Your HVAC system is a critical part of your everyday comfort at home. Keeping it in top working order will increase not only maintain its efficiency but reduce your energy bills and help prevent expensive, inconvenient breakdowns. Here are some of the most common questions homeowners have about maintaining their HVAC systems.
Short answer: yes. Remember that your system cycles on and off many times a day. Each of those cycles involves a number of electronic and mechanical parts. After several years of service, those parts will become less efficient and wear out.
Regular maintenance buys extra life for those parts and reduces issues caused by loose or dusty components. Worn or failing parts can be replaced before they quit completely. By heading off these breakdowns, the maintenance visit will keep you from going into extreme weather without climate control.
Bottom line: Maintaining your HVAC system will save you money every month by helping itconsume less energy, and it will be less likely to suffer a breakdown that requires a heater or air conditioner repair.
A good rule of thumb is that each part of the system should be checked once a year, ideally just before its busy season. In other words, you should have your air conditioner serviced every spring and your heater serviced every fall. Schedule your inspection before extreme temperatures are expected; once a heatwave or a cold snap hits, there will be a spike in service calls, delaying your maintenance inspection.
Keep in mind that those are general guidelines. If you live near a dusty area like a construction site, you may need more frequent service. Older systems might also need a checkup mid-season just to keep a closer eye on their aging components. Start with an annual schedule, then go from there.
The most important step for homeowners is to change filters regularly. Depending on the type, they may need to be replaced monthly or a couple of times a year. Either way, stick to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Dirty filters make the fan work harder to force air through the system, creating unnecessary wear and tear and extra energy use.
It's also a good idea to keep plants and other obstructions away from the condenser (the outdoor unit). Make sure that all registers and vents in the house are unobstructed as well. Easy air movement makes less work for the system. If you are able to access ducts, check them for loose connections, gaps, or other openings that could be letting your conditioned air escape into the crawlspace or attic.
Some homeowners and even some HVAC contractors use these terms interchangeably, but at Choice Air Care, there is a difference between a tune-up and an inspection. Inspections involve a review of the system to make sure that everything is in working order. The technician will also check for any safety issues, such as a crack in the heat exchanger, and will have the opportunity to perform any preventative maintenance or repairs after consulting with the homeowner on their findings.
A tune-up is more involved. The technicians will pull motors for inspection and go deeper into the system to make sure that it is truly ready to perform effectively and efficiently in the coming weather. This is a more time-consuming and more expensive service, but it is often justified with older systems or those that have had problems previously.
Heating and cooling systems need regular maintenance. No matter how many months or years they may have soldiered on with no help, they are better off with regular service. Planning ahead and getting a service call made ahead of extreme weather can reduce energy consumption and improve the chances that your system will continue to operate without any interruptions.
For reliable heating and air conditioning services contact Choice Air Care online or call us at (972) 332-3927.