Removing the Mystery: What Happens During Spring HVAC Maintenance.
Preventative maintenance prevents unpleasant surprises, especially when those “surprises” pertain to your HVAC system and could end up costing hundreds of dollars in repairs, or even thousands if you need a total system replaced. Arguably the most important facet of HVAC maintenance is filter replacement, which should be done every 30 to 90 days, and can be accomplished by almost anyone with opposable digits. However, because the HVAC system utilizes electricity, and often gas - among the other potential hazards that go along with hundreds of parts or components that comprise the whole HVAC system - it’s best to leave most of the maintenance to the professionals. Here are just some of the focal points involved in a Spring checkup:
Coil Cleaning (Indoors & Out) – Outside, dirt, grass, or any sort of debris can infiltrate and cling to condenser coils, which will restrict airflow. If an HVAC unit can’t extract air properly because of blockage unnecessary wear-and-tear on parts will result. Energy costs go up, the lifespan of components goes down. Indoors, the evaporator coil is an integral part of any furnace or air handler. Within the coil, refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs heat from the indoor air that passes over it. A dirty indoor coil lowers the efficiency and performance of your total system; and because of the difficulty in accessing them, after a period of time, they usually accumulate dust and dirt.
Thermostat Inspection - This will ensure you’re getting the most bang for your (energy) buck - cooling or warming your home when you’re awake and around to enjoy it; saving energy and money when you’re at work or asleep. A technician will also be able to determine whether the system is starting, stopping, and cycling properly.
Clear, Clean & Lubricated - Parts, like the blower motor, need to be free of dirt and dust and cleared of any debris that inhibits smooth operation. And because it employs moving parts it needs to be properly lubricated to reduce friction. Too much friction will boost inefficiency and wear out parts before their time.
Component Connections - An HVAC pro will inspect the voltage and current on parts to determine whether the power complies with unit specs. In addition, wire connections are examined to make sure none are loose, broken or disconnected, which could result in the breakdown of system components.
Drainage Test - It’s imperative that the condensate drain in your central air conditioning unit (or a heat pump in cooling mode) be free of any obstructions that could plug it up and undermine smooth extraction. A stopped-up drain could cause water damage in the house, wreak havoc on humidity levels, and cause mold or bacteria growth.
Refrigerant Level - A technician should measure the liquid refrigerant line temperature and pressure. If the amount of refrigerant is inadequate the system compressor has to work harder to expel hot air from the house. This overcompensation is a sure sign of inefficiency, as more energy is consumed to power the unit, all the while putting undue strain on the system.
These are only some of the tasks that an HVAC contractor will undertake during a Spring maintenance checkup. Oftentimes, experience and intuition will alert a seasoned technician to sniff out minor problems before they morph into major headaches. So what are you waiting for? Make the call to your local and trusted technician. Don’t have one? You can find one here.
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