Prevent costly HVAC repairs with these 6 must-know maintenance tips
Whether in winter or summer, we all need to use our HVAC. Sadly it often occurs that your HVAC fails when you need it most. So, now is the time to prevent costly HVAC repairs with these 6 must-know tips.
Switching from the air conditioner to the furnace places a colossal strain on your home’s HVAC system. Even if the air conditioner operates smoothly over the summer and the unit turns on when you switch to heat, the HVAC may not be performing to its full capacity, which results in higher energy bills and worse, causing the system to fail and burdening households with costly HVAC repairs.
Replacing HVAC systems is horrifically expensive, so it is imperative that homeowners and households adopt these 6 must-know tips for preventing costly HVAC repairs.
- Why HVAC maintenance is critical
- Cost of replacing HVAC systems altogether
- 6 top tips to prevent costly HVAC repairs
Why is HVAC maintenance critical?
When people invest in an HVAC system, they fail to maintain it’s proper upkeep. An HVAC system is like a car – it needs proper care and maintenance to function correctly. A properly working HVAC system is one that will keep your home snug or cool for several years to come, hence why HVAC maintenance is essential.
Lower Utility Bills
Reducing utility bills is one of the main reasons households should maintain their HVAC units. An HVAC unit that is operating efficiently, plus a home that is correctly insulated will result in less money spent on electricity, heating and cooling costs. HVAC maintenance is also essential to prevent the need for major repairs or complete replacements.
An adequately repaired HVAC unit will not only keep a home cozy or fresh, but it will limit problems with air quality. Cleaner filters and coils equate to better breathing for an entire household. Unmaintained HVAC units are a magnet for dirt, mold, and bacteria and a plethora of other pathogens, all causing or worsening respiratory problems for those living in the home.
The better households maintain their HVAC units, the longer-lasting that unit will be able to perform better when cooling or heating the home. Considering the astronomical amounts people spend on installing HVAC units, it makes sense they would want to keep that unit operating in tip-top shape for many years.
It’s clear that a more efficient HVAC system will cost less to run. Dirty or unmaintained units require twenty percent more energy to generate the same level of cooling or heating as a perfectly maintained AC unit.
Less energy, and subsequently less stress on the unit’s components and thus reduce its wear and tear. Unit maintenance will be much faster and more straightforward if a person takes preventive measures to keep a system running in tip-top shape.
Fewer Emergency Repairs
Sadly, it’s a fact that HVAC units will require emergency repairs from time to time. The superior-maintained units are less likely to breakdown during the months of sustained use, namely the summer months from June through September and the colder winter months from December to March. Keeping your AC unit up to date will regular inspections, and maintenance will remove the worry that your HVAC will break down during the months you need it most.
Costs of replacing HVAC units in the USA
Households who neglect to adhere to monthly HVAC maintenance will see a higher probability that the system will fail. If so, then they will need to replace their furnace, air conditioner or heat pump.
If this happens, then households will need to cough up anywhere between $8,000 to $15,000+ should they need to replace their units. While that price can seem steep for many homeowners, the actual cost is dependent on:
- The size of the units
- The efficiency levels of the units
- The features/technology you choose
- The contractor chosen for installation
Furnaces typically last much longer than AC units, meaning, that if a household initially had these two units installed simultaneously and the AC is failing, it’s very likely that you don’t need to renew the furnace for another five or more years.
The best way to consider that the AC and furnace are like conjoined twins; they each have their separate compartments, yet both utilize the indoor units (blower motor).
Thus, if households spend additional funds on upgrading their existing AC yet leave the furnace and blower motor as they are, instantly you are wasting money since the AC is really only half-upgraded and won’t work as efficiently as it’s originally designed to.
The tip here is that if you are required to upgrade to an AC unit with a SEER over a 16 rating, then it is best to update the furnace at the same time.
Good to know…
- SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is a rating from 13 to 21+ that measures how an AC unit’s efficiency is. The bigger the score, the more efficient the AC unit is at cooling your home and reducing your energy bills.
- AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is a percentage ranging from 80% to 100% that measures a furnace’s efficiency. The increase in the percentage number equates to how efficient the furnace works and reduces households energy bills.
6 must-know tips to prevent costly HVAC repairs
1# Clean the Condenser or Heat Pump
Outdoor air conditioners and heat pumps can get notably dirty, causing the system to work harder to create the necessary cold and warm air you want in your home.
Cleaning condenser’s and heat pumps reduce the likelihood of damage to any internal components. It is vital that households ensure that there is no debris on the top and sides of their outdoor air-conditioning pumps and units.
There should be a 2-foot clearance around outdoor heat pumps and air conditioning units. Households who frequently check and clean leaves, pollen, and twigs from the unit will see a rapid improvement in AC efficiently.
To make sure that your A/C is running well, you need to tend to the condenser unit, located outside. As a first step, ensure that no grass, bushes or branches are growing too close to the unit.
While you are in there, clean the A/C coils from the inside of the unit, finishing on the outside.
Use your garden hose on the fins, making sure that you get in-between the crevices to get all the gunk out.
Also, double check that your unit is level. If it is lopsided, the refrigerants that are so important in helping your A/C work well will be disjointed. Your condenser could be at an increased risk of breaking down as a result.
2# Check the Filter
One of the most obvious reasons for furnace repair is a dirty air filter. Changing the filter is one of the more straightforward ways of doing HVAC maintenance to improve the efficiency of the furnace, reduce energy costs of heating the home and decreasing the likelihood of needing repairs.
The filter should be checked monthly to ensure it isn’t dirty or clogged and cleaning it in the process. As for changing the filter, about once every three months should suffice. If it looks dirtier than usual, then replace it at once especially if your households have pets.
One of the most common needs for HVAC repairs is a dirty air filter causing operating problems. The AC filter can freeze if it is too dirty and then thaw, causing water damage.
If you have a reusable filter, then clean it gently with a soft cloth and some mild soap and water.
If it’s not reusable, head to the store, and if you or your family have allergies, it’s a good idea to get a HEPA or hypoallergenic filter, which will help the most to purify the air.
3# Regular or annual professional check-ups
A check-up comprises an on-site visit from an HVAC technician who will examine the HVAC system and ensure it is operating at optimum performance. Depending on the technician involved, the inspection may include doing any of the following:
- ensuring the fan is working correctly
- cleaning the coils
- checking (or possibly changing) the air filter
- cleaning drain lines
- checking the refrigerant level
- checking for leaks in the heat exchanger
A check-up can be a one-time event, or it can be provided yearly as part of a regularly scheduled maintenance.
A professional check-up only needs to be completed once a year, and aids households in ensuring that their HVAC does not break down when they need it most, during the high summer and winter months.
Getting your HVAC serviced means that all the components will be cleaned and inspected, and working at their optimal best, preventing costly energy bills not to mention expensive, unexpected repair bills.
4# Schedule a Ductwork Inspection
For homes that have ductwork, they should have it inspected every few years for kinds of blockages. Over time, ducts accumulate a thick layer of debris and grunge that prevents air flow, burdens the HVAC components and overall weakens the HVAC system. Furthermore, ducts can harbor microbes, dander, pathogens, dust, pests and dust mites or generate leaks through which treated air escapes.
Duct cleaning can vastly improve indoor air quality and preserve the longevity of your HVAC and keep it healthy by supporting the free-flow of conditioned air. Duct sealing, for example, can save households by stopping treated air leaking out and money leaking from your bank account.
5# Control the Thermostat
One of the most straightforward ways to reduce expenditure on your heating bill is by controlling the thermostat. If you notice the house doesn’t become warm regardless of how high the temperature has been set, it could be down to a faulty thermostat. A programmable thermostat is an excellent option because it permits households to adjust the settings according to when they need the correct temperature.
For example, it can be programmed to automatically decrease the temperature while you are sleeping and raise it just before you start your day. Typically programmable thermostats are pre-programmed for the average household, so it’s essential that you take a look at the settings on your programmable thermostat and adjust it to your home requirements.
If your thermostat is not doing what you want it to do, then you can steps to remedy the situation before some serious repairs to the HVAC components are required.
6# Get a smart AC controller & thermostat
By connecting the HVAC unit into an intelligent AC controller and thermostat, homeowners can turn it off or on using Alexa or Google Home. Smart controllers and smart thermostats have an app that users can use to control and operate their air conditioning within their home.
By doing this, households can detect at once when the temperature is not right, and their HVAC is not operating at an optimal rate.
Furthermore, with geo-fencing users can activate and deactivate their HVAC systems dependent one when they are approaching or leaving home, meaning that the HVAC shuts down when nobody is in the house. Unlike programmable thermostats that need setting, geo-fencing ones do not. The result – less HVAC use, lower energy costs, and critically, less burden on heating or cooling a home and thus preventing costly HVAC repairs.
For many obvious reasons, HVAC maintenance is essential. Scheduling routine examinations and following through on correcting minor problems will ensure households enjoy the luxury of a system without the concern of it failing. A well-maintained unit will have less severe problems, meaning less hassle and unnecessary costs.
Don’t wait until winter storms or sweaty summers to hit to make sure that your home HVAC is in good, working order. A little effort now will prevent a significant hassle amid a mid-January snowstorm or a Fourth of July sweltering day.
To lessen the burden and guarantee everything is adequately maintained, consider hiring skilled technicians to handle the inspection and maintenance of your HVAC. Furthermore, consider backing up this up with regular cleaning and smart devices to reduce the burden on your system and save your thousands of dollars in the process.