You want your HVAC system to work efficiently and last as long as possible. This way, your home stays comfortable, and you save more of your hard-earned money. There are many facets that go into keeping your HVAC system well-maintained. This includes aspects such as looking out for common problems, cleaning, repairs, and more. This B&L Ott HVAC Maintenance Guide will help you ensure you are taking care of your HVAC system properly. 

Common HVAC Problems

Eventually, your HVAC system will run into problems. This is due to wear-and-tear and other outside elements. However, if you can catch small issues before they turn into major problems, you can save more money and stress in the long run. With this in mind, it helps to know what the most common HVAC problems are and the signs to watch out for. The sooner you call B&L Ott to get it repaired, the better off you will be. 


There are multiple places your HVAC system may leak. Refrigerant leaks can be tricky to notice, and can also be dangerous. If you notice oily spots on your unit, high electricity bills, or lack of cool air, it could signal a refrigerant leak. If this is the case, be sure to call B&L Ott as soon as possible. It is the best way to ensure your home and family are safe and that the issue gets resolved properly. 

Oil leaks and water leaks are easier to spot as you will likely see drips or a puddle. Yet, it is still important to call B&L Ott sooner rather than later so that the issue doesn’t get worse. 


If you do notice leaks, one of the causes could be corrosion. Corrosion can affect a variety of HVAC components and cause it to work harder or malfunction. If you notice rust on any part of your HVAC system, it is a good idea to get it checked before you experience a total system breakdown. 

Dirt and Debris

Over time, dirt and debris will build up within your HVAC system. This is why regular cleaning is so important. It helps prevent clogs, promotes good airflow, and protects the more sensitive components from wear-and-tear. Be sure you call your HVAC contractor twice per year for maintenance to keep your system running as efficiently as possible. 

Which Maintenance Tasks Should I Perform and How Often?

While some issues will occur no matter what due to wear-and-tear, you can reduce the number of problems by keeping up with maintenance. So what tasks do you need to perform and when?


Ensure Area Around System is Clear 

Your HVAC system needs to be able to ventilate properly; otherwise, it will overheat. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that the area around your unit is clear. Make sure there are no piles of leaves, fallen branches, or plants too close to your outdoor unit. Also, make sure your belongings are kept away from your indoor unit. This also makes it easier for your B&L Ott technician to access the unit for maintenance and repairs. 

Monitor Your System 

It is always a good idea to simply pay attention to your system. If your system starts acting out of the usual or if your utility bills rise, you may want to get your system checked out by a professional. The sooner you catch issues, the better off you will be. 


Inspect Your System

It is a good idea to inspect your HVAC system at least once per month. Go around and make sure there are no leaks, strange sounds, smells, or physical damage. Some common places you may notice leaks include evaporator coils, condenser coils, and refrigerant lines. Be sure to take a peek at these locations. Also look for any rust, damage, or corrosion. 


Schedule Maintenance 

You should schedule maintenance with B&L Ott twice per year, once before cooling season and once before the heating season. Having a professional inspect, clean, and adjust your system twice per year helps you ensure that your system runs at its full potential. This also extends the life of your unit and helps keep your energy bills low. 


Check Carbon Dioxide Detector

Safety is always a high priority. It is important that your carbon monoxide detector is working so that your family is alerted if something goes wrong. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and undetectable to the human senses. Therefore, it is very important that your carbon monoxide detector is working. Be sure to check the batteries at least once per year. 

HVAC Maintenance You Can Perform

Many aspects of HVAC maintenance require a professional touch. There are many sensitive and intricate parts that need to be installed, cleaned, and repaired properly. If something is neglected, it can lead to issues that are expensive to repair. That is why it is best to call an experienced HVAC contractor in Reading, PA like B&L OTT. That being said, there are also a number of maintenance tasks that homeowners can and should perform on their system. You will find these below. 

Watch Out For Issues

While small issues inside your unit can be difficult to detect, there are some obvious issues that you can look out for. By simply checking your system regularly and looking for anything out of the ordinary, you can help keep your system healthy. If you notice any issue with your system, be sure to get it checked out as soon as possible. This will also help you avoid a total system breakdown at an inconvenient time.  

Change or Clean the Filter

The average 1” filter that typically comes with an HVAC system should be changed once per month. Some high-efficiency filters may last longer, but it doesn’t hurt to check it at least once a month. Pets and the amount of dirt your family brings in can also affect how often it needs to be changed. Typically, if your filter is covered in dust, it needs to be changed or cleaned. If you are unsure how often your filter needs to be changed, check the box, do some research or contact B&L Ott for help. 

Dust the Vents

Dust will eventually accumulate in and on various parts of your HVAC system over time. This includes your vents and return air registers. Dust is unsightly and can block the airflow. Therefore, you should dust your vents off when you notice them getting dirty.

Turn Power On and Off As Needed

It is important to know how to turn your HVAC system on and off. HVAC systems use electricity, which can be dangerous. On the exterior of the condenser/compressor, there should be an exterior shutoff box. Flip the switch to turn your HVAC off. 

You should also know how to turn it off at the breaker box. The breaker box is typically located in the basement or garage. Find the switch that corresponds to the power leading to your HVAC system and flip it on or off as needed. Knowing where these switches are can help you keep your family safe. 

Help Ensure Proper Airflow in Your Berks County Home

If you have furniture or other belongings blocking your air vents or return registers, it can block the airflow. The air gets trapped between the walls and furniture rather than flowing into the main area of your home. This causes your HVAC system to run longer and waste energy. If you notice anything blocking the vents, rearrange your home to promote proper airflow. 

What to Expect from a Pro 

When it comes to your HVAC, maintenance should be performed by a trained professional who is knowledgeable about HVAC systems and knows the proper techniques. Choosing a professional is the best way to ensure your HVAC system is running efficiently and will last long. Below are some tasks your HVAC technician will perform when they visit your Berks County home. 

If they’re checking your air conditioning, they should:

  • Check the condenser coil
  • Check the thermostat
  • Take a wet bulb reading
  • Inspect the superheat and the sub-cooling
  • Check the motor amperage

If they’re checking your furnace, they should:

  • Replace the air filter
  • Check the thermostat
  • Look over the condensate drain
  • Inspect the connections and tighten
  • Check the system controls

Keeping Your HVAC in Top-Notch Condition

The better you take care of your HVAC system, the longer it will last. Everyone wants to get the most they can out of their HVAC system. When your system is in good condition, your energy bills will stay low and your family will stay comfortable. Below you will find some tips on how to keep your HVAC system in top-notch condition. 

Purchase a Better Filter

The filter is in charge of cleaning the air that passes through it. The standard 1” filter that many systems come with typically does just enough to keep your system running. If you want to improve your system’s performance, consider upgrading your filter. Look at the MERV rating. The higher the number, the smaller the particles it will filter out of the air. 

Remember to Replace Your Filter

Remembering to clean or replace your filter when needed is one of the keys to keeping your HVAC system working efficiently and functioning properly. When a filter is clean, the fibers can more easily capture the dirt and debris passing through. On the other hand, when a filter is dirty, it can get clogged and stop working properly. 

Ensure That There Is 2ft Clearance at a Minimum

As mentioned before, it is important that both your HVAC system can ventilate properly. Therefore, you should ensure that there are at least two feet of clearance around your HVAC system. This will help it function properly, prevent overheating, and allow your B&L Ott technician to access your system for maintenance. 

Remove Debris

Be sure to keep debris away from both your indoor and outdoor HVAC units as well. If it storms or is windy, look for leaves and fallen branches. Don’t plant anything too close to your outdoor unit. Keep your belongings away from your indoor unit. Clean the area around your system regularly. This will help ensure that debris doesn’t get into your system and damage the parts. 

Inspect the Insulation on the Refrigerant Lines on a Monthly Basis

Over time, wear-and-tear can damage the insulation on the refrigerant lines of your unit. When this happens, you may start to experience energy loss. Help avoid this by inspecting the insulation on a monthly basis. Then replace the insulation when needed. 

Make Sure Your Unit is Level

If the ground under your unit erodes or shifts, it can cause issues with your HVAC system. It can cause issues with the compressor, oil flow, water drainage, vibrations, and more. Issues such as these can damage your system or increase wear-and-tear. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your unit is level. 

Remove Any Clogs

Over time, the buildup of dirt and debris can clog your system. When this happens, your system will likely stop functioning properly and waste energy. With this in mind, it is important to keep an eye on accumulating debris. The longer you leave it unchecked, the worse it will get. Be sure to have a B&L Ott technician check things out as soon as possible. 

Tend to Your Humidifier

Humidity can play a significant role in the comfort of your Reading area home. With this in mind, you will want to tend to your humidifier as well. You will likely turn off your humidifier in Spring as the air is already relatively humid in Berks County during this time of year. In the fall, however, you will want to turn it on. Be sure to replace the wick filter, set the humidistat, and turn on the water supply. 

Never Close More Than 20% of Your Home’s Registers

Using more than 20% of your home’s registers can put unnecessary strain on your HVAC system. It will also likely cost you more in the long run. Keep most of the registers in your home open and dust them when necessary. 

Replace Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries Annually

As mentioned before, replacing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector is important to keep your family safe. In addition to this concern, a carbon monoxide leak can be expensive to recover from. Therefore, replacing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector should be a priority. 

By keeping up with HVAC maintenance, you can keep your system running at peak performance and help it last to or beyond its full life expectancy. The professionals at B&L Ott HVAC in Reading, PA are here to help you accomplish these tasks. With decades of experience in the industry and high standards, we can help you get the most out of your system