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When is the best time to schedule HVAC maintenance?
When an HVAC company recommends maintenance for your air conditioning system or heating system, it can be an easy suggestion to just pass over. You may not want to call a technician unless there is something seriously wrong with your heating or cooling system.
Routine preventive maintenance, just like car maintenance, is important to prevent needed repair or even replacement.
As the seasons change, it is a good idea to call your HVAC technician for annual service. Most HVAC system manufacturers recommend that you service both your heating and air conditioning systems once per year. However, they suggest these two portions be done at two separate times. It is good practice for a homeowner to have the air conditioning unit serviced in the spring and the heater in the fall. If you have a heat pump system that you use year-round, then you’ll want to schedule this service once every 6 months.
Comfort is one of the top reasons to have your HVAC maintenance scheduled each year. Climate control systems become less efficient and effective over time. Just like the components in your car, they wear down naturally.
Safety is another benefit of maintenance. This is especially true for gas-powered heating systems. Cracked heat exchangers can cause serious problems such as high levels of carbon monoxide and fire hazards. We can help you identify these problems and get repairs done as soon as possible.
Regular maintenance can be done between services of the unit, in addition to your annual HVAC service. This maintenance includes:
- Replacing your air filters regularly (check the manufacturer’s recommendations).
- Regularly inspecting the unit for debris
- Regularly checking the thermostat batteries
- Clear and clean return vents
What do HVAC system technicians service?
Air Conditioning: Main Concerns
- The HVAC system Equipment’s Overall Conditions
- Test Condenser
- Safety Controls
- Temperature Difference
- Test and Charge Refrigerator
- HVAC system Startup
- Clean the evaporator coils
- Check the drains and the drip pan
Heating: Main Concerns
- Heat Pump Defrost Cycle
- Check operation of backup heating source
- Check Ignition, Heat Exchanger and Burner Assemblies.
- Test Vents
- Check Gas Pressure and Piping
How do I know if I need to replace or repair my HVAC system?
Do I need to replace or repair my HVAC system? This is a common question. You need to consider many factors before making a decision. The unit’s lifespan is one of the most important factors. EnergyStar, a voluntary program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — estimates that an A.C. unit will last between 15 and 20 years. According to This Old House, a heat pump lasts on average for 16 years while a furnace lasts 15-20 years.
Regular maintenance is required for ventilation, heating and air conditioning to function efficiently. However, no matter how much preventative maintenance you put into your HVAC system, there comes a time when repairs aren’t enough anymore and it’s time for a replacement.
It can be expensive to replace your heating or AC system. Before replacing either your AC or heating system, it is worth considering whether your current system is in its last days. While there may be a fix for your unit, it might be more cost-effective to buy a new one.
Here are some things to consider when you have to choose between replacement or repair.
Safety is your primary concern. It is common to replace a heating system that poses a danger to safety, especially if the repair is going to be costly and temporary.
A cracked heat exchanger could cause a dangerous carbon monoxide leakage that could potentially lead to fatalities. This is not something you want to risk.
Sometimes, things such as stuck valves and faulty wiring can be fixed easily.
Think about the age of your furnace. As already mentioned, the furnace’s average lifespan is 15 to 20 years. The technician who installed the furnace likely noted the date on the unit during installation. You can look inside the chamber door for a plate with the serial and model numbers. The manufacturer’s customer service number can be contacted to request the manufacturing date.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that your HVAC unit should be replaced if it is older than 20 years. These published HVAC life expectancies are only averages. This means that half of units will die before this date, while half of them still function efficiently. These numbers are not guaranteed.
Your HVAC system’s lifespan will be affected by other factors, such as how often you use it and how diligent you have been with annual maintenance.
3. Heating Effectiveness
if your heating system isn’t running efficiently, it will not provide reliable heating. If you notice that some rooms are not heating up to the temperature you set, it is an indicator of an inefficient heater. You might notice that some rooms warm up faster than others.
Other Things to Consider:
- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: Older units burn more fuel to compensate for inefficiencies. This can lead to higher bills. An older heating system could have an AFUE less than 65 percent.
- Comparing replacement and repair costs: While a new furnace or boiler is an expensive investment, repairs can be very costly. There’s always the chance of the same problem occurring again, or that more work will be required in the future. If the repair costs exceed 50%, you may need to replace the heating system.
- Take into account manufacturer rebates or tax incentives: The current manufacturer rebates or tax incentives for energy efficient home heating units could save you enough money to buy newer equipment.
Signs That Indicate It's Time for Your HVAC Replacement
These signs could be a sign that a replacement is necessary.
1. There is More Dust in Your Home
Your HVAC unit is responsible for heating and cooling your home as well as providing ventilation. Your indoor air quality will improve if your HVAC system is running efficiently by eliminating things like:
The AC unit also regulates the humidity level in your home. You may notice more dust in your home or higher humidity levels. This could be a sign that your AC unit is not working well enough.
2. You’re Hearing Strange Noises
An AC unit and furnace that is well maintained should operate quietly. You may start hearing unusual sounds such as grinding or squealing as your system ages. If you hear unusual sounds, a technician should inspect the unit.
3. You Are Smelling Strange Odors
It is the same for strange smells. It could be just dust, but it could also be mold or wiring melting. You could have something worse. To determine if your system is in need of replacement, you will need to have it properly inspected.
4. Your Energy Bills Continue to Rise
While you will experience different energy costs during the seasons, your monthly bill should remain relatively consistent during off-season. If your energy bills continue to rise, it is likely that your system needs repair or replacement.
Your unit’s efficiency will eventually decrease with age. It is important to have it serviced at least once per year. Regular maintenance will prolong the life of your AC unit and allow it to continue running efficiently. You might have to replace your AC unit as it ages.
It can be difficult to decide whether to replace your AC unit or repair it. In many cases homeowners call in HVAC professionals to inspect their AC units and give a second opinion. An HVAC technician will tell you whether your air conditioner is still working well or if it’s time for a new unit.
GET ADVICE FROM AN HVAC EXPERT: CONTACT Pioneer Mechanical LLC