What would happen if you returned home from vacation and the central heating had failed? Nothing good, most likely. That’s where HVAC maintenance comes in. Seeing as you’re reading this, chances are you’re wondering what HVAC maintenance actually does. Let’s get started!
What Does HVAC Actually Mean?
If you’re not an engineer, you might be wondering “what does HVAC stand for?” The answer is “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” Mostly responsible for keeping your home at a nicely livable temperature, your HVAC system is also partially responsible for maintaining good air quality and energy efficiency.
The first thing HVAC-related you’re likely going to end up with is a service plan. What happens from there very clearly depends on the plan, but there are some things we can generalize about. The plan (should) include a comprehensive check performed by a qualified professional in the field. What’s in the check? Again, that depends – in this case, on what needs checking. Winter requires different checks than summer, for instance. In non-winter months, checks performed will likely be for leaks, electrical issues (be that a short circuit or a severed connection), and thermostat operation. After all, if your thermostat doesn’t work, the unit can’t very well work correctly. During wintertime, checks relating to heating elements, the pilot, the thermocouple, and various sorts of controls (limit or safety, for instance) are more likely, alongside burner-related checks. The thermostat check still applies, of course.
When is maintenance performed? That depends on the circumstances. There’s emergency maintenance (situations like the central heating fail described above), routine maintenance, and service calls, and all of those happen at different times. Routine maintenance is probably going to happen yearly or perhaps at intervals of multiple years, whereas emergency or service calls are at short notice and (we hope) wouldn’t happen frequently.
Cost-Effectiveness of HVAC Service Plans
Perhaps needless to say, having a service plan will pay for itself, assuming you live in a given home for any reasonable length of time. A service plan can also foster peace of mind and general well-being, as routine maintenance performed by a licensed expert will give you one less thing to worry about – and we’re sure that as a homeowner, you already have things to worry about! We can take one off your list, and hopefully ease your mind in the process. Prices vary, as we’re not sticklers enough to set them in stone. Regardless of the pricing, ourplans are affordable for the aspiring homeowner.
Between HVAC Maintenance And/Or Service Calls
What to do when you’re not having your HVAC unit maintained, and you don’t think you need to give us a call? There’s still things you can do in that situation. For instance, you could change the HVAC unit’s filter every month, and keep the blower unit free of such things as grime, debris, and other unpleasant substances. Performing the above steps will (at the least) decrease your likelihood of unfortunate incidents, thereby keeping your HVAC system in good condition until the next maintenance inspection. As with most HVAC maintenance you yourself do, these particular steps are preventative, meant to stop future problems from arising for as long aspossible. When a problem inevitably does arise, that’s where we come in.
“Tuning Up” Your AC
You may see offers for an AC tune-up. What exactly is such a thing, and what does it cover? Let’s dive right in. Firstly, an AC tune-up includes several steps, such as: indoor and outdoor unit cleaning to remove debris and other such contaminants; checking of refrigerant levels; and varying mechanical components receive an
inspection to make certain that they work properly. Tune-ups may improve AC reliability in some situations if they catch a problem before it has a chance to become a major headache.
When Not Receiving A Tune-Up
If your AC doesn’t need tuning up, and you don’t think a nuts-and-bolts sort of checkup is needed from us, there’s still some stuff you can do in the meantime. There’s no reason not to do some maintenance yourself, so long as you still check in with us every so often – otherwise problems are bound to arise eventually. One big reason for a problem with your AC unit is really quite simple: too much dirt and grime. If you’re trying to do repairs yourself, disconnect power to everything electrical that’s AC-related before starting. Neither of us want you to end up in the hospital, after all. If you don’t know how to do something like that, give us a call – no exceptions, please, else things might end up worse than they already are. DIY repair may include some or all of the following steps: removing leaves, debris, etc. from the inside and outside of both units’ heat exchangers (after getting yourself access to each unit’s inside); spraying the coils from inside the unit to remove dust and grime lodged within those coils; changing the furnace filters every so often (three months should be a reasonableinterval) and keeping most house vents open to maintain proper airflow over the furnace’s cooling coil.
Common Headache Inducers
Every problem is going to annoy you. Some, however, are particularly headache-inducing. We’ll cover three of them here.
Everywhere there’s a pipe, there’s a potential for a leak. HVAC connector and drain lines are no exception. Not surprisingly, one or more leaks makes your system do more work than it needs to, and may result in a component having to be replaced prematurely. Keeping an eye on refrigerant lines and the AC condensate line and heat exchanger would also be a good idea.
What happens if you put wiring and moisture together? A substantial chance of corrosion. If wires or terminals associated with your HVAC system are corroded, heating or cooling may turn on and off on its own without input from you or the thermostat. Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing. As with leaks, corrosion makes your system work harder and may also result in component replacements.
Dirt And Debris
Placing third in this list is good old dust, grime, and dirt. Everyone’s favorite (well, not really). Every component of your HVAC system can be rendered unable to do its job if there’s enough debris caked onto it. Dirt and grime causes your system’s efficiency to drop severely, and if that’s not bad enough, it may also pump allergens and other unpleasant substances into your home, reducing air quality. If someone in the family has allergy problems or even asthma, this could take an even worse turn.
When To Call An Expert
When, exactly, to call in qualified help depends on your HVAC system. If it’s new, you could probably get off with once a year, or even once every two years. If yours is an older system, calling in the pros twice every year is a good idea; once in the spring, and again in the fall.
We urge you to keep your HVAC system in working order. It’s less work for you in the long run, and what’s more, when something eventually does fail (as nothing lasts forever), it’s less work to put everything back together. Give Brock Heating & Air a call, and we’ll see what we can do.