Beat the heat. 

Your HVAC system is central to your comfort. It is your heating system and your home air conditioning, all in one package. Installing an HVAC system can increase the value of your home by 10%, making it a great investment. 

Yet very few people value their system. They install it in their house and then forget about it. Their systems fall apart, requiring expensive repairs and renovations.

Your HVAC system can only work if you know how to perfect it. Here are seven ways you can perfect your system.

1. Take a Quick Look at Your HVAC System 

Go and look at your HVAC system. Ask questions to the person who installed your system. Go online and read guides about how the system works. 

Then walk over to the parts of your unit. Make sure you know whether your model is a split system or a hybrid system.

Find where the main switch is, especially if it is outdoors. Walk over to it and clear it of any debris that could accidentally trigger it. 

Find where you insert your air filters. You may need to insert multiple filters at one time. Practice switching them out. 

2. Understand the Different Parts of the System

Your HVAC system has many different features. You should distinguish among them so you can report problems when they happen. 

Thermostats are the regulators of HVAC systems. You input the temperature you want the heating and cooling parts of the system to activate at. When that exterior temperature is reached, the HVAC system switches on. 

Practice opening your thermostat box and changing out the batteries. Thermostats are always working, so you need to replace batteries often. 

HVAC installers place condensing units and evaporator coils outside the home. Units and coils help cool air. 

Furnaces remain inside the home. Though many people think of furnaces in the basement, more and more HVAC professionals place them in closets. Furnaces contain heat exchangers, which warm air that enters a home. 

3. Clean Your Ducts

Your vents fit over your ducts, controlling airflow. Check your vents once a week. If you notice dust is building upon them, do your best to clean them. 

Then call an HVAC professional. If your vents are dirty, your ducts are dirty as well.

Dust can build up in your vents, keeping your system from working. Your vents can spread dust throughout your home, triggering allergies. 

Pet hair can also get caught in your ducts. Keep your pets away from your HVAC system. Clean up any hairs or dandruff that you notice around your ducts.

You should also monitor for condensation. If you live in a humid climate, your vents will suck in wet air.

As the air contacts the ducts, the condensation pools. This can allow mold to grow and damage your HVAC system. If you suspect any mold growth in your system, you should contact a professional immediately.

4. Check and Switch Out Your Filters

Your HVAC air filters trap dust and other particles. They allow you to breathe clean air and they promote easy cleaning. To remove a lot of the dust in your system, you replace the filters.

You need to switch out your HVAC air filters every month. You may need to switch them out more often when your system is in constant use. 

Make sure your filters are the correct size. If your filter is too small, air will flow around it, carrying dust into your house. Check the side of your filter and buy replacements of its dimensions. 

5. Save Money on Energy

Americans spend more than $500 billion on energy. More than half of household expenditures come from central air systems. Do whatever you can to save your money.

Do not operate your system when you are out of the house. Whether you’re at work or on vacation, turn your system off when no one’s around. 

Do not heat or cool your house to extreme temperatures. Adjust the air in your home by a few degrees. If you need additional heating, wear a jacket or blanket. 

If you can afford the added expense, install solar panels on your house. The government offers tax credits for your installation. You can see a return on your investment within a decade. 

6. Insulate Your Home

Insulating your home is another way to save money. It will also reduce the stress on your system since air remains in the home. 

Install weather stripping around your windows. This keeps air from seeping out your window frames. Make sure the stripping is tight and not vulnerable to water. 

Your basement and attic are the biggest leakers. Place multiple kinds of insulation in both locations. 

Install blanket rolls, fitting fiberglass between studs and beams. Place foam boards around windows, and install concrete forms into your walls. Spray foam into irregularly shaped areas. 

Place some radiant barriers on the walls. This reflects heat back into a home, promoting your heating efficiency. 

7. Schedule Annual Maintenance

Your system will require maintenance, even if you do everything correctly. Schedule an appointment with a technician once a year. 

Don’t schedule your appointment during a high-demand season. Summer and winter are the times where the technicians are very busy. Schedule for the spring or fall. 

Before you make your appointment, run your system and walk through it. Take notes of any unusual sounds or odors that you detect. Tell your technician everything you have noticed. 

The Perfect Home Air Conditioning System

Don’t be in a dead heat. Learn a few basic steps, and you can optimize your HVAC system for years to come. 

Take a look at your system, understanding its different parts. Clean your HVAC air ducts and switch out your filters. Save money on energy and insulate your home, but make sure to schedule maintenance appointments. 

Home improvement can be easy if you know what to do. Follow our coverage for more home improvement tips and tricks.