A lot of homeowners like to take on their own home maintenance, but with so many components in operation in or around your home, it can be easy to overlook certain things. Your HVAC system is no different, but overlooking components here can have dire consequences, resulting in a loss of heating or air conditioning until a professional can repair what you missed. Keeping in mind a few of the most commonly overlooked parts of your HVAC will either help you to avoid a misstep, or give you the motivation necessary to call a professional to handle your HVAC upkeep.

The Drip Pan

Found under your forced air system, the drip pan is designed to catch condensation that occurs when warm air, cool air and moisture collide, which isn't unusual during normal HVAC operation. In good repair, the pan will catch the water droplets as they fall from the forced air unit inside your home and allow them to drain away. The drain for the drip pan may lead either to a green-space outside, or to a wastewater drain line inside.

Pest activity, debris from your attic or basement, and even displaced yard debris kicked up during mowing or weeding can clock the drain line of the drip pan. As a result, the water that normally drains safely away will collect and build up over time, eventually overflowing the pan. Most forced air systems have emergency cut-off systems designed to avoid electrical faults, and these triggers are normally engaged if the water in the pan rises too high. Cleaning out the drain line for your drip pan will help you avoid an unforeseen loss of function, and save you from a day without your furnace or AC.

Air Conditioner Fins

Your air conditioner produces cool air using a method very similar to your refrigerator, simply on a larger scale. Freon gas under pressure is cycled through the metal fins in your exterior unit where it expands and dissipates heat. As the gas compresses upon cycling into the copper pipes of your AC it cools, producing the resulting cold air for your home.

Errant grass, leaves, pollen and a host of other airborne detritus can find its way in between the fins of your AC unit, hindering the process that provides you with cooling. It's easy to overlook a problem that can take months or years to seriously affect performance, but once it's gone too far you can find yourself in a serious bind. Clearing the debris from inside and around your AC unit, or making it a regular part of your yard maintenance routine, will help ensure proper function of the system and alert you to damage that may have occurred during a storm or other event.

Keeping your central HVAC system in working order isn't just a matter of cleaning out ducts or heating elements. There are many factors at play because there are many components that contribute to the system's basic function. Overlooking any one of those components can be detrimental to the system's function, which is why it may benefit you to hire a professional heating service the next time your system needs checked out.