Purchasing a new home is an exciting time and there are a host of things that need to be done. One often overlooked task is to schedule some essential maintenance for the HVAC system. This is important because many people neglect the maintenance requirements for the heating and cooling equipment. This increases the risk that something may go wrong when you need it most. Poorly serviced HVAC systems tend to have degraded performance and they have poor energy efficiency too. In this article, we will take a closer look at the importance of HVAC servicing for new homeowners in more detail.
What About the Home Inspection?
It is true that a reputable home inspection company will carry out a visual inspection of the HVAC system. They will check for any obvious problems when they examine the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. They can also evaluate the age of the heating and cooling system when they check the serial numbers. But, this is not a substitute for an inspection and maintenance from a professional HVAC technician. These systems are complex; they contain a number of electrical, electronic, and mechanical components that must work in harmony to treat the indoor air. A visual inspection can be useful, but this is no replacement for a thorough check. There may be moving parts that need lubrication, loose connections that must be secured, and a host of other tasks to perform. When the HVAC system is regularly maintained, it’s less likely to fail when you need it most and it’s likely to last longer too.
The Importance of Preventative Maintenance
Many people take their HVAC systems for granted and they don’t call a local HVAC company for help until something goes wrong. This is a flawed strategy that can lead to frequent and expensive repair bills, higher energy bills, and an earlier than expected replacement. It’s better to carry out preventive maintenance before the start of each heating and cooling season to ensure that the equipment is ready for the months ahead. There is an old adage that is extremely applicable to HVAC maintenance, “Prevention is better than the cure”.
An HVAC technician will carry out a number of checks during an inspection to properly evaluate the condition of the equipment. If any minor issues are identified at this stage, it may be possible to repair them quickly at a lower cost. If an issue is ignored, it will not fix itself and these types of problems tend to become worse over time. An issue that would have been cheaper and easier to fix will often spiral into a more serious problem that is expensive to repair.
Improving Energy Efficiency
In recent years, we’ve all become more aware of the importance of energy efficiency as our utility bills have risen dramatically. The term energy efficiency is used a lot, but many people are unsure what it means. The easiest way to think of energy efficiency is that it’s a measure of how well the system is using the energy to perform its designated function. So, if you have a higher energy efficiency HVAC system, you will use less energy to heat or cool a specific location.
The Department of Energy has estimated that an average home spends approximately $2,200 annually on energy. Around 43% of that budget is spent on heating and cooling. If you can improve your HVAC energy efficiency, the potential savings could be hundreds of dollars with no loss of performance.
All HVAC systems lose some efficiency every year after they are installed until they reach the end of their useful lifespan. But, with regular maintenance those energy efficiency losses can be mitigated to save money. If a system has not been maintained for a while, it may be possible to carry out more extensive maintenance to restore some of the lost energy efficiency.
Extending the Lifespan
It’s difficult to put a definitive lifespan estimate on heating and cooling systems. There are a wide variety of makes and models and generally, you tend to get what you pay for. But, you should expect an HVAC system to last 10 to 20 years before you need to replace the equipment. As we mentioned earlier, well maintained equipment tends to last longer because minor issues are fixed before they develop into serious problems. So, if you want a HVAC system that lasts up to the upper end of that 10 to 20 lifespan range it’s essential to invest in regular maintenance.
As a new homeowner, you may have purchased a home with an HVAC system warranty in place for a certain number of years to come. This is excellent news, a warranty is beneficial because it offers extra protection against malfunctioning components and system failures. But, most HVAC manufacturers will require some proof of regular servicing to maintain the eligibility of the warrant. This will give the manufacturer confidence that the system has not failed due to negligence on the part of the homeowner.
Complying with Codes and Regulations
If you’re a new homeowner, it’s a good idea to check the local codes and regulations for HVAC systems in your area. In many cases, there can be considerable fines if an HVAC system is not scheduled regularly. In other places, there may be a less stringent requirement to keep the home up to code and this will include HVAC servicing. Ensuring that your new home is safe and compliant with local regulations is a great way to prevent problems later.
A faulty HVAC system is a common cause of housefires and faulty components can be prone to a build up of heat that can generate sparks. A fire can spread quickly via the ductwork system which may contain deposits of flammable material. To limit the risks, it’s a good idea to invest in regular HVAC maintenance.
The technician can identify components that are likely to fail and install a new part for you. Any electrical connections will be checked to ensure that they are safe and secure to prevent electrical fires. Getting the ductwork professionally cleaned is advisable for new homeowners to improve the indoor air quality and remove any built up deposits of contaminants.
If you need some essential HVAC maintenance for your new home, contact your local heating and cooling specialist.