Question: How often do you think you should have your HVAC serviced by an experienced contractor?
Once a year?
Every 5 years?
Only when it stops working?
A good HVAC maintenance plan calls for a comprehensive check on your entire AC system by an experienced contractor every three to six months.
There are 2 main reasons this maintenance schedule is recommended:
- To make sure your system is running smoothly, at its maximum capacity, and its minimum energy consumption, BEFORE you really need to use it.
- You are likely to get a more timely service if you arrange it for before service technicians get busy in heavy air conditioning season.
Regular HVAC service can be compared to regular car maintenance: you can pay a little bit for routine service or wait and pay a hefty amount for major ac repairs. Many people wait until their air conditioner is making a strange noise or isn’t running properly before they call for service but costly ac repairs can be avoided by preventing a problem before it starts.
Even if your air conditioner seems to be running smoothly, it can lose about 5% of its operational efficiency every year. According to energy.gov, regularly servicing a a unit will maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency. This means that the cost of a regular service is quickly recovered in savings on your monthly electricity bill as well as reduced repair costs. A properly serviced air conditioner will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home
What does regular HVAC maintenance entail?
A service technician looks at and listens to your air conditioning system closely. Typically, maintenance includes:
- Check for correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wea
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat
- While it may be tempting to investigate and try to fix AC problems yourself, more often than not, taking matters into your own hands can cause more harm than good. There are, however, ways to assist a licensed contractor with his/her inspection and repair of your AC unit.
How to prepare for your service call
- Clean any dirt, leaves and debris outside the main cabinet.
- Inspect the base pan for blocked drain openings.
- Inspect the coil and cabinet for any holes and leaks.
- Inspect the fan blades while they’re in motion and stationary to determine wear and damage.
- Inspect and clean outside of control box associated with unit.
- Clean or replace filters.
- Check for leaks in the ductwork.
- Check for any unusual odors when your system starts.
- Listen for abnormal noises when your system starts.
- Inspect your control box wiring and connections.
What are the benefits of regular service?
All major equipment needs routine maintenance to keep it running reliably. Regular servicing of your air conditioner will provide you with a number of benefits, such as:
- Improved efficiency
- Chances of a costly, major breakdown at the worse time will be reduced
- Lifespan of the unit will be prolonged
- Your comfort will be increased
- Energy efficiency that translates to lower bills
Have more questions about maintenance and AC repairs?
Contact Gator Air and Energy for more information or to schedule your next maintenance appointment.