Is a HVAC system maintenance check necessary? This is a valid question, you may have a relatively new system or it may be 6-7 years old and it’s working fine. But, it’s important to remember that a HVAC system is complex, it has electronic, electrical and mechanical moving parts. We don’t neglect maintenance on our cars and yet many people don’t make HVAC maintenance a priority. Every year that a system is not inspected and maintained, it will lose performance and energy efficiency. In this article, we will look at several aspects of HVAC maintenance in more detail to help you make informed decisions.

A HVAC System is a Significant Investment

When you purchase and install a HVAC system in your home, it represents a significant investment. It makes sense to protect that investment and well maintained systems tend to last longer. This defers the need for a replacement which is money in your pocket. A new HVAC system will have a 10-15 year lifespan and a regularly maintained HVAC system will have a lifespan at the upper end of that range.

5 Regular HVAC Maintenance Benefits

Signing up for a regular maintenance plan with your local heating and cooling specialist is a smart decision. There are five key benefits:

1.   Improved IAQ

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major issue due to the Covid-19 lockdowns when many people were forced to work from home. But, the primary concern is the presence of dust, pet dander, dirt, mold spores and other airborne contaminants. This is a vital consideration if there is anyone living in the home with asthma, allergies and pre-existing breathing conditions.

2.   Better Safety

Badly maintained HVAC systems may perform poorly and the energy efficiency can be compromised. But, it could also represent a threat to the health of the occupants if there is a short circuit, or a crack in the heat exchanger, it can lead to a house fire. The furnace may release carbon monoxide, if the fuel burning process is inefficient. Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” because it’s hard to detect without a dedicated detector. Early detection of the problems will improve safety and the repair bills tend to be lower.

3.   Lower Energy Bills

When the HVAC equipment leaves the factory, it has the best performance and energy efficiency by design. But, after installation the equipment will degrade over time. This will be less noticeable at first and then your energy bills start to rise. Well maintained equipment will retain more of that energy efficiency for longer. This will lead to lower energy bills over the lifespan of the HVAC system which is well worth the cost of maintenance.

4.   Less Frequent Repair Bills

As we mentioned earlier, HVAC systems are complex and even the best examples will have some problems from time to time. When the heating and cooling equipment is regularly maintained, you will have fewer repair problems and they will cost less to fix. Why? Well, the technician will carry out an inspection and they will spot potential problems earlier when they are minor issues that are easier to fix. HVAC systems have components that must work together in harmony and if one part fails it will affect others.

5.   Avoiding Downtime

When you’ve made a significant investment in your home comfort, you want to avoid downtime. The last thing you need is a cooling system failure on a hot summer night or have no heating when it’s cold outside. Ideally, the HVAC system should operate at peak efficiency at all times and a failure should be a rare event. This is only possible if you have a HVAC maintenance plan with your local heating and cooling specialist. This is also a smart financial decision, because emergency repairs will always cost more than regular maintenance.

When is the Best Time for Maintenance?

If you have a HVAC system, it’s a good idea to get the heating system checked before winter and the cooling system checked before summer. So, the ideal times are fall for the heating and spring for the cooling systems. Why? Many people don’t adopt a proactive approach to HVAC maintenance and they experience problems when they turn their equipment on for the first time. When you have not used the heating system during the warmer months when you turn it on and it doesn’t work, it can be a real shock. The bi-annual maintenance plan works and it ensures that your system is ready for the months ahead.

What Does Preventative Maintenance Entail?

This will vary slightly depending on a few key factors, such as the age of the HVAC system, the size, the brand, the condition and how much you use the system. But, you can broadly divide the maintenance into a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter checklist as follows:

Spring/Summer Checklist

The filters are replaced, the evaporator coils and condensers are clean and the drain lines are checked to ensure that they are draining properly. Any standing water in the condensate drain pan is removed and the ducts  are inspected for contaminants. The thermostat is tested, all electrical connections are checked and the refrigerant is charged if required. The fan motor is tested, the blades are checked for their airflow properties and any worn belts and pulleys are replaced. Any moving parts are lubricated, debris is cleaned away and the HVAC cabinet is checked for leaks.

Fall/Winter Checklist

The filters are replaced every 30-90 days by the technician and then the homeowner to maintain performance and efficiency. The ignition burner assembly is inspected, the heating elements or heat exchanger are checked for carbon monoxide leaks. The flue system is inspected and gas furnaces are checked for gas leaks, Any frayed belts or worn pulleys are replace and drain lines are checked and cleared to prevent water leaks. All moving parts are lubricated, the thermostat is checked, and the heat pump is inspected.  All electrical connections and wiring assemblies are inspected to ensure that they are safe to use.

If you want to schedule some essential maintenance for your HVAC system, contact your local heating and cooling specialist.