HVAC - Heating and Cooling

Your home's heating and cooling system should be maintained periodically to maximize efficiency of the units and prevent disruption of operation during extreme weather periods.

Care and Maintenance Tips Energy Savings - General

  • Closing blinds and drapes on hot days will help deflect sunlight and minimize solar heating.
  • Conversely, open blinds and drapes on cold days to allow sunlight in to warm the home.
  • Reduce heat from lighting. Lights create a lot of heat which your cooling system has to remove, so avoid leaving unnecessary lights on, particularly during the day.

Energy Savings - Landscaping

  • Plan landscaping elements that support efficient energy use. However, never dig around your home until you have contacted your local utility Company. They can advise you where ground wires have been run and direct you to safe areas to dig.
  • Position trees to shade the roof and still allow good air flow around the home.
  • Plant shrubs and trees to shade the air conditioner without obstructing air flow around the unit.

Energy Savings - Use Ceiling Fans

  • Ceiling fans use significantly less electricity as air conditioners and the moving air allows you to feel comfortable with temperatures set several degrees higher.
  • Ceiling fans do not cool the air; they invoke a cool feeling by moving the air around. Therefore, ceiling fans should be turned off when leaving the room and should not be left on during the day with nobody home.
  • Make sure your ceiling fan is spinning the correct way. For cooling purposes, make sure your fan is blowing DOWN, to send air downward to remove the hot air that surrounds your body. During the winter, set your fan to blow UP on a low setting to circulate warm air that rises to the ceiling. For most fans, when you're standing under the fan looking up, counter-clockwise blows down and clockwise blows up.


  • Based on the area you live, your home will be equipped with either a gas or electric furnace (with or without air conditioning) or heat pump that provides both heating and cooling.
  • Establish a regular maintenance program with your HVAC contractor. The heating and cooling system should be checked and cleaned professionally a minimum of once a year.
  • Condensation lines should be cleaned and drained annually. The condensation lines drain moisture created by the systems while operating and through normal wear and tear will collect algae and other debris that should be removed to ensure the lines are clear.
  • Check air filters monthly and replace as needed. Do not operate your system without an air filter in position.
  • Never reverse a dirty filter. A dirty filter increases operating costs and will also eventually cause the system to fail.

System Operation

  • Your heating and cooling system is turned on and off by the thermostat.
  • View our tips for recommended use of your thermostat to maximize energy efficiency while maintaining comfort in your home.
  • Air flows from your heating and cooling system through ductwork and enters each room through registers.
  • View our tips for recommended use and maintenance of your Registers and Ductwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I do if I smell gas coming from my furnace?
A: Evacuate everyone from the home immediately and call your gas company or 911 from your mobile phone. Do not try and light any appliances or flip any electrical switches.

Q: Why is my air conditioning not coming on?
A: Check your thermostat and make sure it is set to "cool" and that the set temperature warrants that the unit will kick on. By design, the unit will not kick on until the inside temperature of the home is greater than the thermostat setting. Also, check your air filter. If it is completely dirty then the unit may not kick on because air flow is restricted. If none of these work, contact your HVAC contractor for assistance.

Q: Why is my heat not coming on?
A: Check your thermostat and make sure it is set to "heat" and that the set temperature warrants that the unit will kick on. If this does not work, call your HVAC contractor for service.

Q: Why is steam rising from my outdoor heat pump?
A: This is a normal occurrence when the unit is completing its defrost cycle. The heat created by this activity mixed with the cooler outdoor temperatures creates the steam.

Q: Why is there a smell when I turn on my heating or cooling system?
A: The first time you turn on the heating or cooling system for a season there may be a dusty smell. This is normal and is a result of the system being settled for a long period of time. If the smell persists, check your air filter. If this does not resolve the issue, call your HVAC contractor.

* If you are in a Condo residence please refer to your Condo Association Documents to verify your responsibilities, if any, for the maintenance of these areas.