HVAC maintenance such as a tune-up, costs around $200 on average but this price could fluctuate based on the company, what’s wrong with your HVAC unit, and the model you have. Even accounting for the last time that you had it tuned could affect the price and the work that needs to be done.
HVAC maintenance is crucial in ensuring the lifespan of your unit. If it’s not well-maintained, you could see rises in costs for your bills and this is what homeowners don’t want. AC is a crucial part of home comfort during hot and humid summer days.
In fact, the heat and humidity of summer are one of the main reasons why AC units are so important in homes today. But with all that heat and humidity comes some risk to your air conditioning system – especially when you factor in things like heat indexes and the tendency for more frequent lightning, rains, and storms during this time of year.
The result? An increased likelihood that something will go wrong with your HVAC system if you don’t take some simple precautions ahead of time. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about maintaining your HVAC.
What Is HVAC Maintenance?
HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” When you want to cool your home, you’re using the air conditioner, which is one part of the HVAC system. When you want to warm up your home, you’re using the furnace or boiler, which are two other parts of the HVAC system.
An HVAC system made up of various parts that work together to provide your home with the comfort that you want. A regular maintenance schedule can ensure that everything is working as it should and minimize the chances that you’ll need repairs.
Maintenance in general accounts for the proper handling and inspection of your unit. This can also help to reduce the costs that a malfunctioning unit can cause you to pay within your home and on your bills.
Why Is HVAC Maintenance Important?
HVAC maintenance tips are important because they are what helps your system to cool or warm your home in an efficient way. Maintenance is also important in helping the airflow in your home to spread more at a steady rate to keep your unit from overworking itself. Proper HVAC maintenance can help reduce the chance of needing costly repairs, which can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Routine HVAC maintenance reduces wear and tear on the system, which can extend the lifespan of your equipment and help keep your energy bills in check. Not only can regular HVAC maintenance help prevent costly repairs, but it can also improve the air quality in your home.
Dirty and clogged filters can allow dust, allergens, and other harmful particles to get into your home, which can make your family members more susceptible to illness. Cleaning or replacing your filters can improve your indoor air quality but sometimes more is required. Routine maintenance can also help you avoid emergency repairs, which could end up costing you a lot of money.
If a part of your HVAC system breaks down and you wait too long to have it repaired, it can cause damage to other parts of your system and make the repairs even more expensive. This is something that could eventually result in a unit replacement.
Who Can Perform HVAC Maintenance?
Not all HVAC companies are created equal. In fact, there is a big difference between a company that specializes in HVAC systems and one that doesn’t. If you call a company that specializes in HVAC systems, it’s very likely that they’ll know what you need done and how to do it efficiently.
A contractor who specializes in these systems will know how to clean your air filters and check your ductwork. By the way, you should be having your ductwork professionally checked and cleaned every few years. A professional will also have the proper HVAC equipment.
These specialists will also be able to check and clean the outdoor coils on your system. A specialized contractor is also more likely to be familiar with the electronic controls on your system and how to perform a replacement if it’s needed.
What this means is that some problems your unit may present may not mean there is an issue with your HVAC at all. Some things could be signs of electrical or plumbing problems. This will often call for the need to have an electrician or a licensed plumber come to your home to fix the problem.
Of course, if the issues caused damage to your HVAC, you will need an HVAC technician as well but the main thing is being able to tell who the appropriate person is for what you need.
Think About the Causes of Airflow Issues Within Your Unit
There are multiple things that could cause airflow issues within your HVAC unit. Airflow problems could occur from things like dirty coils, low refrigerant levels, or even issues with your thermostat. You could even be experiencing something as simple as an obstruction in the condenser unit or leaky ducts that might also simply have a blockage.
Let’s take a closer look at some common HVAC issues in terms of airflow and talk about how you can go about identifying those issues and then fixing them. A few other common problems that you might come across are;
- Filters that are clogged
- Blocked vents
- Dirty condenser coils
- Physical damage to the HVAC itself or a component within it
- Closed dampers
As you can see there are a number of things that would cause your HVAC to not work how it should. Some things might require a professional HVAC repair but there are some things that you can do on your own before calling someone to fix the entire unit. So long as there is no obvious damage or threat to your health of course.
Keep a Few More Things in Mind
You’re going to want to keep in mind that if your HVAC goes unchecked for a long period of time, especially if you know that you may have a faulty part or that something is not working as it should, that your unit could stop working altogether. This could be an issue, especially in hotter climates, and of course, there’s the problem of having to pay unexpected funds for something that might have taken a few minutes to fix.
Your HVAC could also have problems due to the pilot or the actual ignition of the unit malfunctioning. You also don’t want to forget about the simple lack of maintenance. Not maintaining your unit can cause significant damage over time.
This is also a top cause of preventable damage. And this is something that could cause a wide range of problems making the issue harder to diagnose once it arises. Simple mechanical wear and tear is another telltale sign of a unit that might need your attention.
If a fuse was blown or if you tripped the breaker on your property, these are also other things that may seem like large issues but they can be fixed in no time. Let’s take a look at how you can identify potential issues before diving into fixing them.
Identify Problems Within Your Unit
Now that we know the different things that could cause your HVAC to work improperly, you should know how to identify those same issues. Learning how to diagnose HVAC problems can save you money and allow you to respond to unit failure a lot faster. There are a few general steps that you’re going to take if you don’t already know what the problem is with your unit.
To start you’re going to;
- Check the power in your home
- Then you will check the thermostat and the batteries in it
- Assess the current state of your filters
- Address any damage to the filters by removing dust and debris or replacing the filter altogether
- If the problem is not the filter, check other main components within the unit for any damage or blockage
- If the issue is still unidentifiable to you, call for expert help
Not all issues are going to be easy to identify if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If the problem has never occurred before, that might make it even more difficult to tell what the issue is causing or where it’s coming from.
Knowing how to troubleshoot these issues can help you form a process of elimination in finding the problem yourself. Once you’ve exhausted all of your troubleshooting efforts, the next best step is to search “hvac companies near me” and call in a professional.
Here Are the Things You Should Look For
There are a few things that you’re going to want to consider looking for when you have an HVAC issue. By using our senses, we are able to tell what’s going on. Make sure that you listen for any unusual noises coming from your furnace. The average lifespan of any home air conditioner will often range from 15 to 20 years on average.
So, if you recently got your HVAC system less than a month ago or even less than five years ago and it’s making noises, this could indicate an internal problem of the unit. The other things you’re going to want to pay attention to are smells. If you are experiencing any foul smells within your home or on your property in general, something could be wrong with your HVAC.
You might be wondering what could cause foul odors especially if you have a central air conditioning unit because central air doesn’t rely on gas to function. While this is true, you could still experience an odor that resembles the smell of exhaust. Oftentimes this is due to damage to the internal motor or cracks within the actual unit.
What this usually means is that your unit is overheating or that the motor in particular is overheating. This could also be a sign of a wiring issue which could cause a need for an electrician to come in.
Periodically, you should inspect all of the wiring to make sure there are no frays or tears in the wiring. This can cause your AC unit to short-circuit, which can be dangerous and expensive to repair.
What Else Causes Possible Bad Odors?
There are still a variety of other things that could be the cause of bad smells within your HVAC. Let’s talk about a few.
One of the first things that may come to mind is that you could have a blockage in a drainage line. Usually, with this, you’ll experience more of a musty or damp smell coming from the air conditioner. This problem often causes an excessive moisture buildup in the HVAC itself.
The water is actually stuck in the air conditioner and this will later cause a stale odor because that moisture is still being pushed through the air ducts throughout your house. When it comes to identifying smells, this is definitely something where a professional would be needed rather than trying to tackle it on your own.
Don’t forget that leaks within your central motor could also cause bad smells. Remember that your central air doesn’t rely on gas. This is an easy issue to identify and all you have to do is turn off the power to the system completely to keep more damage from occurring. If the smell doesn’t go away, this is a sign that you need to call in a professional because this is something that could present wiring issues.
With that, shorts in your motor or the circuit panel could also be causing odd smells. If something smells like gunpowder or as if someone lit a sparkler, this is a sure sign of a circuit panel shortage.
Calling a professional would be the best option for this type of issue as well. The reason for this is to help avoid any additional damage to your property.
Look Past Your Unit
You might want to also look a bit past your unit itself. Consider sewer lines and if they’re clogged or if a dead animal might have gotten caught in the ventilation system. Sewer lines especially if they’re clogged could cause a buildup of odors from methane gasses.
This is usually caused by a pipe within the sewer that is not working how it should. If the sewer line is located anywhere near the air ducts in your home this is how the smell could spread. You’re going to want to call a plumber on this one to make sure that your family isn’t exposed to potential health issues.
But once the sewer lines are actually fixed, they shouldn’t present any more worry. Leaky refrigerant is another potential cause of bad smells and with this, you won’t only notice an odd odor, but you’ll also see a rise in your electric bills. You may also start to feel bad as this could cause health problems if not fixed right away.
Back to Identifying Potential Damage
Odds smells aren’t the only indicators of something being wrong with your HVAC. You’re going to want to pay attention to your energy bills as well.
Changes in your bills could mean that a fan is not working properly, that you have different components blocked or clogged, or that you have a leak. The harder your unit works will often result in more energy being used. This is what causes your bill to rise over time if there is a problem.
If you notice that the airflow from your vents has changed or if there is a complete lack of airflow, this is another sign that you might need to replace your unit altogether. Usually, this is the most common sign of HVAC malfunction as well.
Moisture buildup is another thing that you might see so it’s important to pay attention to what looks normal or abnormal as well as what smells out of place or what seems out of place. These are all ways that you’re going to be able to identify if your unit is experiencing problems or not.
Check for Corrosion, Cracks, and Damage to Your Coils
If your AC unit has outdoor coils, you should check them for damage, especially if you live in a humid climate. You can check the coils by removing the cover from the AC unit. You will be able to see the coils and use a brush to remove any debris that might be on them.
Corrosion and cracks are both signs that your outdoor coils need replaced. Corrosion is often caused by excess humidity in the air. Cracks in the coils can happen due to extreme temperatures.
Corrosion could also occur from a buildup or overuse of pollutants. Using aerosol sprays is an example of this. Even harsh fumes from strong cleaning solutions or paint fumes could be to blame.
You’ll also want to consider that your indoor evaporator coil can also corrode. This usually happens due to VOCs or volatile organic compounds which can be produced through different materials from household supplies to even building materials. If your system’s outdated you will want to have your unit checked as your system could be recirculating air that may already be polluted.
What Does Your HVAC Affect if It Isn’t Maintained?
Installing a new air conditioner or installing a better one will increase the efficiency of your HVAC system, but so will maintaining it. Proper maintenance can include checking up on your filters and making sure that your system’s running properly with no odd noises, smells, or visual damage.
Even if you have a well-maintained AC unit, there are still ways to make it more efficient. A malfunctioning or damaged HVAC can cause a variety of things but bad air quality is one of the primary things. Bad air quality can result in members of your household experiencing;
- Trouble breathing
- General fatigue
A bad HVAC unit can also cause you to experience areas in your home with uneven temperatures which will result in higher bills because this will cause your unit to overwork itself.
Something like using an air filter with a high MERV rating, you can reduce airborne particles and allergens in the air, which can reduce the risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory issues for your family members.
A proper operating heating and cooling system ensures that you can maintain a comfortable temperature in your home year-round. However, if the system is not maintained, it could lead to problems like an excessive energy bill or serious health hazards like carbon monoxide poisoning.
Because HVAC systems are so important to the health and safety of your family, it’s important to make sure they are running properly.
Finding High-Quality Service When You Need It
A damaged HVAC and lack of HVAC maintenance, cause homeowners a number of problems. From bad air quality and potential sickness to high energy bills and uneven temperatures throughout their homes. Working with a mechanical service provider that can handle it all like Schneider Mechanical, can help ensure the safety of your home and family.
We provide repairs and maintenance 24/7 and offer a variety of services from new installations to ventilation and air conditioning. Reach out to our team today to see how we can optimize the performance of your HVAC.