If you compare the cost of an annual HVAC service inspection with that of a typical repair, you could be saving hundreds of dollars. As with any expensive and well-used piece of equipment, maintenance is crucial to efficiency and longevity.
Did you know that you should be spending more money on regular preventative HVAC service than repairs? If you compare your climate control system to your car, you know that you’re better off spending a few hundred dollars a year for oil changes, tune-ups, and brake pad replacement rather than a thousand or more on an overpriced repair job. Not only will your system last longer, but you won’t be stuck sweating in the middle of the summer or freezing on the coldest day in winter because you’re waiting on parts delivery. Less than a hundred dollars a year can keep your air conditioner and heater running smoothly for the next five to ten without the hassle of major repairs or new installation.
When an HVAC service professional arrives, he will perform a variety of tests and checks to ensure that your system is working at its full potential. One of the simplest but most important components he will check and likely replace is the air filter. New filters are inexpensive, but they must be the right size to prevent leaking air and sealed within the frame so it will keep tight. Larger systems use multiple filters, so each one should be inspected and replaced if necessary. The filter traps debris and dust, preventing it from circulating through the air. When clogged, not only will it work inefficiently, but also it can cause damage to other mechanisms. Additional maintenance should be fluid checks and changes, ensuring they are topped off correctly and the proper liquid is used. Belts should be inspected and changed if necessary and electrics should be tested.
There are other HVAC inspection checks that need to be performed every two to three years such as boiler and duct cleaning, pilot light testing, and cleaning of the air handler coils. Failing to include these tasks can greatly reduce the efficiency of your system, and the more energy your system expends the higher your bills will rise. Monitoring the expected output of your system and comparing it at regular intervals can also guarantee that everything is continuing to run at maximum performance. Habitual diagnostics can catch small hitches long before they begin to alter the functioning of the system.
If you simply can’t afford regular maintenance calls, you can reduce costs with a little DIY. As long as you can obtain a copy of your system’s original manual (if you can’t locate it, contact the company via internet or phone to have one mailed out to you) you can perform some simple but crucial tasks such as checking the air filter, cleaning obstructions from the vents, and monitoring the fluid levels. Also be sure to keep manufacturer and seller warranties handy as well. Many times they will cover the costs of parts and even labor in some cases depending on how long you’ve owned the system. You will, however , be required to use a technician approved by the company or else you might void the contract and not be entitled to any future compensation for repairs.