Your heating and cooling system may be one of the most complicated appliances you have in your home, and while it’s likely to run safely year-round, some issues do exist that affect your safety and that of your home. Routine maintenance by you and an HVAC contractor prevent most of the problems associated with heating and cooling your home.
When your heating or cooling system is running, check the air filter in the air handler monthly. A clean air filter prevents a number of problems that contribute to HVAC safety, even during the summer. When it gets dirty, dust can enter the air handler, covering the evaporator coil, which slows the cooling process and can lead to mold growth inside the air handler. If black mold spores are present in your home, they can land on the surface of the coil and thrive in the cool, humid environment.
If you use a gas furnace, the dust can cover the heat exchanger, acting as insulation and keeping it hotter than the manufacturer intended. Eventually the metal will crack, causing carbon monoxide (CO) to enter your home’s air supply. Should an HVAC technician find cracks, he or she will disable the furnace until the parts are replaced or you install a new furnace.
Leaks in the ductwork can pull CO into your home if you use any vented gas appliances or have an attached garage. When a forced-air HVAC system turns on, it creates negative pressure inside the home, which pulls sir in through any leaks, including the wall and doorway between the home and the garage. If you park in the garage, store any yard or pool chemicals inside it, you could be breathing those fumes.
The best way to keep your HVAC system running efficiently and safely is through annual maintenance. When professionals go through it, they check and clean all the electrical components. Dirt or corrosion on these parts slow the flow of electricity and heats up the parts, eventually overheating them, setting the stage for an electrical fire.
Homeowners who have gas furnaces should have them serviced at least once a year to keep them running safely. The HVAC technician will check the quality of the flame, verify that the flue is clear and make sure that the safety switches are fully functional.
HVAC contractors have testing equipment that will measure the airflow through the system, which helps them find any ductwork leaks. If present, they’ll seal with metal tape or use mastic, a type of permanent sealant.