Is your bi-annual HVAC system maintenance
scheduled? You might shrug this off, but it's more important than you think. Call West County Heating and Cooling
for your seasonal preventative maintenance needs! Once you learn the ins and outs of HVAC system maintenance, you'll never put it off again.
Why is it so important? The purpose of preventative maintenance is to keep your HVAC system running all season long without surprise breakdowns, and operating at top efficiency. You rarely spend time looking at, cleaning or inspecting your HVAC system, so it's easy to forget about it and neglect it. If you didn't get your cars oil changed, didn't get tune ups or pay attention to the warning lights, you wouldn't expect it to last more than a couple of years. The same goes for your HVAC system.
No matter how expensive the system is, what kind of warranty you have or what the manufacturer promises, an HVAC system is a complicated piece of mechanical equipment with lots of moving parts. So the equipment is subject to breakdowns especially if it's not maintained and serviced regularly.
What can you expect from your tuned-up HVAC system? Is the cost of a preventative maintenance agreement really worth it? You should consider that some benefits of regular maintenance are immediate and some that help to prevent future problems from developing. Some of the most important benefits include:
- Lower energy bills: You might assume that since the equipment is heating or cooling your home without any problems that everything is good-to-go. But have you looked at your energy bills lately? Have you noticed a gradual increase in your bills? A neglected HVAC system slowly loses its ability to keep your home comfortable with the same efficiency it did. HVAC systems consume less energy after receiving maintenance, just like a car gets better gas mileage after a tune up.
- Fewer repairs and breakdowns: Calling for a tune-up could help catch problems before they become bigger or you lose heating or cooling during the wrong time of the year. For example, a fraying belt could result in strange operating noises. If a technician notices the fraying belt before it breaks, you can avoid the expensive repair from a snapped belt whipping around inside the system. It's incredibly inconvenient and uncomfortable when equipment breaks down on a 100+ degree summer afternoon or frigid winter night - when you need your HVAC system most – maintenance greatly diminishes the chances of this happening.
- Longer life: Air conditioners, furnaces and other HVAC equipment perform better when it's regularly serviced and cleaned. One bad part can cause a domino effect that causes the entire system to malfunction or quit working. Regular maintenance can prevent problems and add years of life to your unit.
- Safety: A failing HVAC system can endanger your family. If the furnace develops a crack in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide gas escapes and poisons the air you breathe. An electric HVAC system can develop a short circuit, becoming a fire hazard if ignored. Your family's safety is worth the annual fee for a preventive maintenance agreement.
What can I do myself? Schedule the preventive maintenance agreement so that your HVAC system is maintained by a skilled technician twice a year. You can also take care of the simple DIY tasks that help maintain your equipment in between tune-ups.
- Change the filters every month. Keep an eye on the indicator light that alerts you when the filter is clogged and blocking airflow.
- Remove debris from around the outdoor unit.
- Hose down the outdoor unit when dirt begins to accumulate on it.
- Trim back foliage to at least 18 inches from the outdoor unit.
- Keep supply and return registers unblocked by drapes, rugs or furniture.
- Change the batteries in your thermostat at least once a year.
What will the technician do? Many homeowners wonder why they can't just complete an entire tune-up themselves. The fact is a thorough tune-up requires skills, tools and knowledge that only experienced HVAC technicians can deliver. Here's what to expect when you call in the pros to perform annual HVAC system maintenance:
- Check thermostat: The tech will check the thermostat calibration and answer any questions that you may have about your programmable thermostat, they may even make suggestions for changes to your programming to help ensure maximum efficiency and cost savings.
- Electrical connections: Loose connections can be dangerous and cause improper operation that shortens the lifespan. The technician also measures voltage and current on equipment motors.
- Lubrication: Lack of lubrication causes friction in the system causing overheating and breakdowns. Lubrication also helps the parts move more smoothly with less effort, decreasing the electricity consumed by your equipment and lengthens the life of the parts.
- Condensate drain: Air conditioning and heating produce condensation when they operate. Under normal conditions, the condensate collects in a pan and drains away to the outside. Sometimes blockages, sludge, or algae can form in the drain pipe during a heating or cooling season. This can keep the system from draining properly or can cause the drain pan to overflow. An overflowing drain pan can cause damage to the equipment or your home. The technician will check all of this and make sure it's clean and blockage free.
- System controls: The start and shut-off sequences should occur in a certain order. The technician will make sure that the equipment is starting, operating, and shutting off in the proper pattern.
- The blower: The blower needs to be adjusted and maintained so that it continues to provide proper airflow. If the blower is not maintained it can decrease your systems efficient by up to 15%.
- Evaporator and condenser coils: Dirty coils can decrease efficiency and are the most expensive parts to replace on any system. Cleaning the coils is definitely the most important part of maintaining the systems lifespan.
- Check refrigerant: An overcharged system and cost you in efficiency and increase your bills. While an undercharged system can develop a leak can cost you money in repairs to or replacement of the refrigerant system. The technician will check for leaks and overcharging. Some leaks, especially if they are caught early, can be repaired and the system can be recharged at the time of the visit.
- Check line connections: Poor gas or oil connections are a fire hazard. They can also cause health problems if fumes escape into your home. Tightening the connections ensures safe and efficient operation.
- Inspect pressure, combustion and exchanger: A dirty burner or a cracked heat exchanger can result in improper burner operation. This can lead to unsafe and inefficient operations. The technician can adjust the pressure and clean the burner however if there's a cracked exchanger you could potentially be looking at replacing the furnace.
Do you understand the importance of preventative maintenance, now? Preventive maintenance can be a great benefit to you whether your goal is saving money, protecting your family, or preventing breakdowns and repairs. If you have any questions or would like more details please feel free to contact us or ask your technician the next time they are at your house. But don't forget there are other benefits to preventive maintenance agreements …
- Repair discounts year around
- Priority scheduling year around
- Discounts on multiple units
- Discounts to landlords who sign up more than one home
- Discounts to business owners who sign up their home and business
- We call you to schedule the appointments – Spring & Fall
Call us today at (636) 938-9282
and one of our service specialists will assist you immediately.