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Guide to maintaining your home heating and cooling system

Our HVAC system plays a key role in keeping us cozy or cool, so it’s important to take good care of it. Here’s what you can expect from an HVAC check-up with a licensed and insured contractor.

Did you know that about 2/3 of energy used in the average Canadian home is dedicated to space heating and cooling? Our heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems play an important role in our day-to-day comfort. You can get your ‘ducts’ in a row and keep your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible no matter what the weather by hiring a licensed and insured contractor to do annual pre-season check-ups. It's a good idea to schedule a check-up with a contractor as the seasons begin to change, so plan your cooling system maintenance in the spring and your heating system check-up in the fall.

Regular maintenance

A general maintenance check-up performed by a licensed and insured contractor should include the following:

Smart thermostat on wall
  • Check the smart thermostat settings to ensure your HVAC system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. This will ensure your system is running safely and efficiently.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Without lubrication, friction in motors can increase the amount of energy your HVAC system uses.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check all the controls to ensure the system runs safely and properly. The contractor will check to make sure the unit starts, runs, and shuts off properly.

To prepare for winter before you turn up the heat, a contractor should:

  • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly functioning gas (or oil) connections, a dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger can cause the system to operate less safely and efficiently.

In preparation for summer to keep things chill and your cooling system running efficiently, your contractor will:  

Contractor repairs air conditioner
  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils means your system has to work harder to cool your home, causing it to run longer and increasing your energy costs.
  • Check your central air conditioner's refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide sufficient airflow and greater comfort levels.

Do it yourself

To keep your system running efficiently all year round, inspect, clean, or change air filters regularly in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. Consult your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s guidance for how often you need to change the filters. Remember: a dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your system.

Learn more and connect with us

Looking for more tips on energy efficiency? Follow ENERGY STAR Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn to maximize your energy savings and get the latest on energy-efficient products.

 

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