HVAC is a year-round necessity, especially if you reside in an area with drastically contrasting weather patterns.
You’ll need a dependable system to keep you cool during sweltering summers and warm during freezing winters.
With continuous use, your HVAC system will undoubtedly be under a lot of stress, causing it to eventually malfunction or, worse, break down. You don’t want that, do you?
This is why you need regular HVAC maintenance service to identify and fix problems early on before things take a turn for the worse.
In this blog, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to HVAC service, covering everything from how the HVAC system operates to the kind of maintenance you should carry out on a regular basis.
Let’s start with the basics first, then, shall we?
What Is HVAC Maintenance Service?
An effective, well-functioning HVAC system is key to keeping your home comfy and cozy.
The first step to retaining that comfort starts with HVAC maintenance—the process of checking your heater, ventilation system, and air conditioner regularly for any issues, as well as replacing any broken parts—to keep the system running as good as new.
Generally, an HVAC system should be repaired twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. This is mainly because of the weather change at the start of these seasons and hence the switch from air conditioning to heating (and vice versa).
This process can include several steps that we will cover in more detail later in the blog, so hang on.
But first, you must know why HVAC maintenance service isn’t something you should take lightly.
The Importance of HVAC Maintenance
What if you could improve your overall peace of mind while saving money, breathing cleaner air, enjoying more safety and comfort in your home, and helping the environment—all for a relatively small investment?
Sounds like a dream, right? Well, this is just a quick overview of the perks of routine HVAC maintenance.
Now, why don’t we take a closer look at why HVAC preventive maintenance is such a smart and valuable investment?
1. Save Money
First things first: heating and cooling systems account for more than half of all domestic energy use and can cost you thousands of dollars for HVAC replacement.
Now isn’t that a significant chunk of your money to spend? On the bright side, saving yourself from hefty HVAC-related expenses is possible.
Routine HVAC maintenance service is a great way to save money on monthly energy bills, as it can reduce the risk of expensive breakdowns by as much as 95%!
In fact, these preventative measures ensure that your HVAC system operates close to peak performance. This means that your energy bill can go down by up to 30%, hence saving your hard-earned money over the years.
What’s more, an HVAC maintenance service can increase the lifespan of your system, lowering the possibility that you’ll soon need to spend a lot of money on a new HVAC system and its installation.
But if you have a warranty, then you’re set, right? Wrong!
You should be aware that when a warranty repair claim is made, most HVAC manufacturers want documentation of yearly maintenance.
So, a small investment in regular maintenance can save you a lot of time and money if something goes wrong.
2. Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
You have probably heard some horror stories of things going wrong with HVAC systems due to neglected repairs and timely maintenance.
Someone you know left for the holidays and came back to a frozen, badly damaged HVAC system. A cascade of frozen or burst pipes, water damage, and worse can happen if your heating system fails during a cold spell while you’re away from home.
And you probably would’ve guessed that repairs can be extremely expensive in such cases.
Proper HVAC maintenance can prevent such disasters from happening and may protect you and your family from the danger of leaking carbon monoxide—a colorless, odorless gas with potentially fatal effects.
These are just a few examples of why you should never take some maintenance checks casually.
3. Reduce the Dust in Your Home
Do you frequently clean your house, yet it always seems to have more dust than before?
This may be a bit confusing, especially if your home is typically spotless.
What’s going on, then?
The constant dust may be a warning that your HVAC system is broken and needs maintenance.
An excessive amount of dust buildup in the ductwork of your HVAC system can spread particles throughout your home, which is especially concerning if you or any family members have respiratory conditions.
Don’t worry, though. You can easily fix the issue.
All you need to do is get in touch with an experienced HVAC maintenance company, and they will ensure that the hot or cold air blowing through your vents is as pure and well-filtered as possible.
4. Enhance Your Quality of Life
You may not realize this, but your HVAC system is one of those essential devices that can massively improve your comfort levels.
Regular HVAC maintenance service reduces the chance that your vents will be blasting with icy air when you return from work on a chilly winter afternoon.
Regular upkeep also ensures that it emits and distributes warm or cool air more steadily and evenly so that you can get a good night’s sleep or simply enjoy your downtime.
However, it’s normal to take these little pleasures for granted, and only when your HVAC system breaks down do you realize how important regular maintenance can be.
5. Safeguard The Environment
At a time when climate change is such a hot topic, maintaining your HVAC system properly can help to do your part.
If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, bear in mind that a properly maintained HVAC system uses a lot less fuel, which is excellent for the environment.
Your HVAC professional can also inform you of the advantages of a programmable thermostat and moving from oil to natural gas as steps you can take to lessen the environmental effect of your HVAC system.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Service Involve?
A qualified HVAC expert who can thoroughly evaluate your HVAC system to identify and address any potential issues is the place to start.
So, what does HVAC maintenance include?
Typically, there are different levels of an HVAC maintenance, the most thorough consists of three overarching areas:
- Inspection: Your maintenance service will typically start with inspection by professionals. This might include inspecting the drain pan, making sure the refrigerant levels are acceptable, and other parts of your HVAC unit. Inspection also involves checking for other alarming signs, such as odors, etc.
- Cleaning: This is one of the most vital parts of an HVAC maintenance service. It involves cleaning and keeping the outdoor unit free from dirt, leaves, and other debris. The same goes for filters. Additionally, various HVAC system components, such as condenser coils, drain lines, drain pans, and evaporator coils, will need to be cleaned.
- Replacement/Modification: During inspection, an HVAC professional may identify a few parts that need to be replaced. The expert can give you some info—that you were previously unaware—for example, the air filter needs to be changed every month, while the carbon monoxide batteries need to be updated bi-annually or at least annually.
An HVAC system also contains many moving parts, and a lack of sufficient lubrication can lead to grinding and friction between parts, which can seriously damage the HVAC system. So, it is also crucial to check whether any component needs special attention during maintenance.
This was just a quick overview of what an HVAC maintenance service involves.
If you are interested in a detailed one, keep reading to learn more!
1. Detailed Checkups
HVAC installation technicians and professionals will completely service, inspect, and troubleshoot your entire HVAC system during maintenance checks to keep it operating effectively and avoid breakdowns.
By servicing your HVAC system, you can ensure that all parts are clean, well-maintained, and operating at peak efficiency. This can help you avoid exorbitant energy costs as well as unforeseen, high repair costs.
An HVAC maintenance service may include inspecting:
- the refrigerant charge and fixing any leaks.
The loss of refrigerant can result in reduced efficiency, in addition to the costly environmental effects.
- electrical connections and adjusting them as necessary.
They need to be tightened, examined, and replaced since inadequate connections can result in equipment breakdown, overheating, and fire risks.
- the settings and calibration of the thermostat
Oftentimes, your thermostat may need replacement as well.
Some thermostats are permanently connected to the house’s electrical system. Some are powered by batteries. To avoid issues, you should change batteries at least once a year.
- the system controls
- the burner combustion, gas pressure, and the heat exchanger
2. Cleaning The Drain Lines
If you’ve ever given your air conditioner a close inspection, you might have seen a small drip line on the outside. This is the condensate drain, which is crucial in eliminating condensation caused by the evaporator coil of your air conditioner.
If the line isn’t cleaned thoroughly, mold and algae can develop inside and clog the drain, causing increased humidity, giving off musty odors, and triggering water damage inside your home.
So, during an HVAC maintenance service, the HVAC expert will remove the air conditioner’s exterior cover and clean the drain line.
3. Switching Out the Filters
Although this is something that homeowners do as part of their maintenance and the technicians do not normally perform this function. Filters remove dust, hair, and other airborne contaminants from the air and prevent the spread of these pollutants throughout your house.
However, a dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of HVAC troubles. If the AC filter is too unclean, it may freeze and thaw, resulting in water damage.
Don’t worry, though.
By having regular HVAC maintenance service, you can reduce the possibility of breakdown or repairs and enhance the quality of the air inside your house—all while using less energy!
This is because more air travels through clean filters, allowing the HVAC system to provide heating and cooling efficiently.
4. Condenser/Heat Pump Cleaning
Outdoor air conditioners and heat pumps are susceptible to catching a lot of dirt, which makes the HVAC system work harder to maintain the optimal cold or warm temperature in your home.
During HVAC maintenance, cleaning the condenser and heat pump lowers the risk of harm to any interior components. The expert will also make sure that your outdoor air-conditioning pumps and units are free of debris on top and the sides, clearing out all of the dirt and grime that has built up between the cracks.
An HVAC expert will also ensure that your unit is level.
If it is unlevel, the refrigerants—that are vital for the efficient operation of your air conditioner—will be scattered, and there may be an increased chance that your compressor and condenser will fail.
So, ensuring the unit is not lopsided is also typically a part of professional HVAC maintenance service.
5. Evaluating The Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector is a must-have safety component in houses with combustion-based heating systems like natural gas or fuel oil.
In the event of an exhaust leak, poor ventilation, or excessive gas flow, it can end up saving your life.
However, the typical operational life of a carbon monoxide detector is seven years, and you may forget to keep track of this.
Therefore, during an HVAC maintenance service, you can expect the technician to check to see if you have a carbon monoxide detector on site.
6. Cleaning The Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit is constantly exposed to weather and other environmental elements, such as dirt and trash.
In fact, growth and vegetation may surround the external unit over time, obstructing the efficient flow of air from the exhaust.
The branches and leaves might also enter the outdoor unit occasionally and hence obstruct the fan’s ability to operate properly.
HVAC maintenance will involve paying special attention to cleaning any debris on or near the unit and may hose it down if dirt has built up substantially.
Tip: You should keep an eye out for any plants or leaves near the outdoor unit that may need to be trimmed. Also, to ensure proper ventilation, keep surrounding plants cut back at least two feet on all sides of the HVAC unit. This will make the maintenance service process much smoother (and probably cheaper) for you!
7. Getting Rid of Clutter Near the HVAC Unit
You may have noticed that when you visit someone, there are no HVAC units in sight in their house. And you probably know why.
They are usually kept in places hidden from view and where dust is collecting—like basements, attics, or garages or the back of the home.
The greater the clutter, the more the surface area available for the dust to accumulate and eventually enter the vent system.
Also, clutter hinders air circulation in nearby areas, which isn’t good for the efficiency of the HVAC system. It can also create a fire hazard, making it more difficult to do repairs and upkeep.
Naturally, maintaining a clutter-free environment surrounding your HVAC system increases air quality and safety.
Apart from caring about the bigger picture, an HVAC professional will also look into other minor details, ensuring the cleanliness of the space around the HVAC unit.
8. Checking The Heat Exchanger
An HVAC system’s heat exchanger is a part that converts thermal energy from one medium to another. The flame enters the heat exchanger and passes through it.
It is an important component because a faulty heat exchanger can cause carbon monoxide and other toxins to leak into the HVAC system and spread throughout your home.
So, an HVAC expert will assess whether your heat exchanger meets strict standards for efficiency and cleanliness.
HVAC maintenance is necessary for many obvious reasons.
A well-maintained HVAC unit will have fewer serious issues, which means less stress and unexpected expenses.
Moreover, by scheduling routine maintenance and taking timely action to fix small issues, you can enjoy the perks of a comfy house without worrying about your unit suddenly breaking down.
So, check on the condition of your HVAC system now rather than waiting till the last minute when winter storms or sweltering summers arrive.
To ensure that everything goes smoothly, consider hiring professionals to do your HVAC inspection and maintenance.
If you are on the lookout for experts in HVAC maintenance service in Fredericksburg VA, Spotsylvania VA, or King George VA, reach out to OHA Home Service today!