Each season you get ready for a new kind of weather. You change your wardrobe, or stock up for the winter. You take care of things and get ready. Your HVAC system requires the same kind of seasonal preparation but it’s easy to think of your heating and cooling system as a set of static machines.

They're just there, doing their jobs; you don't really pay attention until something goes wrong. But your HVAC system needs regular maintenance to put out its best performance and extend its value. Without some TLC, a neglected heating and cooling system can suddenly become a big problem.

Some of the more common HVAC issues could be avoided by some relatively simple maintenance tasks. A dirty air filter can cause dirty air to flow quietly into your home, affecting your indoor air quality, putting the members of your home at risk for allergy attacks, headaches, chest pain, bronchitis, and other conditions. A dirty filter can also overwork your unit as it struggles with air flow and temperature demands.

The infographic below, published by Aqua Plumbing & Air, offers some savvy seasonal maintenance tips and issues to watch out for. In the spring, the warming up can create condensation. In summer, low refrigerant levels will affect cooling efficiency. In the fall, dead leaves piled around the outdoor condenser can lead to a damaged compressor or motor.

Come winter, you’ll want to make sure the system is completely healthy before facing the potentially harsh drops in temperature. Being aware of the challenges each season brings can help you keep your HVAC units in perfect health year round.