How Scheduling Spring HVAC Maintenance Saves Money
Maintenance is a dreaded word for most people, kind of like chores. You know it is something you should do, but you question if it is really worth the time, effort, and money.
This is common, and just like chores, sometimes that maintenance slips until you start really noticing it needs some attention. You may notice an odd noise coming from your system, or maybe you notice the air does not seem to be coming out of your vents as strongly. Perhaps you are running your furnace or air conditioner and realize the air does not feel that much different than the room temperature.
All of these are signs your system is going to need attention, and probably more than just a little maintenance at that point. Performing regular maintenance allows your system to run quietly in the background, keeping your space comfortable.
How Does Maintenance Save Money?
How exactly does regular maintenance help save money? There are three areas you are going to see these savings: your energy bill, repair costs, and the service life of your system.
When you maintain your system, you help it run at its peak efficiency. That means each of your cycles will be shorter, and there will more time between those cycles. Your system then requires less energy to help you achieve the temperature you desire. This reduces your energy bill. Some estimates suggest you can decrease your energy costs by up to 20% just by maintaining your system.
Regular maintenance also reduces repair bills. One of the goals of a maintenance visit is to reduce the stress on the components throughout the system, meaning they will last longer. Another goal is to identify components that are nearing the end of their service life or are damaged. This allows you to replace them before they create stress on the rest of the system, causing more damage. It also means you are less likely to pay premium service rates for emergency repair services.
Finally, regular maintenance extends the service life of your entire system. Consider that the average furnace will last at least 15 years. However, when the system has to strain to do its job, that cuts the life of the entire system. When you perform regular maintenance on your system, you can expect it will last much longer. This means when you do have to replace an air conditioner or a furnace, the average cost per year is much lower.
So what does a professional HVAC technician do during a maintenance call? Different companies include different things during their visits, so as you consider your options, be sure to compare the details. The NATE certified technicians at Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces use the following as a rough guide for each maintenance visit.
Step 1: Cleaning
Dust and other contaminants clog an HVAC system over time, even when you change your filters regularly. The common components that collect dust are the heat exchanger, air conditioning condenser coil, and the circulating fan.
When these areas get clogged, it restricts the airflow through the system. This restriction shows up in reduced air coming through the vents. Clogged heat exchangers and condenser coils increase operational stress. This means additional strain and damage throughout the system. Simply cleaning these components will reduce your energy bill and increase the life of the entire system.
A technician should clean each of these during a maintenance visit. Most homeowners are not able to easily access these components for cleaning. Even if they can, untrained hands can cause damage to the system and bodily harm to themselves.
The Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces team goes above and beyond the basic cleaning. During our visits, we also:
- Clean burners
- Vacuum combustion flues
- Clean pilot assemblies
Step 2: Inspection
When you identify a small problem, you can repair it before it becomes a major expense. This is why the inspection is of such critical importance to regular maintenance. The components that are cleaned are also easy to inspect. However, that is not nearly all of what should receive attention.
The entire electrical system should be inspected to ensure there are no signs of visible damage or wear. This is an easy way to catch issues like shorts before they become big problems, potentially as serious as house fires.
The evaporator coil sits inside your home, and can be damaged in multiple ways. This part is especially important to inspect for any signs of leaking. Should this start leaking, you are releasing the refrigerant into the air in your home, which is a significant health risk.
In addition to the indoor coil, the entire outdoor air conditioning unit needs regular inspection. Being outside makes it subject to the elements and can become damaged by storms and extreme temperature changes. You want to be sure to catch damage and fix it quickly, so you do not release refrigerant.
Inspecting heat exchangers, burners, flues, and draft diverters ensures that you do not end up without heat. It also ensures you do not inadvertently release carbon monoxide into your home while your furnace is running. As you can see, the inspection is critically important.
Step 3: Testing
Visual inspections catch some obvious signs of wear. Actual testing ensures you have data that lets you know how well the components are working.
Obvious testing includes activating both the heat and air conditioning. During this check, you are ensuring all of the components are activating correctly. However, it should go well beyond that simple test.
All electrical components should also be tested. This includes motors, capacitors, and relays. Simple testing on each of these can show you when signals are not passing through correctly, and help catch bad components before they completely fail.
Leak testing and hazardous gas testing are also a critical safety step. Techs should test for any possible gas leaks near the furnace. Even if a leak is not obvious, even a small leak can be hazardous. Carbon monoxide is also a very real safety concern and can be caught early before posing a major health risk.
Step 4: Lubrication and Tightening
The final step should be setting the system up to run for the season. An HVAC system has a lot of vibration to it as it moves air through the system, so things tend to loosen over time. You want to be sure all moving parts are properly lubricated so they move freely. You also want to tighten any electrical connections that may have loosened to ensure signals are passing properly.
Award-Winning HVAC Specialists
Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces has served the Dallas-Fort Worth area for nearly 20 years. Our commitment to keeping our clients happy and providing quality solutions has earned us the prestigious Angie’s List Super Service Award for the last 10 years in addition to an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Our team provides expert installation, repair, and maintenance services for full heating and cooling systems. We also offer flexible options for indoor air quality control. Call to schedule any of our maintenance, repair, or installation services today!