Maintenance for your HVAC system
The Importance Of A Maintenance For Your HVAC System
Home HVAC systems are among the biggest expense faced by homeowners, and it’s important to protect that investment through preventive maintenance.
Getting yearly preventive maintenances on your HVAC system will not only ensure that the equipment is operating at maximum efficiency, but it will also extend the life of your equipment. Regular tune-ups of your heating and cooling system will save you money in the long run by reducing your energy costs. High efficiency equipment on the market now can cut electric bills significantly - but only if they are properly maintained.
When a trained service technician comes to your home to perform the maintenance check, they will do several things, including:
Ensuring the fan is working correctly
Cleaning the coils
Checking (or possibly changing) the air filter
Cleaning drain lines
Checking the refrigerant level
Checking for leaks in the heat exchanger
Clean and straighten condenser coils to ensure proper air flow
Check gas connections for leaks
Tighten all electrical connections
Lubricate all moving parts
Test thermostat to make sure it’s cycling the system on and off properly
Check the flame sensor and burner assembly
Test all levels: voltage (hi or lo), gas valve and its pressure and amp draw
Test resistance on components
Look over the blower assembly
Manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment require annual preventive maintenance on their units to maintain the warranty. If you are not keeping up on those annual maintenances, you could lose your warranty from the factory and end up paying more than you expected.
Many companies offer service contracts that will include a visit in the spring to tune up the air conditioning system and a visit in the fall to prepare the heating system for winter. When you sign a maintenance agreement, you also receive discounts on repairs, after hour fees and the purchase of new equipment.
Steps That Will Prolong Your HVAC's Life
Replacing the filters on your unit:
We recommend that filters be changed every 2-4 months. Check your filter monthly to see if it is dirty or clogged. By doing this, you can have a better idea of how often they will need to be changed out; and when it’s allergy season or you have a few pets in your home, you may consider replacing your filters more often.
We recommend picking a filter rated MERV 8-13. Anything more will reduce the airflow which can put an unnecessary strain on your system which can negatively affect its efficiency. If you or a family member have allergies, it’s good to use a higher MERV rating or an Electronic air filter. These filters will help the most to purify the air in your home and keep bacteria, mold and airborne contaminates to a minimum.
One of the most evident reasons for repairs is a dirty air filter. Changing the filter is one of the more straightforward ways of doing HVAC maintenance, for yourself, to improve the air conditioner’s efficiency, reduce energy costs of heating the home, and decrease the likelihood of needing repairs.
Types of filters:
Disposable filters keep your system clean and take out the large particles from your indoor air.
Reusable filters can be cleaned gently with a soft cloth, mild soap, and water. It’s a good idea to give it a good wash and run air over it. If it looks dirtier than usual, then replace it.
The new high-efficiency pleated filters have material that works like a magnet to grab the tiniest particles — even those that carry bacteria.
Often ductless systems require that filters be cleaned once a month and if you have an Electronic Air Cleaner (EAC), they require to be cleaned monthly as well.
Helpful Tip: The Indoor Coil can freeze if the filter gets too dirty, and when it thaws, it can cause water damage.
Keeping the Outdoor Unit Clear:
Make sure there's at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps (about 2 feet on all sides). You can trim any bushes or trees, so your unit has plenty of clearance. Keep a close eye out if you have bushes or trees that give off excessive pollen, such as Cottonwood trees because they are notorious for clogging up condensing units.
Remove debris from unit:
Outdoor air conditioners and heat pumps can get notably dirty, causing the system to work harder to create the necessary cold and warm air you want in your home. Cleaning your outdoor units can reduce the likelihood of damage to any internal components.
The metal fins on the condensing unit frequently get clogged up with leaves, twigs, dirt, pollen, and grime. You want to make sure, each season, to spray the outside of the unit with a water hose to clean it so they don’t interfere with the air flow of your outdoor unit.
Warning: Do not us a pressure washer because it will permanently damage your unit. Also be aware of grass clippings, you do not want those getting into your outdoor units. Use your garden hose on the fins, making sure that you get in-between the crevices to get all the gunk out.
Make sure unit is level:
Annually, ensure that the outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps are on firm and level ground or pads. If lopsided, the compressor will not get even lubrication and can cause failure of the bearings. This could case an increased risk of breaking down as a result.
Stave off clogs:
AC maintenances also include a flush of the air-conditioner condensate drain to prevent buildup of mold and algae, which can cause a clog. A clogged drain line is one of the most common issues during the spring and summer. It usually results in water leaking from the coil that can cause damage to property or the system itself. Check your evaporator coil’s drainpipe and drain pan as well. If you are unsure where your drainpipe is, have your service technician show you where to find it when they come out to do your maintenance.
Why do they get clogged? An air conditioner, along with cooling, also takes out the moisture from the air. This moisture then accumulates within the drain lines of the air conditioner and is directed outside. Over time, with the accumulation of dirt and dust, the drain lines can become clogged and even be a home for algae and mold.
Call in a professional for regular maintenance:
We recommend having a licensed professional come out and perform preventative maintenance once a year, and twice a year if you have cooling and heating.
When should you get your maintenances done?
Spring is a good time to service air conditioning equipment because the weather is warmer and the unit can be tested properly. In the fall, service for heating equipment is recommended because the weather is cooler and your furnace can be tested properly at those lower temperatures. The technician will be able to catch any problems before they become a major inconvenience.
Getting your HVAC serviced means that the components will be cleaned and inspected, and working at their optimal best, preventing costly energy bills; not to mention expensive, unexpected repair bills.
Here are a couple other things you can do to help keep your system running properly:
· Make sure you replace the batteries in your home’s carbon monoxide detector annually
· Inspect insulation, monthly, on refrigerant lines leading into the house. Replace if they are missing or damaged.
· Never close more than 20% of your home’s registers, this can cause unnecessary strain on your HVAC system.
Final Thoughts on Preventing HVAC Repair Costs
Scheduling routine preventative maintenances and following through on correcting minor problems can ensure that major components stand a better chance against failure. A well-maintained unit will have less severe problems, meaning less hassle and unnecessary costs. All systems are prone to issues that are unpredictable, but most things a maintenance offers can keep breakdowns to a minimum.
Don’t wait until winter storms or hot summers to hit to ensure that your home HVAC system is in good working order. A little effort now will prevent a significant hassle during a mid-January cold-snap or the scorching days in July.
To lessen the burden and guarantee everything is adequately maintained, consider hiring skilled technicians to handle your HVAC inspection and maintenance.