Essential DIY HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners in Clackamas County


As a homeowner in Clackamas County, maintaining your HVAC system is crucial for comfort and energy efficiency. While major repairs and installations should be left to professional HVAC contractors, there are several DIY tasks you can perform to keep your system running smoothly. Milwaukie Heating & Cooling, serving areas like Happy Valley, West Linn, and beyond, offers these valuable tips to help you maintain your HVAC system:

1. Regular Filter Changes

One of the simplest yet most important tasks is changing your air filter regularly. A clean filter ensures:

  • Better air quality
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Reduced strain on your HVAC system

Aim to change your filter every 1-3 months, depending on usage and filter type.

2. Keep Your Outdoor Unit Clean

For those with central AC or heat pumps, maintaining the outdoor unit is crucial. Follow these steps:

  • Clear debris like leaves and twigs from around the unit
  • Gently clean the fins with a soft brush or vacuum
  • Ensure at least 2 feet of clearance around the unit

This maintenance helps your system operate efficiently, especially during peak summer months in West Linn and surrounding areas.

3. Inspect and Clean Vents

Regularly check your vents for dust and debris. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean them thoroughly. This simple task can significantly improve your indoor air quality and system efficiency.

4. Monitor Your Thermostat

Your thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system. Ensure it’s working correctly by:

  • Checking the battery regularly
  • Cleaning it gently with a soft brush
  • Verifying that it’s level on the wall

Consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat for better energy management.

5. Maintain Proper Humidity Levels

Humidity plays a crucial role in comfort and HVAC efficiency. Use a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity levels, aiming for 30-50%. In humid summers, consider using a dehumidifier to reduce strain on your AC.

6. Check for Unusual Noises or Odors

Be attentive to any strange sounds or smells coming from your HVAC system. While diagnosing these issues might require professional help, early detection can prevent major breakdowns.

7. Seal Ductwork Leaks

Inspect visible ductwork for leaks, especially in attics or crawl spaces. Use mastic sealant or metal tape (not duct tape) to seal small leaks. This can significantly improve your system’s efficiency.

8. Keep Your Condensate Drain Clear

The condensate drain line can become clogged, leading to water damage or system shutdown. Flush it annually with vinegar or a bleach solution to prevent algae growth.

9. Insulate Exposed Ductwork

If you have exposed ductwork in unconditioned spaces like attics, consider adding insulation. This can improve energy efficiency and reduce temperature loss.

10. Schedule Professional Maintenance

While these DIY tips are valuable, nothing replaces professional maintenance. Schedule annual check-ups with a qualified HVAC contractor in Clackamas, OR, like Milwaukie Heating & Cooling, to ensure your system is running at peak performance.

By following these DIY tips and partnering with a reliable HVAC installation service in Happy Valley, OR, or an AC contractor in West Linn, OR, you can maintain a comfortable and efficient home year-round. Remember, when in doubt or faced with complex issues, it’s always best to consult with professionals to ensure the safety and longevity of your HVAC system.