If it Ain’t Broke, Do You Still Fix It? Or Why You Should Service Your HVAC System Regularly

It’s bitter cold, and time to get ready for work, the kids have not yet had breakfast, and your heat is not working. You jiggle the thermostat; walk downstairs to the basement to plead with your furnace and no matter how hard to beg, you can’t get the piece of machinery to work!

Who to call? Your choices are plentiful. The local utility company provides service for emergencies. So you’ll call. Press one, you are instructed. You comply. You wait, for what Duct Cleaning Aurora seems to be hours. The kids are cold. Time is passing. You just can’t wait. So, you go to your computer, pushing aside the piles of mail that you have yet had the opportunity to read (including the solicitation you ignored about Pre-Season Service!)

Internet searches seem like the logical place to start. And so Air Duct Cleaning Aurora you are on a quest to find companies in your neighborhood that offer the services that you need, and begin to check out their websites. You find a few, send emails, jot down telephone numbers and voila! You hit the jackpot! There’s a local contractor that can fit you into his schedule.

What Happens During a Typical Duct Cleaning?

Kids off to school, a fast shower, further reminding you of the frigid temperatures in your home. The service technician arrives, you lead him downstairs. He flips a switch, removes a strange looking metal object and turns the unit back on. That’s it, lady. You’re fixed! How could that be? What was wrong? Upon further discussion you learn that your filter was totally blocked. Filter? I have a filter? Where is it? Can’t be! I never knew! The blocked filter serves as a safety to shut the system down if air is not circulating properly.

HVAC Maintenance 101. Your education begins today when you are told that there is a filter in your ducted system that is installed to trap particulates and other airborne particles. And you are further instructed to replace that filter every single month. Every month? No kidding! And, the technician suggests, I would call to get on our annual service schedule. And call you do.

Maintenance is unnecessary. I can call for service when I need it. FALSE: We recommend that you have your air conditioning and heating comfort systems serviced twice annually to maintain peak performance. In the same manner as you maintain your automobile with oil changes and timed services to increase its longevity; likewise caring for your comfort equipment will pay you back in steadfast performance for years to come!

Filters? It is really not necessary to change them. FALSE: Warm air (ducted) heating and cooling systems with disposable air filters should be maintained on a monthly basis. A blocked filter will cause excessive energy consumption, obstruct air flow resulting in discomfort or severely reduced air flow and system failure. Likewise, a clean filter can save upwards of 5% on energy consumption. Create an easy to remember schedule of changing your filter and stick to it! Be sure your system is turned off first!

What is the single largest energy consuming appliance in your home? If you have central cooling, it is the air conditioner. If you want to save home energy, first look at the largest energy user. Yes, if it breaks down, you need to call your service person; the air conditioner is a complex piece of machinery. However there are actions you can take to keep the system running and minimize the energy used. These 5 tips are essential to this goal.

Change indoor filter. A dirty air filter blocks air flow, forcing the pressure in the indoor coil to decrease. The compressor in the air conditioner will work harder to achieve the lower pressure; this increases energy use. The amount of cooling also decreases, causing the unit to run longer. Due to the low air flow, rooms at the end of the duct may not get enough air and be warmer. The tendency is to lower the thermostat setting to compensate; more energy wasted. If you have a 4 inch filter, change it each season; once before summer and once before winter. One inch filters may need to be changed each month during peak summer and winter.

Clear debris from outdoor unit. Air must flow freely through the outdoor coil. When unit is operating, place your hand over the top. You should feel a strong warm wind. If not strong or the air is very hot, call your service person. Any debris like grass and leaves can block air flow. The air conditioning compressor must work harder which increases energy use. Capacity also declines, so it must run longer. If the coil is very dirty, do not spray water from your garden hose on the outside of the unit. This will push dirt further into the coil. To clean the coil, follow these steps. Pull the disconnect at the unit and remove the top (do not pull on the wires). Wash from inside out with garden hose. Make sure water drains out the bottom of the unit. Reattach top, re-engage disconnect. If you do not feel comfortable in doing this, then your air conditioning service person can clean your coil.

Look for icing on pipe. Look at the larger of the two copper pipes going into the indoor coil. If you see any ice, then you have a problem. It is normal to have cold water condensed on the pipe, if it gets too cold the water will freeze. This temperature is too low for the air conditioner. Either the air flow is blocked, very dirty filter or worse. Or the unit is low on refrigerant; the likely culprit. It is possible both problems could exist. This icing will not usually cause immediate damage, but if not fixed it can lead to premature failure of your compressor. This is a cost of several thousand dollars for total unit replacement. You cannot fix this yourself; call your air conditioning service company. The cost of a service call to add refrigerant is much lower than replacing the air conditioner.

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