HVAC Spring Maintenance in Seattle: Your 11-Step Checklist

April 29, 2024


Regular maintenance keeps your HVAC system going strong—it improves efficiency, extends your system’s lifespan, and reduces energy bills. Before high-use times like summer, you’ll want to make sure your unit is ready to keep your home comfortable. 

Keep in mind that the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your system is by calling a professional. This will ensure your safety is taken into account, and that you’ll be getting the best service possible.

HVAC spring maintenance doesn’t need to be intimidating. Many of the preparation steps are simple if you know what to do. Follow this comprehensive Seattle spring HVAC checklist to ensure your system is ready to cool your home this summer:

 

Table of Contents

Turn Off Your System’s Power

Inspect the Outdoor Unit

Replace the Filter

Test Thermostat Functionality

Clear the Drain Line

Inspect Ductwork

Lubricate Moving Parts

Clean Air Vents and Registers

Examine Pipe Insulation

Check Refrigerant Levels

Schedule Professional Inspection

 

  1. Turn Off Your System’s Power 

Modern HVAC units have many moving parts. To ensure safety during any inspections or maintenance tasks, you should shut off power to the system. This will prevent the system from accidentally turning on, keep all moving components still, and prevent any electricity transfer—keeping you and your loved ones safe while you work.

Once you’re certain the system’s power has been cut, you can safely move on to other steps. 

  1. Inspect the Outdoor Unit 

Outdoor units face the elements and may collect debris or damage throughout the winter. During spring maintenance, you should clear any accumulated debris on the unit. Depending on the climate and location of your unit, you may also have to clear surrounding vegetation if autumn or early spring causes any overgrowth.

Once the unit is clear, you can more clearly see any other damage that may have occurred. Inspect the unit for any signs of rust or corrosion. If rust or corrosion is present, contact an HVAC professional who can assess the severity of the issues and perform any necessary repairs.

Finally, you’ll want to clean the condenser coils and fins. You can typically do this with a gentle setting on your garden hose, such as the shower setting. Do not use harsh chemicals or intense water pressure, as these can cause damage to the coils and fins.

  1. Replace the Filter 

The filter replacement schedule depends on the filter type, but most filters should be replaced at least every six months. If you don’t need to replace yours more often, spring and fall maintenance are prime times to perform this step.

Dirty filters are less efficient because the air doesn't flow through them as easily. They may also allow more dirt and debris to move through the filter and enter your indoor air. A clean filter keeps your air allergen-free and allows the HVAC system to work without extra strain.

Replacement time is also a great time to consider a filter upgrade. If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, a higher-grade filter could benefit their health. If you have a pet, you may also need a stronger filter to catch pet fur and dander. 

  1. Test Thermostat Functionality 

The thermostat is a crucial piece of your HVAC unit. It lets you program and control the temperature of your home. When the weather adjusts, you’ll want to update your thermostat’s settings so it knows how to handle the spring weather. Typically, this involves turning on your AC unit for the season and setting a temperature of around 74 degrees.

While adjusting your settings, you may also want to verify temperature readings so you know the thermostat is properly calibrated. You can do this by taking a thermometer and measuring the air temperature next to your thermostat’s location to see if it matches the readings on your thermostat. 

A fluctuation of a degree or two is normal, as the location and sensitivity of the thermometer may give slight variation. However, if the temperature readings are far off, you should also have the thermostat calibrated. You can contact the Blue Flame team for help with this process. 

  1. Clear the Drain Line

Air conditioners remove moisture from the air as part of the cooling process. This excess moisture goes through the drain line to be removed. To prevent blockages or mildew buildup, the lines need to be flushed every so often. 

Check your drain line sensors to see if they have identified a clog. If so, flush distilled white vinegar through the line. If you do not have sensors on your unit, you should flush the line if water backs up into the drain pan or collects around the indoor unit. 

  1. Inspect Ductwork 

Leaks and blockages in ductwork make it difficult for an HVAC unit to cool your home. You may discover leaks if you notice your AC unit isn’t cooling certain areas of the home well. However, pre-planned maintenance allows you to discover leaks before they make your home uncomfortable.

To inspect the ducts yourself, find exposed ductwork in places like the attic, basement, or utility closet. Listen for any whistling sounds indicating air is escaping. You can also hold your hand near the ducts to see if you can feel air leaks. For small leaks, you can use metal foil tape to close the leak yourself. For larger issues, it’s prudent to have them professionally repaired.

If you have blockages or reoccurring leaks you haven’t successfully patched yourself, Blue Flame can do a professional cleaning and repair

  1. Lubricate Moving Parts 

Proper lubrication reduces stress and pressure on moving parts. Some HVAC models may require lubrication on their fans. Other models may only need lubrication on the compressor and seals to help prevent leaks. Your HVAC technician can advise you on which lubricants to use and where to use them.

  1. Clean Air Vents and Registers 

The last step in an air conditioner’s functional routine is to push cool air from the ducts out of established vents. If these vents are dirty, the airflow out of them will be as well. Take the opportunity during spring maintenance to dust off these elements. Depending on their state, you may also want to wipe them down to remove other particles, such as pet dander.

  1. Examine Pipe Insulation

The insulation on AC pipes keeps the unit running efficiently by protecting the elements from fluctuating external temperatures and preventing damage like rust or corrosion. As you inspect your system for the season, check the insulation for any damage. If there are cracks, cuts, or other issues, replace the insulation. 

  1. Check Refrigerant Levels 

Proper refrigerant levels are crucial in an HVAC unit, as they rely on closed-system pressure to cool your air. If refrigerant begins to leak, that pressure is disrupted, and the system has to work much harder to produce the same outcomes. This leads to inefficient operations and higher bills.

Bubbling or hissing from a dormant AC unit usually indicates a refrigerant leak. Ice crystals on the evaporator coils are also a clear sign of leaks. If you notice either of these during your inspection, you’ll need to have the leak repaired and the refrigerant replaced.

For best results, refrigerant recharge should only be done by a professional. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact Blue Flame for assistance.

  1. Schedule Professional Inspection 

If your at-home spring HVAC maintenance checklist inspection uncovered any issues needing repair or maintenance, contact an experienced professional for support. Our experienced HVAC technicians in the Seattle area are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have and are eager to help.

Call us to schedule your spring maintenance inspection and repairs at (206)-388-5667.

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Last Updated: May 08, 2024