Is your HVAC system ready for the cold winter months ahead?

Is your HVAC system ready for the cold winter months ahead?

Winter is in full force which means cooler temperatures and the need for indoor heating. If your furnace has been idle for several months due to warm weather, it is a smart idea to check and ensure every component is working correctly. You may have noticed odd noises or an inability to keep up with heating demands at the end of last winter. If so, some light maintenance may be needed to restore your HVAC system to its prime. A clean and well-maintained HVAC system will reduce costs and keep the air quality inside your home or business healthy and toxin-free.

Is your HVAC system several years old?

Although a well-made HVAC system can last a long time, it is important to keep track of how old your system is. As the system ages, the need for maintenance and the likelihood of a malfunction increase. The more regular cleaning and care are neglected, the quicker aging occurs and eventually leads to the system needing to be replaced. If you have had the same system for longer than 10 years, it may be time to consider a thorough inspection and detailed cleaning.

Check your system and clean it thoroughly

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a home or business is wasted. Contaminants and buildup in the system can cause it to work harder to heat and cool a well as shorten the overall life of the system. Through regular occupation in a work environment, large amounts of contaminants and air pollutants such as dander, dirt, dust, and chemicals are generated. These different toxins are then pulled into the building’s HVAC system and recirculated five to seven times per day. This recirculation process can lead to a buildup of dirt and grease in the ductwork and reduce the air quality for those occupying the building. Even when a filter is used, cooling and heating systems become dirty over time with everyday use. When your system is clean, it will not only be more energy-efficient and cost-effective but also healthier and safer for occupants such as employees and customers.

What you need to keep your HVAC system clean

  • Soap or detergent: Technically known as surfactants, a word derived from “surface and “active,” soaps or detergents are commonly used to clean HVAC systems. When added to water, they help the water to dissolve certain compounds by altering the properties of the water’s surface. Typical uses for soap or detergent would be wiping down surfaces or cleaning register grills.
  • Degreaser: Degreasers are chemical products used to dissolve water-insoluble or fat-based materials. Degreasers can vary in ingredients from mild soaps to strong caustics that can react with additional chemicals. Degreasers are generally used to remove fat or oil from hard surfaces and are often required in HVAC systems exposed to fat-based pollutants or cooking fumes.
  • Coil cleaner: Belonging to a subset of a large category of hard-surface cleaning products are coil cleaners. Contamination that accumulates on refrigeration or air-conditioning coils is often more resistant than that on other surfaces. Additionally, the coils’ structure, particularly aluminum fins, can be easily damaged. A quality coil cleaner will effectively remove soil without damaging delicate HVAC coils.
  • Deodorizer: The purpose of a deodorizer is to mask or remove unwanted or unpleasant smells inside a building or HVAC system. There are four common types of deodorizers which include scent receptor blockers, oxidizers, air sanitizers, and scent maskers.

Keep HVAC cleaning products on hand and routinely clean your system

When preparing for winter, take into account the age of your HVAC system and consider having it routinely inspected and serviced. A dirty system will not only pose a health risk to occupants but will use more energy than needed. Keeping an inventory of products specifically designed to clean HVAC systems and regularly cleaning dirty components will increase the life of your system, keep your customers and employees healthy, and reduce energy costs.