Homeowners often pay little mind to their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system unless there’s a major catastrophe. No cool air during a sweltering summer or subzero-like temperatures during winter are those moments. But, shouldn’t you service your HVAC system frequently?
Isn’t there routine maintenance to extend the life cycle of your HVAC systems?
The Importance of Routine HVAC Maintenance
HVAC systems are pricey depending on its required coverage. This amounts to costs upwards of $3,000 (or more) for a home’s HVAC system. That’s a price you can’t afford every 5-12 years. So, doesn’t it make sense to maintain the unit vs replacing?
Here’s why maintenance matters:
- Upkeep – Routine maintenance fixes small problems before they become major failures. Catching these problems early can mean the difference in a quick part swap vs investing in a new unit. Think of this the same as you would be making regular home repairs.
- Safety – Electrical and coolant problems are two common issues with older HVAC units. Fixing these issues could prevent dangerous safety concerns like exposed wires. Or, stopping a refrigerant leak which further damages the unit and could cause bodily harm if inhaled.
- Savings – A well-maintained unit continues operating at full efficiency. This means better cooling and heating from the unit. And, this may help identify problem areas such as with damaged ducts and ventilation within the confines of your home.
In all, regular HVAC maintenance extends the life of the unit. This keeps costs down by spreading repairs throughout its life cycle instead of during catastrophic moments.
What You Can Do: Easy HVAC Fixes and Maintenance Routines
One Hour Heating and Air recommends you leave difficult and dangerous maintenance & repairs to the professionals. This would include servicing bigger, industrial units. Or, when it’s necessary to get into the “guts” of the unit and really get your hands dirty with the moving parts.
There are several, easy items you can maintain on your own without knowing much about HVAC – like:
- Filters – Start with the simplest by replacing the air filter monthly to maximize airflow and air quality. Mark the routine on your calendar or set alerts since it’s easy to forget.
- Clearing – The HVAC unit draws air from its surroundings. The unit also needs space to cool. Reduce the unit’s stress by clearing around the area. This includes removing shrubs, debris buildup, and anything else obstructing the unit’s airflow.
- Wash It – Take a hose and blast the unit with a heavy stream of water. This removes dirt and debris gunked up in the unit’s crevices and helps it operate efficiently.
- Drainage – Set a reminder and check the condensation drain frequently. The cool, moist air condenses to water droplets in this area and could become blocked. Blockage spills over and leads to damaged home materials.
- Thermostat – Review your manual and cycle through the system checking that the thermostat functions properly. This is a great time to test the emergency response, too.
- Registers – Have you closed a couple floor or ceiling registers to blast air to specific rooms? If so, reduce how many you have closed since this can cause unnecessary strain to the unit.
These you should manage, right? Of course! They’re not difficult and do just enough to extend the life of your HVAC unit. Plus, you benefit from savings which you could set aside for future fixes.
What if there’s something truly wrong with the system?
When to Call the Professionals
When you suspect an electrical or parts problem, then it’s likely time to call the professionals. Repairing a heavily damaged or outdated HVAC unit can get costly if you’ve let it go too far along. Some professional services include a trade-in value of your old unit giving further incentive to dial it in.
There are other bonuses to getting it swapped:
- Better energy efficiency and lower operational costs
- Earn a nonbusiness energy property tax credit
- Improve the air quality and area coverage
- Help the environment by using less energy
The cost of a new unit is well worth the investment after you’ve got everything from the previous. You can’t put a price on in-home comfort, right? Do what you can to keep your HVAC going. And, know when the time is right to call professionals.