Money Saving HVAC Tips: An HVAC Maintenance Checklist

There are few things more comforting than a warm and cozy home in the winter. The coldest months of the year are approaching and you don’t want to be caught up in HVAC issues that could force you to bundle up inside your own house. Though often overlooked, your indoor air can have a significant impact on your quality of life – especially during seasons of extreme temperature. If you want to keep your family happy, comfortable, and breathing clean air, preventive HVAC maintenance is an absolute must.

Read on for more about preventative HVAC care, fall and winter HVAC tips, and an HVAC maintenance checklist. Plus, find out what our favorite Filterbuy fall table fixings are and get the recipes to make them at home!

What is Preventative HVAC Maintenance?

Preventative HVAC maintenance includes tasks that do not address immediate or ongoing HVAC issues in your home. This includes regular cleaning, professional services, inspections, and at-home maintenance. Preventative HVAC maintenance aims to stop problems before they arise to reduce future repair costs, lower monthly bills, and extend the life of your HVAC system and its components.

Preventative HVAC maintenance is not only your HVAC servicer’s responsibility, but also yours! Between HVAC services, it’s your responsibility to regularly inspect and clean your HVAC equipment.​​ That way, you can detect any malfunctions early, prevent damage from spreading, and stop your maintenance fees from snowballing.

There are plenty of preventative HVAC maintenance tasks that need to be completed regularly at home, like changing your air filters, removing leaves from your outdoor AC unit, and calibrating your thermostat. Maintaining a regular schedule of these tasks will elongate the life of your HVAC system and reduce repair costs. See our HVAC Maintenance Checklist below for a full list of important HVAC maintenance tasks and other HVAC tips.

What is Preventative HVAC Maintenance? - gray metal ductwork and pipes on wood background

Why is Preventative HVAC Maintenance Necessary?

Preventative HVAC maintenance is necessary because it saves you money, extends the lifespan of your HVAC system, and keeps your family safe.

Many HVAC malfunctions are minor and easy to fix when caught early. This is why regular inspections are vital. When there’s a problem in the system and you don’t catch it early on, it can create a pricey domino effect. For example, a leak in your AC condensation drain pipe can cause severe water damage to other parts of your home. Water damage is very expensive to repair. Another example is dirty air ducts – air ducts filled with debris will make your blower motor work harder than it needs to, which could end in burnout. You’ll then have to hire a professional HVAC technician to resolve the issue and pay for costly replacement parts and labor. Both of these problems, and dozens of others, can be prevented with regular inspections of your system.

Preventing severe HVAC issues from happening in the first place is the key to extending the life of your entire HVAC system. Small preventative maintenance costs here and there, like the cost of new filters every 3 months and annual inspections, are minuscule in comparison to the cost of entirely replacing your HVAC system. A new system can cost you upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, and that’s not including labor!

One of the most important reasons for preventative maintenance is the safety of your family. There are a variety of HVAC hazards that can pose a potential threat to your family. HVAC systems are not the leading cause of home fires but they do cause a large portion of them. The National Fire Protection Association found that between 2015 and 2019, 19% of U.S. house fires were HVAC related. More specifically, 13% were caused by heating equipment, 4% were caused by washers or dryers, and 2% were caused by fans or air conditioners. Cooking fires beat out HVAC fires by over 20%, but that’s still 67,000 HVAC home fires and millions of dollars in property damage. Fires can be unpredictable, but preventative HVAC maintenance can significantly reduce the chances of one starting in your home.

Below, you can find a preventative HVAC maintenance checklist and a list of fall and winter-specific HVAC tips that you can use to keep your system running smoothly and your family safe.

A Preventative HVAC Maintenance Checklist - square white digital thermostat on tan wall

How Often Should I Schedule HVAC Maintenance?

You should get your entire HVAC system serviced once a year. An annual service typically includes inspections and light cleaning. This annual service shouldn’t be your only form of preventative HVAC maintenance though. Preventative HVAC care needs to be a collaboration between you and your technician.

In between annual inspections, you should be performing monthly and quarterly inspections on your own. Below you will find fall and winter HVAC tips and an HVAC Maintenance Checklist with various inspection, cleaning, and service tasks we recommend you complete regularly.

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Aside from these monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks, we also recommend getting your air ducts cleaned once every 3 to 5 years. Neglecting air duct cleaning can lead to severe debris build-up, pests, and mold growth – all of which drastically lower your indoor air quality. If you want to get your air ducts cleaned by EPA-certified professionals for a guaranteed price, Filterbuy HVAC Solutions has you covered. Our technicians use proven cleaning methods to clear your ductwork of all debris so you and your family can breathe easy again. Click here for a free quote!

Fall and Winter HVAC Tips

As the temperature changes, so should your HVAC maintenance habits. Here are some fall and winter HVAC tips that are particularly important to follow in the colder months.

Fall HVAC Tips

  • Inspect your heating elements to ensure proper function.
  • Change your furnace filter.
  • Remove leaves and other debris from your outdoor AC unit.
  • Patch up insulation.
  • Calibrate your thermostat and review the settings.

Winter HVAC Tips

  • Check for leaks and standing water that may freeze.
  • Change your furnace filter.
  • Book a furnace tune-up.
  • Get a cover for your outdoor AC condenser.
  • Close your chimney flue if you do not use your fireplace.

These HVAC tips are fall and winter-specific. HVAC maintenance is different in the spring and summer due to warmer temperatures. Please be sure to follow the appropriate HVAC tips for each season or you may be doing more harm than good.

Why Do I Need to Change my Air Filters?

The best HVAC tip we can give you is to replace your air filter. Regularly changing your air filters is one of the healthiest things you can do for your HVAC system. There are plenty of reasons why you need to be changing your air filter, like reducing pet dander and trapping odor-producing particles. These airborne pollutants can pose serious health risks sometimes, but others are nuisances that affect your quality of life. For example, cooking smells are pleasant right before you eatl, but no one wants to smell garlic bread or beef stew lingering in the air for days. Even if your recipes are as yummy as our favorite Thanksgiving table fixings below, the odors can become overwhelming after your meal. The two most important reasons to change your air filter, however, are the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC system.

Air filters need to be changed because they get clogged with dander, allergens, dust, and other debris over time. At the 3 month mark, you’ll find a thick layer of previously airborne particles caked onto your filter media. This thick layer of debris creates resistance when air is being pulled through the filter. Resistance makes it more difficult for air to travel through the filter media. This forces your blower motor to work harder to pull the same volume of air through the filter and, in turn, makes your system much less efficient. When your blower motor has to work harder and longer, you pay for it on your energy bill.

A higher energy bill may sound unpleasant, but it’s a minor issue compared to the cost of damages you may need to pay if your dirty air filter breaks your HVAC system. If you don’t change your air filter at least every 3 months, issues with your system’s blower motor may arise. A clogged filter that blocks airflow will make your blower motor struggle to push air through. This will overheat the device and cause burnout which can shut off your entire HVAC system and permanently damage or break your blower motor.

HVAC parts are expensive, you could end up spending upwards of ten thousand dollars just for replacement parts, depending on how severe the damage is. That doesn’t include the cost of the initial service call and labor. To avoid these sky-high costs, be sure to follow our Preventative HVAC Maintenance Checklist and fall/winter HVAC tips listed above. For more information on maintenance costs, read our article on HVAC repair costs.

How Often Should I Schedule HVAC Maintenance? - man in blue stacking 3 stacks of coins

What are the Best Air Filters for my HVAC System?

Filterbuy makes the highest quality, top-of-the-line air filters on the market. Each one of our filters is made with pleated filter media, durable reinforced wire backing, and a heat and humidity-resistant frame for safety and longevity. Our filters are 100% manufactured in the United States and designed with recyclable materials. Unlike our competitors, we never use fiberglass in our filter media so you can trust that your filters are safe and will last 3 times longer than the standard fiberglass model.

Filterbuy air filters come in 600+ sizes across 3 different MERV ratings! If you can’t find your size, we can even custom-build filters to the exact dimensions you need and ship them right to your door. All Filterbuy orders ship fast and free in the U.S.!

We even offer odor-eliminating charcoal/carbon filter options too, so you can cook up a storm this holiday season without worrying about lingering food smells. Try out our favorite Filterbuy table fixings below and see how our odor-eliminating charcoal filters can whisk the smells away quickly and easily after you’re done.

If what you learned from this article made you never want to run out of clean air filters again, Filterbuy has a solution for you. Our Auto-Ship subscription program allows you to schedule filter deliveries right when you need them, so you’ll never be caught with a dirty filter again. You and your family deserve to breathe the cleanest air possible, so make your first Filterbuy order today!

Now For The Good Stuff: Favorite Filterbuy Table Fixings

HVAC Maintenance Checklist - bowl of macaroni and cheese with herb garnish