senior man cleaning HVAC furnace and air conditioning filter

How Often Should I Clean my Furnace or Air Conditioner?

Heating and cooling systems have powerful hardware that pushes clean air throughout a home. As a result, the process of determining when a furnace or air conditioning system needs to be cleaned is simple if you know what signs to look for.

Energy Bill Spikes

If your energy bill suddenly increases after the HVAC system only runs for a short time, its ducts are dirty. A heating and cooling system must produce proper airflow in order to circulate clean currents throughout a home. If debris restricts airflow, an HVAC system’s efficiency will decrease because its blower assembly will struggle.

To maintain a consistent energy bill, always check the connections around all ducts for leaks as any gaps or openings can reduce your system’s heating and cooling efficiency. If the ductwork is spotless and secure, your HVAC equipment will consume less energy during heating and cooling cycles.

Allergy Symptoms Intensify

Some contaminants are almost invisible in certain indoor environments. You can only see these particles when sunlight shines through your windows. As these contaminates float around people in your house, they will trigger some allergy symptoms. Whenever allergy sufferers continuously sneeze, cough, or breath poorly while the HVAC system is running, it’s time to clean your filters. A dirty furnace or air conditioner can cause problems for people who have

  • Asthma
  • Sinus issues
  • Respiratory issues

According to experts, large and small particles from a dirty HVAC system can trigger common symptoms up to seven times a day. To improve and maintain the air quality in your home, you must change the filters regularly in the fall and winter and more frequently during allergy season.

Mold Growth

Mold can cause serious health problems if it isn’t detected inside of ducts early. When anyone in your home experiences one or more of the following symptoms, you should let a professional HVAC or furnace technician search all surfaces inside your ducts:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Throat irritation

How to Shorten Furnace Cleaning and Air Conditioner Cleaning Routines:

Typically, you’ll only need to clean your heating and cooling equipment whenever you discover common signs. However, there are a few things that can increase the frequency of weekly and monthly cleaning routines. By following several easy steps, you’ll reduce the number of furnace and air conditioner cleaning routines on your maintenance schedule.

If you consistently see large dust particles floating through the air in certain spaces, your HVAC system may need a fiberglass filter. This filter has a mesh surface that’s designed to capture large dust particles instead of small contaminates. For small clusters of dust, a pleated filter works best as it can block microscopic dust particles for up to 90 days.

Most dust enters a home when people track dirt on the rug by the front door. If you shake your entry mat every week outdoors, dust on its fibers won’t float into air vents indoors, and you won’t have to change your HVAC system’s filter on a regular basis.

In a typical home, dust lands on surfaces and stays there until a gust of wind moves through the space. Because dust begins its path around a home on the ground, an air current can easily propel the particles high into the air. This means that dust can land on

  • Curtains
  • Decorations
  • Furniture
  • Ceiling fan blades

A vacuum is your best defense against dust as it can suck up particles before they land inside of an HVAC system. If possible, invest in a vacuum that has a HEPA filter because this filter can capture particles that are 0.3 microns.

Dusting is another way to eliminate contaminants that can coat parts of a furnace or air conditioner. If you only want to clean your HVAC unit once or twice a month, you’ll have to dust hard surfaces at least twice a week with a microfiber cloth.

Besides dust, there is another substance that can interfere with heating and cooling equipment, and it’s called pet dander. You can reduce it by grooming your pets often with scissors, combs, brushes, and shampoos.

The Best Tools for an Air Conditioner Cleaning Routine

The unit outdoors needs to be cleaned regularly. Although it has multiple parts, you’ll only need to focus on the condenser coils. You can wash debris off these coils with a regular garden hose. If there is dry dirt on a coil, you may need to increase the water pressure to blast it away. You can regulate the pressure by attaching a spray nozzle at the end of the hose.

If you need alternative options, you could remove dirt off of coils with a pressure washer or an aerosol spray. When using a pressure washer, always keep the pressure low as powerful water jets could damage the coils.

The Best Furnace Cleaning Tools

Since a furnace has many nooks and crannies, you’ll need a variety of tools to extract dirt and dust off of different surfaces. For a basic job, the following furnace cleaning tools can provide big advantages:

A vacuum: You’ll need a regular vacuum or a shop vac with a wand attachment for debris that lands on the foundation inside of a furnace. If your current vacuum’s attachment can’t maneuver around certain parts, remove all dust and dirt with a damp rag.
Cotton swabs: Cotton swabs are great for blower assembly cleaning jobs. To use a swab, soak the cotton in water, and carefully rub it against dirt and dust on the assembly hardware.
Brushes: Stiff bristled brushes can help you sweep away debris around the combustion chamber. They can also loosen soot on the burners.

Benefits of Cleaning Equipment on a Schedule

When an HVAC system is kept clean, everyone in a home gains some hidden benefits. For example, because the air will be cleaner, you’ll breathe easier and sleep peacefully throughout the night. You’ll also breathe in fresher air as your home will lack contaminates that produce odd odors and smells.

Overall, there is no specific time for an air conditioner cleaning or furnace cleaning routine. However, if you recognize the signs, you’ll always have an opportunity to implement maintenance and cleaning procedures on time.

If you need air conditioner repair check out our services. If you’re having furnace issues, we can help you with that too.

Whatever you need we are here for you – reach out with any questions or concerns.