HVAC System Maintenance

Operating and maintaining a homes’ HVAC system is not without regular maintenance items that need to be addressed.  The life expectancy of heating and cooling systems is largely dependent on proper system installation and regular maintenance items. Annual maintenance service contract with a qualified HVAC company are generally good idea and worth the cost.  I always recommend talking with at least 3 companies for quotes prior to signing on the dotted line.

I have compiled a list of maintenance items that should be done on an annual and sometimes semi-annual basis to maintain efficiency of the units as well as extend the life of equipment.  This list comes from two very common manufacturers that I find in our service area, Trane and Goodman.  More maintenance items can be found on their websites at:  trane.com/residential and goodmanmfg.com/resources


Air Conditioning

  • Keep the exterior coil free from debris and vegetation.  A 2 foot clear space is recommended on 3 sides of the exterior unit.
  • Inspect refrigerant lines monthly, replace the insulation as needed.1537447827062
  • Replace air filter at minimum every 90 days.
  • Ensure outdoor unit is located on stable level ground
  • Check to be sure there are no unusual odors or unusual sounds upon startup of the unit as this can indicate an issue with the compressor.

A/C Maintenance Items

At the time of annual maintenance an HVAC Technician will:

  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Inspect system Controls
  • Clean Coils and lubricate moving parts
  • Check Blowers and fans
  • Check refrigerant levels and pressures.
  • Verify operating temperatures


  • Replace air filter at minimum, every 90 days
  • Clean condensate drain at minimum every 6 months1538593670621
  • Replace humidifier filter once annually
  • Check exposed duct work for holes or leakage, sealing as needed.  Leaking duct work can resulting in 20-30% of system air loss, reducing overall efficiency.

Furnace Maintenance items

At the time of annual maintenance an HVAC Technician will:

  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Check any piping for cracking or leakage
  • Clean and check blower for proper operation.
  • Clean burners and check for corrosion or damage.
  • Check ignition switch
  • Check heat exchanger for cracking
  • Check and clean flue piping
  • Replace worn parts
  • Check system controls

The most important check to have performed on an annual basis is the heat exchanger, some older furnace models were prone to failure and should be checked regularly.  A carbon monoxide test is generally done at the time of servicing of the furnace.  Carbon monoxide detectors are also required by law in Wisconsin, 1 per floor as a safety measure.

This is not an exhaustive list, as many more items may be checked/serviced by a technician, maintenance items also may vary by manufacturer, so be sure to have service performed by a technician that is knowledgeable about your brand of equipment.



If you have a home inspection or home maintenance related topic you’d like to read about please send your suggestion to me via email at Aaron@ZuehlkeInspections.com

Azuehlke2Aaron M. Zuehlke is the owner and lead inspector at Zuehlke Inspection Service, LLC, a full-service home inspection company serving Southern Wisconsin. Specializing in Home inspection, Radon Testing and Residential Thermal Imaging.

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