The following text was copied from energystar.gov, it has been slightly modified.
Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.
Annual Preventative Maintenance should include the following:
- Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
- Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
- Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
- Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
- Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency on average 15-30 percent.
- Check the compressor start and run components for damage. Some components need to be replaced every few years in order to extend the life of the compressor.
- Check and tighten electrical connections. Vibrations in the condenser can cause connections / screws to loosen, which can leave you without cooling.
- Check all gas connections for leaks or corrosion.
- Check gas pressure from gas valve.
- Watch burner combustion / operation. Make sure all burners are lighting and burning properly. Improperly operating gas burners are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems.
- Check the heat exchanger for cracks. A cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation and the potential to leak Carbon Monoxide into the air stream.
- Check the venting for clearances to combustibles and or corrosion. Improperly installed venting can be a health or fire hazard.
Actions To Do Yourself:
Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure. Read my post on what air filter to choose.
Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away (We recommend a 5 degree set-back when you are away or asleep).