To keep your HVAC in proper working condition and avoid any issues that may come along, you need to maintain it correctly. However, no one is born knowing how often we should do this, so we’ve decided to write up a guide to make sure you’re well-versed in the matter.
We look at the problems that commonly occur in many air conditioners and look at how to diagnose and treat these with ease.
Why HVAC Regular Maintenance Matters?
Save Energy and Money
With regular maintenance, you’ll be able to avoid expensive issues up to a whopping 95%. Not only that, but you’ll be cutting energy costs down by around a third, which will save you money on future bills.
Improve Air Quality
No one wants to be breathing in dirty, unhealthy air. Even the EPA states that indoor air pollution is “among the top 5 environmental risks to public health”, causing issues like coughing, eye irritation, headaches, asthma, and much more. Preventative maintenance can help make sure that your HVAC is pushing through only clean air.
Improve Home Comfort
To keep your HVAC unit distributing your air just as warm or cool as you’d like it, you need to be consistent with maintenance. Plus, it will reduce the risk of it freezing over or overheating!
Extend the Life of HVAC Unit
Wouldn’t you be willing to spend more money on a unit that lasted you longer? Regular maintenance will easily lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC, just like with most appliances.
Not only that, but you’ll notice that most manufacturers will only cover your unit under their warranty if you provide proof of annual maintenance. Don’t just think you can’t provide maintenance because the warranty will take care of it! It takes only a few minutes to do and is more than worth it!
Help the Environment
Not only will a healthy HVAC system prevent carbon monoxide leaks (which can result in serious injury or even death), but it consumes a significantly smaller amount of fuel. This is great for the environment and the wallet.
Signs That Your HVAC System May Need Maintenance
Unexpected and unexplained increases on electricity bills
If you’re really putting a lot of use into your AC during the summer, then it’s perfectly normal to see that bill go up. However, if you start seeing a significant/unexplained increase on your bill, then there’s a good chance that you need to set an appointment for it to be checked out.
Loud noises coming from heater or AC
Occasionally, you may notice the odd banging noise or clanking coming from your system. However, it shouldn’t be consistent or happen regularly. It’s always better to go ahead and get it looked at.
Lowered energy efficiency
If your energy bills are higher than they used to be, paired with more extensive run times and more cycling. For example, do you feel like you have to keep your heater running for hours upon hours just to warm up your home like it was able to do with 30 minutes of operation before?
If so, this is a telltale sign that your HVAC unit has lowered energy efficiency and should get a checkup.
HVAC is above 10 years old
This depends on the model, but typically after 10 years of use, you may need to replace or get a serious tune-up on yours. Of course, with proper maintenance, it’s likely that your HVAC works just fine after this length of time!
Last maintenance was completed over a year ago
How often should HVAC be serviced? Well, if it’s been a year or more since your HVAC unit’s last maintenance service, you need to schedule an appointment for a tune up.
How Often Should You Service Your HVAC System?
It varies a bit, depending on the component.
In general, you will want to have your HVAC serviced every 6 months to keep things in tip-top shape.
Let’s take a look at each component so you know exactly what kind of schedule to keep them on.
- Refrigerant Levels
This will often be done maybe once ever, even if the unit cracks a refrigerant leak. Of course, this will depend on where the leak is.
- Calibration of Thermostat
You’ll want to do this once a year, generally in the fall.
- Mechanical Components
This should be done at least once at the beginning of each new heating/cooling season (every six months).
- Clean the Indoor and Outdoor Coils
This is another once-yearly process or more if it ends up being really dirty.
- Air Filters
This should be done, at most, every 90 days. If you’re using it more often, if you live in a heavy-traffic city center, or if you/someone else in your home has allergies or other breathing sensitivities, then make sure to do it even more regularly.
- Inspecting the Electrical Components Including Connections, Terminals, and Fuses
This will be done during routine maintenance as the usual causes for these issues are rodents like chewing through the wires or a fuse/breaker issue.
What is Included in HVAC Servicing?
- Checking Refrigerant Levels and Testing for Leaks
If there’s a leak in the system, then you’ll probably find yourself having to keep refrigerant levels topped up often. This shouldn’t be necessary given that AC units are a closed loop. However, even if this isn’t the case, it’s essential that you’re checking for leaks at least once a year.
- Calibration of Thermostat
This test will help you figure out if your thermostat is providing the correct temperature and turning off/on at proper readings as well. This will keep it running safely but also save you money on bills and create more efficient operation.
- Checking and Oiling Mechanical Components including the Belts and Motors
All moving parts should be oiled if not moving as they should and should be visually inspected for any possible damage.
- Clean the Indoor and Outdoor Coils
Both coils present should be checked out to ensure there are no potential leaks. On top of that, they should be cleaned completely free of dirt and grime to make sure it’s operating as efficiently as possible.
- Measuring the Airflow
Your technician should be able to do this without a hitch, ensuring there are no serious issues restricting your AC from working correctly.
- Inspecting the Electrical Components including Connections, Terminals, and Fuses
These should be checked at least once annually to make sure all wires/fuses/breakers are in good working condition. Not only that, but electrical connections should be tightened, tested, and replaced if necessary.
- Providing Tips and Recommendations to Homeowners
Each one of these safety checks is essential to a properly-operating, healthy, safe, and long-lasting system. Just like an auto vehicle, this will keep the unit working correctly, extend the lifespan, and keep everyone around it safe.
What Can I Do to Maintain My HVAC System? (DIY Tips)
- .Change the air filter
This is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is locate the filter slot, slide out the old filter, and insert the new. Just make sure you place the right side out, referring to the unit’s manufacturer’s instructions/user manual for the correct size and process.
- .Clear debris around outside units to eliminate clogs
Ensure you’re revising the outdoor unit regularly, ensuring at minimum 2 feet of space around the entire unit/HVAC heat pump. Get rid of any potential blockages, twigs, pollen, dust, leaves, and so on.
- .Check refrigerant lines monthly
These lines can potentially become worn out, develop leaks, or detach, so it’s crucial that you’re checking these a bit more regularly, at least once monthly.
- .Keep the HVAC unit leveled correctly
Make sure that the unit isn’t crooked or tilted to one side. Keeping the unit level is very important, so keep aware of the HVAC system’s placement as well. This can be done by using quality condenser pads.
- .Inspect fan blades and be aware of odors and noises
Inspecting fan blades is crucial in keeping your HVAC unit running properly. Visually review the blades every other month or so, both when they’re moving and stopped. Check for signs of use, damage, and general wear-and-tear. If indoors, you should also pay attention to any weird noises or odors as it could be a sign of more serious potential issues.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
How much does it cost to have my HVAC serviced?
Typically, it will cost you anywhere from $75 to $200, though most appointments will be around $100.
How long does HVAC servicing take?
Once the issue (if there is one) has been figured out, it should take no more than 60-90 minutes.
Is it necessary to service AC every year?
No, it’s not 100% required though it is heavily recommended.
What are the 4 phases of planned maintenance HVAC?
Routine maintenance, pre-start inspection, operational checks, and troubleshooting.
Are recurring HVAC service plans worth it?
Honestly, yes, they are. Instead of paying for individual maintenance checkups, you can just get a service contract that will have you covered if you need any assistance.
Now that you know just how often you should get your HVAC serviced, you’re in business and ready to go! Make sure to regularly follow this guide for the most efficient results and maximum levels of comfort possible.