How to Properly Inspect Your HVAC System

April 7, 2015

As a homeowner, you may not have HVAC expertise, but you can learn to inspect your HVAC system and get a sense of how well it's performing, how clean it is, and perhaps even what minor upkeep should be performed. Check these five parts of your HVAC system.


You can check the air filter yourself. Pull the filter out and examine it for dirt buildup. If it's still relatively clean, re-insert it, but if not, change it. Fiberglass filters are inexpensive and do an adequate job of filtering dirt from the workings of the HVAC system, although they don't help your indoor air quality. Fiberglass filters should be changed monthly in times of heavy use, as dirt buildup will slow airflow


A duct cleaning professional with the proper equipment should inspect ducts for dirt, mold or obstructions such as rodent nests. However, if you have access to your ductwork in the attic or in exposed areas, you can check for leaks, loose segments, loose screws, worn-out duct tape (replace only with mastic or metal tape) or other problems. Remember, dirt streaks indicate that air is escaping. Report any issues to a professional.


Make sure the outdoor unit of your A/C, the condenser and compressor, is free of leaves, weeds and other debris. Open up the metal casing around the unit and examine the fins. Bent fins can be straightened with a fin comb. Inspect fan blades for damage, but don't attempt to fix them yourself. You can also clean the condenser by using foam manufactured for the purpose.

Thermostat and Controls

Check the batteries and/or wiring on the thermostat. Test the controls and the call for cool air to be sure the thermostat and controls are working.

Return Grilles and Registers 

Inspect grilles and registers for dirt, dust and pet hair. Vacuum the grilles and clean away streaks of dirt.

To learn more about how to inspect your HVAC system, contact Lozier Heating and Cooling of Des Moines. Established in 1906, we are recognized as one of the most reputable heating and cooling contractors in central Iowa. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Lightspring/Shutterstock"