Planned maintenance is a great way to keep your furnace and air conditioning systems working at their best every year. Manufacturers recommend routine annual maintenance to help maintain your system. While most people recognize the importance of routine maintenance for their car, they don’t think of their HVAC system that way. Many people don’t understand how important maintenance is for their furnace or air conditioner. So here are 3 major reasons to sign up for an annual maintenance plan.
There are all types of ways to help make sure your family and property are safe. Having a maintenance plan for your HVAC system is one of them that few people think about.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas furnaces, a very common way to heat homes in the Charlotte metro area, can also be dangerous. Natural gas combustion creates carbon monoxide, a deadly poisonous gas. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, you may not know you have a problem until it is too late. Heating systems are the 2nd leading cause of non-fire carbon monoxide deaths in the United States (Consumer Product Safety Commission). In 2013, there were 43 heating-system-related deaths from carbon monoxide in the United States. The highest percentage came from our local area, the South Atlantic Region.
Fire Risk from Poorly Maintained Systems
Poorly maintained systems are the largest contributors to HVAC equipment failure that we see. They are also a major cause of heating and cooling related fires. Based on statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, Central heating and cooling system fires cause an estimated $127 million in property damage each year in the United States.
Central heating systems, such as gas furnaces, are the cause of nearly 7,000 fires, 20 deaths and 80 injuries each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Mechanical problems, electrical problems or a dirty system were the cause of 80% of these fires.
Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps cause about 2,000 fires each year in the United States. Mechanical and electrical failures were also the leading causes of air conditioner fires.
How an HVAC Maintenance Plan Makes Your Home Safer
You can eliminate many of the safety risks by having annual maintenance done on your heating and cooling units. When one of our qualified technicians arrives at your home to complete a seasonal maintenance visit, his only responsibility is to make sure everything is in working order. We have a 21-point maintenance inspection, where we check over the mechanical and electrical parts of your system. In addition, we perform a safety inspection, which looks for things like cracks in the heat exchanger or other problems that could lead to fire or carbon monoxide getting into your home. We can also perform routine cleaning on coils or burners when it is needed. These maintenance steps allow us to spot potential problems with the system before they lead to dangerous situations.
2. Prevent Inconvenient Breakdowns
The two most common times for system breakdowns are:
- At the start of the heating or cooling season
- When temperatures at extremely hot or cold, especially if it lasts several days
We see early season breakdowns a lot because the furnace or air conditioner has been sitting dormant for months, during which time things happen. Your thinking that if it worked when you started it up several months ago, it should work fine again this season…but it doesn’t work that way. Things break or don’t work right after being stored all the time. Think about that car you left at the airport that wouldn’t start several days later. Or the strand of Christmas lights that you wound so carefully, but when you got it back out it was tangled and you had to replace several bulbs.
When the weather becomes extreme, your furnace or air conditioner has to work really hard. When that happens, little things that didn’t stop it from operating earlier suddenly go very wrong.
How Seasonal Maintenance Can Help
When our technician visits for your seasonal maintenance, he’ll look at a lot of small things that could cause the system to fail when it is started up. Little adjustments can make a big difference in performance. A loose wire might work today, but not tomorrow. By doing a 21-point maintenance check on your air conditioner or furnace, we’re able to correct the little things and find signs of any bigger problems. If we do spot something that needs work, we’ll be able to get it fixed when the weather is more mild in the early spring or early fall. That way, your system should be operating in tip-top condition as it enters the season and takes on the toughest temperature challenges that year.
3. Save Energy and Money
The US Department of Energy has studied furnace life and how aging impacts efficiency. They found that when maintained, even 20-year-old furnaces could still be as efficient as when they were installed. But to maintain that efficiency they recommend using a qualified technician to “maintain the initial settings by checking the input rate and fan speed and cleaning coils and replacing dirty filters as necessary”. Our estimates are that you can save up to 30% on your energy bills when your system is running at its most efficient.
In addition, there is nothing that kills a system faster than running dirty and out of balance. Since we’ll be checking your system and recommending any changes that will improve its operation, it should be running a lot smoother than if no maintenance was being done. Our estimate is that this can extend the life of your furnace or air conditioner by as much as 40%. Not having to replace these systems as often can be a serious money saver.