Why have Annual Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance?
Proper maintenance of your heating system performed by a qualified heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractor is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems, according to Energy Star, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. To ensure efficient system operation, it’s important to perform routine maintenance.
A cleaned, lubricated, and properly adjusted Heating and Air system runs more efficiently and uses less energy. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent more costly repairs later on. HVAC manufacturers typically include language in their product warranties requiring annual maintenance by a licensed contractor to ensure coverage. Most importantly, an improperly working system could be a safety hazard. Energy Star recommends having a qualified HVAC technician come in and do at least the following:
-"Clean indoor and outdoor coils before warm weather starts. A dirty coil reduces the system’s ability to cool your home and causes the system to run longer, increasing your energy costs and shortening the life of your equipment."
-"Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant charge and adjust it if necessary to make sure it meets manufacturer specifications. Too much or too little refrigerant charge can damage the compressor, reducing the life of your equipment and increasing costs."
-"Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow. Proper airflow over the indoor coil is necessary for efficient equipment operation and reliability."
-"Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). If plugged, the drain can cause water damage in the house, affect indoor humidity levels, and breed bacteria and mold."
-"Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion, and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently."
-"Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components."
-"Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increase the amount of electricity you use."
-"Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly."
-"Inspect the flue piping for rusting and any disconnections or evidence of back drafting."
Maintenance you can do yourself includes inspecting, cleaning, or changing air filters once a month in your furnace and/or heat pump. Your HVAC contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.