HVAC Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

If you live in a house with an HVAC system, you can enjoy all sorts of benefits. From its centralized heating and air conditioning system to its clean filtered air, the bonuses are plentiful. But HVAC systems are quite pricey to repair, and even most costly to replace. So, you want to make sure your HVAC system lasts as long as possible, and stays in top condition. The best way to ensure this is to stick to an HVAC preventative maintenance schedule.

Everyone should have an HVAC preventative maintenance checklist. While some items are specific to warm or cool weather, there are other tasks that need to be performed regularly, regardless of weather. Always check all fans to ensure they are running properly. Check the unit itself, and make sure there are no blockages. Clear stagnant water, replace your air filters regularly, replace worn belts and check refrigerants.

In order to get in the habit of regular HVAC maintenance, it’s a good idea to understand why this maintenance and these checklists are so important. From lower energy costs to increasing the lifespan of your unit, there are all sorts of reasons you should take the time to maintain your HVAC system.

Reasons HVAC Maintenance Is So Important

Cuts Down On Energy Costs

Believe it or not, simply maintaining your HVAC system can save you money on your electric bill. For example, regularly changing your air filters means your system does not have to work as hard. In turn, it uses less fuel — and you benefit in savings.

Increases The Lifespan Of Your HVAC System

HVAC systems cost thousands of dollars, and often require the help of an expensive professional to install. Regularly checking the system to make sure all is in order helps prolong the life of your system. That helps you save money. It also helps put off the need for this major expense so you have more time to budget.

Keeps Your HVAC Running Smoothly

The last thing you want is for your HVAC system to randomly shut off in the middle of the summer or winter. When you go through your checklist in the spring and fall, you should be able to identify most potentially harmful issues. This helps reduce the odds that the system will break down unexpectedly.

Decreases Need For Repairs

Just as regularly checking your HVAC system reduces the risk of random breakdowns, it also keeps things running smoothly. When you replace belts and batteries, fill refrigerant and remove stagnant water, you are helping the machine. A clean and well-functioning machine is much less likely to break and require repairs. Remember, performing the checklist is much easier to do that than trying to fix the machine.

Safer And Better Air Quality

When you regularly maintain your HVAC system, you are also making your home safer by mitigating risks and hazards. Many HVAC systems are connected to gas lines. Either way, they are large machines with lots of electric wires. Further, they impact the air you breathe. Keeping your machine and its filters clean and functional helps keep the air just as clean.

Factors To Consider When Creating Your Own Checklist

  • Your Climate. The weather, and how extreme and long your summers and winters are, will impact which checklists you use, and what items you need to check regularly.
  • How Old Your HVAC System Is. Older systems sometimes need more TLC and attention than newer ones. Belts, fans and moving parts tend to weaken and stiffen up over time.
  • How Large Your HVAC System Is. Some HVAC systems are compact, and others have more bells and whistles.
  • The Brand And Quality Of Your HVAC System. Not all HVAC systems are built the same or have the same parts. So, your specific model might need specific attention in some areas. Always check with your manufacturer for their recommended maintenance schedules.

HVAC Preventative Maintenance Checklists

HVAC Warm Weather Checklist (For Spring And Summer)

  • Change Your Air Filters Every 30-90 Days. This will vary based on your home and how much dust is in the air.
  • Clean Off Your Evaporator Coils And Condensers. These should be wiped clean to avoid corrosion and damage.
  • Clean Up And Dispose Of All Standing Water From Drainage Pans. Standing water can cause mold issues, among many others. Remove it any time you see it.
  • Replace Noticeably Worn Belts And Pulleys. In order to prevent a belt or pull from snapping, keep them fresh and new. On average they last about 5-7 years.
  • Check Refrigerant Levels. Make sure there are no refrigerant leaks and ensure the levels are where they should be.
  • Turn Off Water Supplied To Humidifiers. If your system uses a water system for humidification, turn this off when it is not needed.
  • Check Thermostats. Make sure the thermostat controls are functioning properly. Ensure they are also set appropriately.
  • Check Batteries. Change them on a regular schedule; don’t let them die.
  • Inspect Electrical Connections. Check for signs of damage or corrosion. 
  • Make Sure All Fans Run Smoothly. Fans can tense up or lose power. Make sure they are clean and lubed up.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts. Fans and other parts might need some lubrication from time to time.
  • Check HVAC Cabinet For Leaks.
  • Remove Any Debris Near The Unit. When your unit is outside, always make sure you keep plants and leaves at bay.

HVAC Cool Weather Checklist (For Fall And Winter)

  • Replace Filters Every 30 To 90 Days. Check your air filter every 30 days. Some homes and areas are more dusty than others. Change when necessary. 
  • Check Ignition Burner Area. Make sure the area is clean and functional.
  • Inspect Heating Elements Or Heat Exchanger.
  • Pro Tip: If your HVAC involves a gas line, make sure you also check your carbon monoxide detector when you check your HVAC system. Adding this to your checklist will give you increased safety and peace of mind.
  • Check Your Belts And Pulleys. This should be done any time you maintain your system to prevent any snapping or broken parts.
  • Drain Lines And Pans.
  • Check Wiring And Electrical Connections. Inspect for damage, and tighten them when necessary (only if you are familiar with this type of electrical work).
  • Check Heat Pump. Use this as an opportunity to also check for any gas line issues, ensuring it is running well.
  • Check For Clogs. Address any clog or blockage right away.

Summing Up Your HVAC Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Going through a maintenance checklist is not always the best way to spend a day, but using a preventative maintenance checklist can save you a lot of headaches later on. An HVAC preventative maintenance checklist may vary from winter and summer, and both are important. It can help prevent damage to the machine, extend its lifespan and help keep you and your family safe.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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