As a homeowner in Chicago, you know how crucial a well-functioning HVAC system is for comfort year-round. While professional services are essential for major repairs and installations, there are several DIY tasks you can perform to keep your system running smoothly. Five Star HVAC Services brings you these top tips to maintain and improve your HVAC system’s efficiency.

1. Regular Filter Changes

One of the simplest yet most effective DIY tasks is changing your air filter regularly. A clean filter ensures:

  • Better air quality
  • Improved system efficiency
  • Reduced energy costs

Aim to change your filter every 1-3 months, depending on usage and filter type.

2. Keep Your Outdoor Unit Clean

For optimal AC performance, ensure your outdoor unit is free from debris. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power to the unit
  2. Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris
  3. Gently clean the fins with a soft brush
  4. Trim any nearby vegetation to maintain proper airflow

3. Seal and Insulate Ductwork

Leaky ducts can significantly reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency. Inspect visible ductwork for gaps or disconnections. Use mastic sealant or metal-backed tape to seal small leaks. For larger issues, consider professional duct sealing services.

4. Programmable Thermostat Installation

Installing a programmable thermostat can lead to substantial energy savings. These devices allow you to set different temperatures for various times of the day, optimizing comfort and efficiency. Many models are user-friendly and can be installed with basic DIY skills.

5. Annual System Tune-up

While not entirely a DIY task, scheduling an annual professional tune-up is crucial. However, you can prepare for this service by:

  • Cleaning around your indoor and outdoor units
  • Checking for unusual noises or odors
  • Testing your thermostat’s accuracy

6. Maintain Proper Humidity Levels

Chicago’s climate can be humid, affecting your HVAC system’s performance. Use a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity levels, aiming for 30-50%. Consider using a dehumidifier during particularly humid periods to ease the load on your AC.

7. Optimize Airflow

Ensure all vents and registers are unobstructed by furniture or curtains. Regularly dust and vacuum these areas to maintain proper airflow throughout your home.

8. Inspect and Clean Condensate Drain Line

A clogged condensate drain can lead to water damage and system inefficiency. Locate the drain line (usually a PVC pipe near your indoor unit) and pour a cup of white vinegar through it annually to prevent algae growth.

9. Check Refrigerant Lines

Visually inspect the insulation on refrigerant lines running from your outdoor unit. If you notice any damage or missing insulation, replace it to maintain system efficiency.

10. Monitor Your Energy Bills

Keep an eye on your energy bills. A sudden increase could indicate an HVAC issue. By tracking your usage, you can quickly identify potential problems and address them before they escalate.


While these DIY tips can help maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency, remember that some tasks require professional expertise. For complex issues, AC installation, or comprehensive AC repair in Chicago, don’t hesitate to contact Five Star HVAC Services. Our team of experienced technicians is always ready to ensure your home stays comfortable throughout Chicago’s diverse seasons.

By incorporating these DIY maintenance tasks into your routine, you’ll not only extend the life of your HVAC system but also enjoy improved comfort and energy savings in your Chicago home.