The modern heating and cooling, or HVAC system is a marvel of engineering that makes our lives more pleasant. Oddly enough, few homeowner’s actually think about their own systems until they need to make an adjustment to the temperature in their home. This is a mistake, as each system requires a certain amount of maintenance on a regular basis. If the system doesn’t receive this attention, it will eventually develop faults in its regular operation that result in inefficiency at best, and a break down in the worst case scenario.
What Maintenance Does My Home’s System Need?
Some homes have an HVAC system, others only need a furnace for cold winters, while others need just their air conditioner in the summers. Some homes rely on their energy efficient heat pump to keep comfortable. Each of these systems require a regular maintenance schedule to run consistently and efficiently.
Your Air Conditioner Maintenance Plan.
As many as two-thirds of all homes have an AC unit. The first step in air conditioner maintenance is probably not what you would expect. The first step is to have an AC unit that is an appropriate size for your space. An AC unit that is too small for the space will not be able to cool the area, and the system will work too hard in the process. A unit that is too large can be a hassle to install, and is not necessarily better.
The goal with AC maintenance checks is twofold: efficiency and cost savings. The regular steps of a checkup will help a unit perform smoothly. This also allows the technician to spot potential problems before they become big problems. All too often, big problems show themselves by causing the unit to breakdown after struggling to perform under pressure.
A technician will check that the unit has the correct amount of space away from blockages and debris. Then, they will open up the system to check fluid levels, clean the coils and fan blades, check the heat pump for efficiency, and check the belts for wear and tear. It is at this step that prevention of further problems comes into play.
Furnace Maintenance: Don’t Wait For a Breakdown.
The average furnace can last between 15 and 18 years. This presupposes that the furnace was properly taken care of, and installed correctly though. An improperly installed furnace can actually cause problems from the start, mainly in the form of inefficiency. A technician can double check if your unit is properly installed during maintenance.
Unlike air conditioners, furnaces only need to be serviced every other year during the first 10 years. As they get older, furnaces should be checked once a year. It is recommended that a furnace be checked in the fall before it begins heavy usage for the winter.
Most of the check up will involve cleaning up debris that may have accumulated. This includes dust, but also pet hair and other small debris that houses with people tend to generate. The check up will also include checking the heat pump for efficiency, which is why it is a good idea to have maintenance checks done before cold weather really sets in.
While heating and cooling systems are wonderfully convenient, it is absolutely necessary to ensure they are running smoothly. This is best achieved by applying a consistent maintenance schedule. You can choose to do these steps yourself, or to hire a professional technician to do the job for you. The goal is to firstly catch little problems before they become a big problem that shuts down your machine. The second is to ensure your unit continues to run efficiently.