Heating and Cooling: Tips for Doing It Yourself

Check Air Filter

Checking your air filter for your heating and cooling system is often very easy as long as you know where to find it. With central air systems, the filter is typically located within the main unit to filter the air that the system brings in to your home. In these cases, it could be a metal grille which is attached to the unit. A good way to clean these types of filters is to spray them with a hose to get any debris off the filter. In some cases, you may need to gently sweep away the debris with a broom as well. Make sure the unit is turned off before doing any of this to prevent any damage.

Air filters for the heating and cooling system can also be found in the ceiling of the home or business that the unit services. Look for large vent-like holes in the ceiling to locate the heating and cooling system's air filter. They are usually located in an open space where they will not be closed off from the rest of the structure. To change the filter, simply lower the protective vent covering. It is usually hinged to the ceiling so one side lowers while the other side stays connected. Then remove the air filter and replace it with another one that matches the type and size.

Some air filters are reusable, meaning that you can clean them rather than replace them. If you have a reusable one, take it outside and gently brush away any dust and debris that has become stuck to the filter. Then vacuum off the filter to remove any loose debris that remains on it after the brushing. Next, turn the filter over and spray it off with a spray nozzle attached to a hose. Use a low pressure attachment so you do not break the filter. Allow the filter to dry outside before putting it back in its spot in your home.

Remove Debris from Your AC

Debris and dust building up in your air conditioning unit can cause foul odors and harmful air that you could be breathing. That is why it is important to keep your air conditioning unit debris-free by cleaning it regularly. You can start cleaning it by first turning it off and looking at the inside by lifting off the top of the unit. If you see something large, remove it. For the dust and debris, vacuum the unit out. You can also use specialized solutions to scrub the sides of the unit and pick up any dust and bacteria that could be causing odors in your home.

Cleaning Humidifiers

Humidifiers are ideal for improving the quality of the air you breathe in your home. However, in order to accomplish this, they must be cleaned regularly. Before you do anything, you should always check with the manufacturer's manual. But for general maintenance and cleaning that you can do yourself, here are some tips to get you started.

First, mix some water and about one cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Remove the water tank from the humidifier and set aside the motor housing for safety.

Then fill the humidifier's water tank with cool water. Once the water is added, put about a tablespoon of bleach in it. Replace the cap on the water tank. Let it sit for 30 to 40 minutes.

Put the humidifier filter in a large container along with some vinegar. Let it set for about 30 minutes.

Clean the base of the humidifier with undiluted white vinegar. Pour a bottle into the base and let it sit. After about 30 minutes, use a soft cloth to wipe down the inside of the base to remove any dust or debris buildup. Rinse the base well once you are done cleaning it.

Pour water into the base of the humidifier. Make sure the water comes up to a good level but remains below the top edge to avoid spills. Add one teaspoon of bleach to the base for every gallon of water used. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

Once all of the water mixtures of set, wipe down the various parts of the humidifier and allow them to dry. Then put the humidifier back together and fill the tank with cool, fresh water for optimal air quality and enjoyment.

Cleaning Your Air Cleaners

Air cleaners are an important part of a home's air quality. Many people refer to these units as air purifiers, but either term is useful. Before you clean your air cleaner, refer to the owner's manual if you can find it. If not, the process is fairly simple.

The first thing to do is to find the air cleaner's filter. It is usually located in the back and you may have to remove a protective piece to get to it. When you remove the filter, take note of how it is inserted so you can put it back the same way.

If the filter is disposable, replace it. If you do not have any replacement filters, take the old one to your local department store or home improvement store to find one just like it. However, if your air cleaner's filter is reusable, you can clean it with soap and warm water. Rinse it and set it aside to let it dry.

While the filter is drying, disassemble the main components of the air cleaner, making sure you are paying attention so you can put it back together. Then wipe down the inside where you see dust and debris with a damp cloth. Use a soft bristle brush to clean out the grooves, too. Rinse the rag and brush when the dust accumulates to prevent simply moving the dust around.

Set all the parts of the air cleaner on a dry surface so they can dry. Be patient because this could take a few hours. Once dry, reassemble the parts and enjoy the clean air.

Brush Exterior

Keeping the outer coil of your heating and cooling system clean is essential for optimal performance and efficiency. This is one of the simplest procedures to do, too. Simply use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment and go around the coil, which is typically on the outer area of the air unit. This will help keep the dust and debris from causing it to overheat or work less efficiently than it should.

Inspect Ventilation

Before you turn your heating unit on at the beginning of the winter season, you should inspect its ventilation system and combustion area. If there is a buildup of dust, debris or soot, your furnace may not work properly or as efficiently as it should. The debris can also cause foul odors and unclean air to be pumped through your home. Use a vacuum cleaner and its brush attachment to remove any loose dust and debris from the heater's ventilation system. Then use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside of the ventilation system as far as you can reach to remove even more dust and debris. This will help ensure your heating system is as clean and efficient as it should be.

Check Level

For optimal performance, the outdoor coil on your heating and cooling system should always be level. If the coil is not in a level position, take steps to safely return it to a level position. Otherwise, the moisture may not drain properly and there could be damage to the entire unit.

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