beyond air filters why hvac maintenance is important

Beyond Air Filters: Why HVAC Maintenance is Important

March 25, 2015

Just as your car needs its regular tune-up, your heating and cooling system also needs regularly scheduled maintenance in order to function properly. It’s the only way your HVAC system can deliver consistent comfort to your Mount Pleasant home throughout its life span. You should have your HVAC system serviced at least once per year or, ideally, once before summer and again prior to winter.

Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t go beyond changing the air filter under the assumption that a HVAC system is somehow maintenance-free. Even the most reliable of heating and cooling systems can fall apart under severe neglect. The following explains in simple terms why regular HVAC maintenance is so important for keeping your system operating at its best.

Regular Maintenance Ensures Long System Life

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average HVAC system offers a 15- to 20-year life cycle, while a gas or oil furnace is capable of lasting up to 25 years. Regular HVAC maintenance ensures that your system lives up to its potential. When that maintenance isn’t being performed, you can expect a much shorter lease on its life depending on the level of neglect.

Neglecting your HVAC system can also be a costly endeavor. Not taking advantage of regular maintenance could easily add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your cumulative operating costs throughout the life of the system.

A Well-Maintained HVAC System Performs Better

Keeping your HVAC system in good shape also means improving its energy efficiency and keeping your energy costs low. HVAC system issues that go unaddressed can cause greater wear and tear on your system, resulting in more energy needed to deliver the same amount of comfort than a comparatively better-kept system. Increased energy usage leads to increased energy bills over time, resulting in higher running costs.

Keep in mind that HVAC system expenses account for as much as 50 percent of a typical household’s energy budget. Regularly scheduled maintenance goes a long way in reducing expenses while improving overall performance.

What You Can Do

HVAC maintenance goes beyond just changing the air filter. It also involves a number of other crucial steps that ensure smooth and long-lasting operation, as well as improved comfort. The following HVAC maintenance tasks can be done on your own:

  • Use a wet/dry vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove dust and debris from the air registers and return air vents throughout your home.
  • Open the indoor HVAC cabinet and check the evaporator coil for signs of mold and mildew growth. If you see growth, use a foaming no-rinse cleaner specifically formulated for HVAC systems to remove the growth.
  • Check the condensation drain pan for mold and mildew. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any standing water and unclog the drain tube. Add a cup of bleach down the drain to kill any lingering mold.
  • Keep the top and bottom edges of the outdoor HVAC cabinet clear of vegetation and debris. Use a garden hose to rinse dust and debris off the condenser coil located within the outdoor cabinet.

What to Expect From an HVAC Contractor

Although there are plenty of things you can do to your HVAC system on your own, the complexity of today’s heating and cooling units means there are many tasks that require a professional’s touch. Here are some of the tasks you can expect your contractor to perform during a routine HVAC maintenance call:

  • Carefully listen to the HVAC system as it operates and isolate any strange noises that occur
  • Measure current refrigerant levels and adjust accordingly
  • Inspect and clean the blower fan blades as needed
  • Lubricate the blower fan motor and other moving parts
  • Check for gas and refrigerant leaks
  • Clean and adjust the burner assembly as needed
  • Inspect all ignition system and safety controls
  • Inspect portions of the heating system for signs of corrosion
  • Check the ductwork for any cracks or gaps that could interfere with conditioned air flow
  • Inspect the HVAC electrical system for proper operation
  • Check the compressor and its associated tubing for wear and tear

Don’t forget that if you’re not comfortable with performing DIY care and upkeep tasks, you can also have your contractor perform those steps, as well.

Learn more about HVAC maintenance available from Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning or contact us today at (843) 277-6030 to schedule your maintenance appointment!

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