With spring just around the corner, many homeowners have remodeling projects on their to-do list. One thing that’s sure to accompany any remodeling project is sawdust, regular dust and plain old dirt. And that’s hazardous to HVAC equipment. Many heating and cooling system repair issues can be traced back to dust and dirt buildup in sensitive components.
If you have a home remodeling project coming up, here are some common-sense tips for making sure your furnace, AC, heat pump or other HVAC equipment isn’t adversely affected by all that indoor work. The steps are easy and inexpensive, and preferable to dealing with expensive repairs caused by the storm of dust that’s coming to your house.
Prepare for Your Home Remodeling Project
Plan ahead. Go over your remodeling plans with your HVAC contractor before committing to a project. They should be able to advise you on how to protect your heating and cooling equipment while the work is being done.
Turn off your equipment. It’s better to not have your furnace or AC blower running during the project, drawing in dust and debris.
Close registers and vents where the work is occurring. Also cover vents. You want to prevent your equipment from drawing dust and dirt back into the duct system once the equipment begins operating again. If you decide to leave your forced-air heating or cooling on during the work, don’t close too many registers, since that will adversely affect airflow.
Have as much prep-work as possible done outside or in the garage. This includes cutting and sanding wood.
Control the dust. Use plastic tarps to separate the work area from the rest of the house. Instruct your contractor (if you’re not doing the work yourself) to employ regular dust control techniques. Is there a way to maintain negative air pressure in the work area during the project, so any airborne dust is likely to move out, rather than into, the work area?
Keep things clean. The work area should be cleaned frequently during the project, to avoid dust and dirt from being tracked around or swept into HVAC registers and vents.
Keep an eye on your HVAC filter. Inspect the air filter during and after the project to ensure that it hasn’t gotten clogged with airborne dust and debris.
Check your HVAC system after the project. It won’t hurt to have your HVAC contractor inspect your inside heating and cooling equipment, as well as the duct system, to make sure dirt and dust haven’t accumulated during the remodeling project.