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How to Best Maintain your HVAC System

In the same way, your car needs maintenance and its engine oil changed regularly to ensure it continues running smoothly, your home’s heat and cooling system also needs regular maintenance to ensure it continues to operate properly and at its best. In fact, whereas your car runs when you turn on the engine and drive it, your home’s HVAC system is likely to have to operate much longer and arguably work a lot harder during the heating and cooling season.

In this article, we’ll highlight the importance of maintaining your heating and cooling system, what you yourself can do to help ensure your system is operating optimally, and the benefits of getting professional preventative maintenance done to ensure the comfort of your home.

What you can do to ensure your HVAC system is operating properly

Change your filters

The most important thing you can do to maintain your system is to regularly check and change your filters.  Filters remove dust, hair, and other particles from the air so they do not spread into the home.  Clean filters allow more airflow to pass through which helps your system run more efficiently.  We recommend that you replace your filters every three months but it’s important that you check them often and change them as needed since excess dust from work inside or outside the home, pets, and other factors may require them to be replaced more frequently. Other factors that affect the frequency in which you replace your filters include the type you use, size, and MERV rating. Some filters can be changed less frequently but we recommend every three months as a general rule of thumb.

Eliminate clutter near your furnace or air handler

Make sure you keep the area around your furnace and air handler clear of clutter.   Excess clutter around your heating system has the potential to be a fire hazard.  Also, keeping this area clutter-free allows professionals easy access to your system for more thorough maintenance and service.

Keep your outdoor HVAC equipment clean and free of debris

Most AC condensers are installed outside, oftentimes near trees or bushes, so it’s important to inspect the area regularly and make sure the unit is free of debris, dirt, and other objects including fallen leaves and grass clippings.  It’s important to keep the area around the unit clear at least by two feet from all sides to help maintain proper airflow as a dirty condenser can be inefficient. Oftentimes, if an AC or heat pump is not keeping up it could simply be because the AC unit and coils are too dirty.

When to think about upgrading your system

Maintenance is very important for any type of system but like all equipment, your heating and cooling system will become less efficient over time, require more service, and will eventually need to be replaced.  The average lifespan of an HVAC system is about 15 to 20 years. Although these systems are not cheap the good news is that with the generous home energy rebates currently available, as well as high-efficiency technologies like Heat Pumps, there’s literally never been a better time to make the change.

Generally speaking, if the maintenance or repairs on an existing system are going to cost you close to 25 – 50% or more than the cost of a replacement it is time to think about purchasing a new unit. At some point, it will cost you more to keep an older system going versus replacing it with a new unit which has the added benefit of having a new manufacturer’s warranty and new workmanship warranty from the provider.  A reputable heating and cooling contractor will be able to assess your current system and provide you with insight into the best options available to you.

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Benefits of a professional preventative maintenance plan

In addition to taking the actions we’ve outlined above it’s also important to get a certified professional to conduct more comprehensive maintenance and inspection on your HVAC system at least twice a year.  It is beneficial to schedule these visits once in spring before the cooling season and again in the fall before the winter months and the heating season begins.

A good HVAC professional will conduct a thorough inspection and maintenance of your system beyond what a typical homeowner would be able to do themselves. As well as, provide a report card on the condition of your equipment.

There are many benefits and savings associated with professional maintenance and we highlight some of the main ones below.

HVAC Warranty:

In addition to having your system installed properly and your equipment registered, it’s essential that regular maintenance is completed so that your HVAC warranty does not lose its validity due to improper maintenance.

Lengthen the life of your equipment:

Proper maintenance will allow your system to be free of dust, debris, and obstructions resulting in it working more efficiently and thus increasing the life of the system.

Improve air quality:

Regular maintenance, filter changes, and cleaning result in less dust, dirt, and debris moving through your system improving your system’s airflow, overall function, and air quality of the home.

Greater visibility & understanding of your home’s heating & cooling system:

A good HVAC company will not only perform proper maintenance but also provide you with useful information regarding how your system is performing. With this information, you can make informed decisions about scheduling the necessary service or potential upgrades.

Peace of mind:

Having your system professionally maintained makes it one less thing you have to worry about.  Pre-scheduled site visits are done by a professional so you don’t have to worry about them.

Overall it’s important to choose the right system, have it installed by an experienced contractor, and then finally ensure it is maintained properly. By doing so you’ll have a system that works great and keeps your home comfortable for years to come!

If you have any questions about your own system or would like to learn more about our preventative maintenance plans please feel free to contact us today.

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