The Ultimate HVAC Tune-up Checklist

HVAC systems play a critical role in keeping your home comfortable through varying seasons, that’s why it’s important to keep them running in tip-top shape with regular maintenance.

While an HVAC system typically has a lifespan ranging from 10 to 25 years, the durability of the HVAC components directly affects this number. Always purchase your equipment from a trusted Napoleon dealer in order to get the most out of your HVAC system.

In this HVAC tune-up checklist, we will discuss what you need to do to keep your HVAC running at peak performance.


General Reminder About Tune-ups for Homeowners

Basic HVAC tune-up or regular maintenance done by homeowners should NOT take the place of professional inspection and maintenance. As a general rule, HVAC systems need to be checked and/or serviced by a professional at least once a year. However, if signs of damage or issues show up earlier, it’s best to get immediate professional assistance.



Types of HVAC and their Components

Before anything else, let’s talk about the different types of HVAC systems. These systems have differences in their components, and therefore have different HVAC tune-up/maintenance needs.


Split Systems

  • The most common type of HVAC system found in homes

  • Has two main units: a cooling system outside and a heating system typically found in the basement or a similar kind of storage space

Components Found in Split Systems

  • Air conditioner (for cooling) – the condenser and compressor are in an outdoor unit, but also has an indoor component

  • Gas furnace (for heating) – installed inside

  • Ducts


Hybrid Split Systems

  • Known for providing greater energy savings because of seasonal adaptability

  • Also known as a “dual-fuel system”

  • Has units installed inside and outside the house

Components Found in Hybrid Split Systems

  • Heat pump (for heating or cooling) – installed outside

  • Air handler (for moving air around) – typically used with the heat pump but installed inside

  • Gas furnace (for heating) – installed inside

  • Ducts


Ductless Systems

  • A relatively new type of HVAC system

  • Does NOT need ductwork to function

  • Also has units installed inside and outside the house, perfect for garage transformation, sun room, or larger homes that need heating and cooling

Components Found in Ductless Systems

  • Condenser unit – installed outside

  • Air handlers (for moving air around) – typically used with a heat pump but these are installed inside

    *Note: some types of ductless systems have wall-mounted air conditioners (as the indoor component)


Packaged Heating Systems

  • Combines heating and cooling in one packaged unit as a dual solution

  • Typically installed beside the house or on the roof

Components Found in Packaged Systems

  • A packaged HVAC unit containing the compressor, coils, and air handler

  • Ducts


HVAC Tune-up Checklist for Each Component


Because dirt and dust in ducts can restrict the efficiency of your HVAC system, it is advisable to make sure that your ducts are cleaned regularly.


Packaged HVAC Units

If you have a packaged HVAC unit, the good news is you only need to pay attention to two components: the ducts and the packaged unit itself.

Here are some notes on maintenance or HVAC tune-up tips for packaged HVAC units:

  • Before doing anything, make sure that the power to your HVAC is turned off.

  • Check to make sure that the condensation line of the packaged unit is free of blockages.

  • Call a professional if you see any worn-out or loose electrical lines.

  • Remove debris and vegetation that is on or beside the unit.

  • Remove any leaves or debris inside the packaged unit. Carefully vacuum the area to remove loose dirt.

  • Clean the condenser fins (follow manufacturer instructions for this).

  • Change your air filters regularly.



Outdoor Air Conditioner (Indoor and Outdoor Component)

Air conditioner units are usually used in split systems and duct-free systems. Typically, these air conditioners have an outdoor compressor and condenser, as well as an indoor unit. Here are some simple steps to take when tuning up this type of unit:

  • Clean or replace the air conditioner’s filters every 90 days or so. This could involve cleaning the filters on the indoor wall mounted ductless units, or changing/cleaning your furnace air filter in split units.

  • Make sure the drain line is clean and unblocked.

  • Clean the condenser fins (follow manufacturer instructions for this).

  • Remove any dirt, leaves, or debris that are near the outdoor unit.

  • Consider getting a condenser cover for your outdoor unit.


Gas Furnace

The gas furnace is a component usually found in split systems and hybrid split HVAC systems. Here’s the HVAC tune-up checklist for this specific component:

  • Clean or replace the furnace’s filter regularly.

  • Every now and then, check to see if the blower motor is functioning properly.

  • Every now and then (especially in the snowy season), inspect the exhaust flue to ensure that it is clear and unobstructed - this goes doubly if it is located closer to the ground. The flue is usually a PVC pipe coming off the side or back of the house.

  • Pay a professional to clean your gas furnace at least once every year - can be bundled with your annual HVAC inspection.


Heat Pump & Air Handlers

Heat pumps and air handlers are usually used in hybrid-split and duct-free HVAC systems. Here are the HVAC tune-up tips for these components:

  • Both heat pumps and air handlers generally have filters; make sure to clean these filters every 12 weeks.

  • Because heat pumps are located outside, make sure that the unit is free of dust and debris.

  • Prevent weeds and shrubs from growing near or around your outdoor heat pump.


Problems With Your HVAC System

If you perform the above HVAC tune-up tips regularly, it will help your system run without issues for a long time. However, if you notice any problems with your HVAC system such as leaks, loose wires, weird sounds, poor performance, and so on, it’s best to consult a professional.

To learn more about troubleshooting HVAC problems, check out this guide: HVAC Troubleshooting Tips for Common Problems.


Get a Durable and Long-Lasting HVAC System for Your Home

The pointers in this HVAC tune-up checklist will help extend the lifespan of your system. However, in some cases, replacing a component may be necessary.

If you’re looking for high-quality, durable, and efficient replacement components for your HVAC system, check out Napoleon’s collection of gas furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, air handlers, and ductless systems. We also offer various solutions for boosting the quality of your indoor air.