. Here are two HVAC mistakes that can cause problems later, and how you can avoid stirring up trouble.

1: Installing Filters Incorrectly

In an effort to keep your air conditioner and furnace running well, you probably picked up a six-pack of air filters, and switch them out every month or so. Since they are mostly clean when you change them out, you probably figure that you are doing a great job. Unfortunately, unless you are installing those filters correctly, you might be damaging your HVAC system.

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to install an air filter. One side of the filter contains a side with large pores to let air in, while the other side contains tiny pores that catch particulates as air passes through the filter. While a properly installed filter will readily capture dust and dirt before it flies through your house, an improperly installed filter will allow grime to build in your HVAC system and make it work harder than it needs to.

If you unintentionally install that filter backwards, the air will hit the fine-pored side first, before it has a chance to enter the filter. Instead of moving around inside of the filter and being cleaned, the air will become bottlenecked and then blow partially-cleaned air out of the other side. Because your air conditioner or furnace will have a harder time pulling air through the filter, it can hurt the efficiency of your system, and eventually damage system components.

When you change your air filters, pay attention to the arrows printed on the side of the device. These arrows indicate the direction that air is supposed to pass through the filter. Most HVAC systems have clear filter installation directions permanently written in the area where the filters go, so that you can get it right. You might be surprised with how much more debris those filters can catch when they aren't installed backwards.

2: Ignoring Dirty Duct Work

If your furnace and air conditioner are working, you might not think twice about your ventilation lines. Although most people realize that some dirt and dust will accumulate inside of those ducts, you might be surprised with just how much grime your family might generate through everyday living. Believe it or not, the typical 6-room home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust and debris in their ventilation lines every single year.

Since the air in your home is perpetually re-circulated, dirty ducts might mean musty-smelling air and a lot of extra dusting. Unfortunately, grimy air can do more damage than just prompting you to buy a new air freshener. If dirty air is allowed to perpetually run through your HVAC system, grime can build on your appliances and affect their efficiency.

In fact, 9 out of 10 HVAC system failures are caused by a dirty system. Because dust can limit airflow, it can make your heat exchanger and air conditioning compressor run more frequently, because your systems won't be able to heat or cool your air as quickly. To avoid problems, listen to the air as it comes out of your vents. If you notice whistling or rustling noises, you might have blockages that are limiting airflow. If you suspect any issues, hire a professional duct cleaning business to vacuum out your vents, so that your system can move air freely. 

Making the right maintenance decisions might help you to cut down on surprise HVAC problems, so that your home can stay clean and comfortable.