It is difficult to imagine living in sweltering heat since air conditioning hit the scene more than a century ago. In 1902, the New York Stock Exchange was one of the first air-conditioned buildings and it’s easy to understand why. Cool air helps keeps people comfortable, stress lower, and energy higher.
Shortly after, in the 1920s, movie theatre operators realized they could get movie- goers to enjoy more summer movies if they used new technology to keep the theatres cool. Once air conditioning was introduced to movie theatres, it didn’t take long for patrons to start expecting cool and comfortable environments everywhere they went.
Since then, air conditioners bring comfort to most companies, small businesses, and modern homeowners. Today, central HVAC systems are expected in any home you buy. Most older homes are quickly updated to include air conditioning and furnace capabilities in order to stay marketable.
HVAC has become a part of American life, and it’s easy to understand why. When your unit isn’t working right, it’s instantly uncomfortable. Suddenly the air feels stuffy, stagnant, clammy or damp. Keeping your system running smoothly requires regular HVAC maintenance.
HVAC Preventative Maintenance
If you never got your oil changed or tires rotated, you’d end up with some pretty big car issues. The same goes for your HVAC system. The difference is, unless you go looking for it, you rarely see your HVAC up close. It can be easy to forget about until something goes wrong.
No matter what type of system you have, any HVAC system needs a regular tune-up. An HVAC unit with a fresh tune up provides instant benefits and prevents future problems. Some of the most beneficial aspects of HVAC maintenance include:
- Cost Savings: Although your thermostat might stay the same, keep a close eye on your energy bills. You might notice a change when a neglected system has to work harder to provide the same level of comfort. After a fresh tune-up, your HVAC system works more efficiently, which can reduce your energy bills.
- Prevention: Everything is fine until you have an AC breakdown in the middle of July or your heater goes out on Christmas morning. Calling for maintenance on a regular basis, or as soon as you notice a strange noise or odor can prevent catastrophic breakdowns later.
- Longevity: An HVAC system can last anywhere between 10-20 years as long as it is treated to professional maintenance on a regular basis. Regular HVAC maintenance and cleanings keep your entire system running smooth and can add years to the expected equipment lifespan.
- Safety: Your furnace and AC unit use dangerous components and systems to heat and cool your home. That’s why it’s important to have a professional take care of maintenance. Without it, you may be dealing with a cracked heat exchanger, carbon monoxide leaks, flooding, refrigerant on the floor, or a fire hazard.
Semi-Annual Professional Maintenance Checklist
Formal HVAC maintenance should be scheduled once in the spring and once in the fall. This ensures that your unit is ready for heavy use during peak usage times in winter and summer months.
While there are some things you can do yourself to maintain your system throughout the year, these semi-annual tune-ups are best left to the pros. They have the expertise and experience to complete efficient maintenance, but also notice, diagnose, and prevent future problems. Here’s what to expect at your semi-annual maintenance appointment:
- Calibrate the thermostat: A programmable thermostat that is correctly calibrated ensures that you are comfortable all year long. This also gives you the opportunity to update or replace your thermostat if necessary.
- Check connections: A certified technician measures voltage and current on the equipment to ensure it is running on a proper circuit and all connections are secure. This seems like a simple step, but it prevents possible dangerous situations caused by loose electrical or fuel line connections.
- Draining: All cooling equipment creates some type of condensation. If the pipe or collection pan is blocked, it can create overflow and serious water damage. Your HVAC technician can check for draining issues, and then proceed to take care of any that may exist.
- Cleaning: Several areas of the HVAC system require regular cleaning to ensure efficiency. The blower, evaporator, and condenser coils all need to be cleaned. Over time, clogged and dirty parts have to work harder. A simple cleaning can lower your energy bills and prolong equipment life.
The truth is, what you don’t know can hurt you. HVAC units are highly technical. The unit uses a large amount of voltage electricity. It’s best to stay away from these components if you don’t have the proper training or safety gear. If you know your system needs a fix, find a contractor in your area and we’ll get the job done for you.