What to Include in Your Seasonal Home Maintenance Schedule
April 16, 2020
A seasonal maintenance checklist is a must for every owner, regardless of whether your home is one or 100 years old. The very act of inspecting a home yearly and noticing the issues in its deepest, darkest corners can go a long way toward catching preventative problems long before they have a chance to spin out of control.
We’ll run down the primary principles behind seasonal maintenance and proactive steps you can take to save yourself headaches down the line. And because it’s our specialty, we’ll be focusing on what you can do for your AC unit so you can keep it for many years to come.
Fall Is the Most Important Season
No matter what type of home maintenance you’re scheduling, autumn is generally considered the best time to do the bulk of your work. Not only does fall tend to bring milder temperatures and less rainfall than spring, but it’s also right before the most physically punishing season for most homes. Replacing the siding, checking the roof, insulating the pipes, clearing out the gutters; these are all standard tasks that will strengthen the property against the elements. If your home isn’t in good shape for winter, the wear and tear can be severe.
The Art of Observation
As counterintuitive as it sometimes seems, it’s all too common for homeowners to ignore the changes that take place in their home — even as they unfold right before their eyes. We recommend inspecting the whole property at least once every season (and ideally once a month) so you can really focus your attention.
As you tour the grounds and structure, write down abnormalities and keep track of their progression. Take photos with your phone so you can compare as time goes by. If a tiny crack in your wall grows a fraction of an inch in six months, you likely don’t need to worry. But if it’s noticeably expanding every month, it could be a sign of foundation damage.
If you’re not great at keeping to a schedule, there are plenty of home maintenance apps for your smartphone that can help you keep track of what you’ve done, what needs to be done, and when it’s time to call a professional specialist to fix the problem.
Keeping Up With Your AC Unit
The AC unit of your home should be an important part of your home maintenance preventative checklist. The extreme temperatures of the season can put a lot of pressure on your system, and scheduling consistent yearly maintenance can go a long way to helping you cool down when you need it the most.
Before summer, you’ll want to check the refrigerant levels and thermostat calibration of the AC unit, so it’s ready to handle the inevitable sizzle. You can also clean and replace filters, oil the motor, and detail the condenser and evaporator. You want your AC unit to be more than just functional during summer, you want it to be as efficient as possible for lower utility bills. To be on the safe side, we recommend hiring a professional to come out and inspect the unit for you.
Summer is a time for keeping the unit clean from leaves, grass clippings, litter, and dirt. Depending on the age and overall functionality of your AC unit, you may also want to turn it off and let it rest during prolonged heat waves, just to be on the safe side.
While you may not use your AC unit during winter, the idea is to protect the condenser from the outside elements. Make sure that it stays covered so it won’t be compromised by snow and sleet. You can either buy a fitted cover for it, or use a piece of plywood with a brick placed over to keep it in place. (Just make sure there’s enough of an overhang around the condenser to keep it protected and check the unit every once in a while for potential ice formations.)
Autumn is a good time to have your AC unit professionally serviced. Too many people wait until their air conditioning breaks down in the summer to call a specialist, and it may be a while before you’re able to secure an appointment. An expert service technician can inspect the components of the unit, including the controls, thermostat, and exchanger.
They can also let you know if the system is likely to survive until next autumn, which can give you a heads up in terms of budgeting. If your unit isn’t up to par, you’ll have two seasons to save up for a replacement.
Additional HVAC Checklist Tips
Your HVAC machinery is one of the most important systems to include in your yearly maintenance goals, especially considering that it’s the driving force behind the very air you breathe. No matter what season it is, debris needs to be swept away from all equipment to limit potential clogs.
You should also be checking the filters and ductwork regularly and taking note of changes in the smell or quality of the air. Test the igniter switch from time to time, stock up on gas if your HVAC system runs on fuel, and address any anomalies (e.g., odd noises, broken fixtures, etc.) sooner rather than later.
Proactive preventative maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars. Here are a few more tips for when you’re constructing your list:
Check for Leaks
Whether it’s around your AC unit or under the sink, leaks are a highly visible sign that something’s wrong. From disconnected pipes to malfunctioning appliances, they’re the warning that should put you on alert.
Test Your Electrical System
If you’re continuously checking and changing your fuses, you’re less likely to experience a power failure during any season. You should also pay attention to interruptions in the power supply, such as flickering of the lights. This can be a sign of fraying wires or an overloaded system.
From fixing old floorboards to clearing out that old woodpile in the yard, maintaining the grounds and home can be as simple as keeping up with regular chores. If you can’t afford a specialist to fix the problem, you can avoid larger costs down the line with a patch-up job or two.
The experts at newACunit.com can tell you that even the best maintenance can’t make an AC unit last forever. Plus, older units tend to absorb your energy, meaning any money you save by not replacing your unit is just put toward utility bills. If you want a system that you know will last for years to come, it might be time to try a brand new model courtesy of one of our trusted brands.