The level of service you need on your HVAC system is going to partly be determined by how old the equipment is. Just like an older car, old heating and cooling equipment is more likely to break down. Younger equipment shouldn’t be neglected though. A properly maintained heating and cooling system will last longer, save money through lower utility bills, and breakdown less. Air conditioning and heating equipment is mechanical machinery just like your car and requires maintenance. If you don’t regularly change the oil in your car you won’t notice a problem until the engine burns up! The price of an oil change is much less than a new engine. The same is true with your air conditioning system. You may not notice the small problems in the short-term but they will always catch up with you it will cost a whole lot more to wait.
Recommended HVAC Maintenance 2 Times a Year
Taking care of an air conditioner and furnace is lot like taking care of your teeth. If you follow dental recommendations, you show up at the dentist’s office 2 times a year to have your teeth cleaned and checked for problems. The hygienist removes grime from your teeth and cleans them up with some special tools. And the dentist will check to make sure that you don’t have any cavities or other problems forming in your mouth.
Your HVAC system can benefit from these same type of services. Just like visiting the dentist, 2 times a year is normally the right frequency, although for different reasons. Planned maintenance twice a year is split between your Air Conditioning unit in the spring and your furnace in the fall. If you have a heat pump, then it gets the twice-a-year treatment because it just keeps running all year long.
Your AC or Furnace needs a cleaning, just like your teeth. This removes dust and dirt on coils and burners that prevent the system from working as efficiently as it is supposed to. Checking things like freon, electrical components, coils, and moving parts are necessary to maximize equipment life, prevent excessive electrical consumption, and minimize system failures. Regular checkups can also make sure that your HVAC equipment is operating safely and isn’t leaking carbon monoxide into your home.
Can I do Any of this Maintenance Myself?
It really depends on how much you feel comfortable. These are things you can do without any specialized training or equipment.
• Change air filters monthly.
• Keep shrubbery and landscaping away from your outdoor equipment.
• Do not allow lawn sprinkling systems to continually spray water on your equipment.
• Keep debris from lawn mowing out of our condenser coil by turning your A/C off when mowing the lawn.
• If you have an electrical disconnect box on your outdoor unit, you can disconnect the power and wash the condenser coil with a water hose to remove any dirt and debris.
• Clean the coil and cabinet.
• Check the condensate drain and flush and clean drain lines.
• Review your energy bills to make sure they are not rising unexpectedly.
What is Best Left to Professionals?
Our professional technicians have a 21-point service checklist they use to make sure your systems are running right when we do a maintenance visit. Many other reputable HVAC companies around the country provide similar system maintenance. These are items that sometimes require expert knowledge of the system, which homeowners don’t have. We’ll probably also be a lot more efficient than you at cleaning the outdoor coil and flushing and cleaning drain lines because we do it so often. You’ll probably feel a lot better about your heating system if you know it has been inspected by a professional.
One thing we highly recommend you call us to have serviced is the evaporator coil. Accessibility to evaporator coils vary. Many air conditioning systems in our area have coils located in the attic or crawl space and installed in an upflow or horizontal position. The evaporator coil catches everything that the filter system does not. A clean evaporator coil is vital to the proper operation of cooling system or heat pump. But, it is often hard to access and much be treated delicately to avoid damage.
A regular maintenance inspection will also turn up things like loose electrical connections that can shut down your system suddenly, even though the equipment is just fine. A simple twist of the screwdriver could save you hours without air or heat.
Maintenance Plans Make This Simple
One of the main reasons we remember to keep going back to the dentist every six months is that dentists are good at scheduling your next appointment. When you sign up for an annual maintenance agreement with us, we automatically schedule you each spring and fall. That way you don’t forget to have the A/C serviced until it breaks down in July! The good news is that the cost of this maintenance service can pay for itself with reduced electrical consumption, lower utility bills and fewer expensive equipment failures. There are no guarantees that you won’t experience a failure of your HVAC system, but lack of regular maintenance is the number one reason we get called for equipment failure.