So, You’re Convinced You Don’t Need Routine Maintenance Service for Your HVAC System
We’re here to tell you why you do!
How often do you think about the number of blankets in your house? Or how many ice cubes are in your freezer? Before the conveniences offered by modern HVAC, these concerns were more critical to consider before moving into the hot months or the cold months. Such supplies could mean the difference between an unbearable season or a manageable one.
Today, we are able to depend on our air conditioners and furnaces. As perhaps the most crucial element in the process of sustaining a livable climate, our homes’ heating and air conditioning systems work tirelessly through the hottest days of summer and the bitter cold of winter to maintain a moderate temperature inside, regardless of the temperature outside. Even with that in mind, many homeowners are still surprised at how important it is to perform regular maintenance to keep these systems in tip-top shape.
Let’s face it, your furnace and air conditioner may be working perfectly now. But, if you haven’t had them serviced recently, you’ll never know when a problem might arise. What happens if those units fail? Are there enough blankets to keep everyone warm on a cold day without heat?
Air conditioning and heating systems can go belly up for any number of reasons. The repercussions for that failure can mean days, even weeks of discomfort.
Routine preventive maintenance conducted by a qualified HVAC technician is the best way to ensure uninterrupted comfort no matter what’s going on with the outside weather. The components of your HVAC system wear with use and time. So, they need to be inspected, cleaned and adjusted to ensure optimal performance. There simply isn’t a better way to keep your HVAC system in shape other than via routine maintenance service.
How often should professional maintenance occur? You should be scheduling maintenance services at least once a year. Either in the fall in preparation for winter, or in the spring in preparation for summer. If you choose not to do so, you’re only putting your heating and cooling system at risk of system failure.
STOP! HOLD EVERYTHING!
We can hear that nagging part of your brain still telling you that this isn’t necessary. “Once a year? That seems pretty extreme. Everything is working fine. What’s the point in putting more money into it?”
Fact is, routine maintenance does indeed make a difference and numerous research studies demonstrate it.
For example, the EPA reported that “a build-up of just 1/100th of an inch of dirt or film on an evaporator coil can reduce its efficiency by 5 percent.” Moreover, “a build up of .042 inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease in efficiency of 21 percent.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “a dirty condenser coil can increase compressor energy consumption by 30 percent.”
Moreover, as you might expect, this research is not limited to government work. In 2015, 636 tune-ups were performed in Arkansas under the utility sponsored CoolSave Program, which resulted in energy efficiency rating increases of 13 percent to 18 percent.
A product manager for Nu-Calgon noted in a recent HVAC trade magazine, “Dirty condenser coils increase power costs. When the coil becomes fouled with dirt and grime, it cannot provide adequate or designed heat transfer. Equipment operating with dirty coils may use as much as 37 percent more energy than equipment with clean coils.”
Space here precludes our describing the many studies by Proctor Engineering for PG&E, Florida Energy Center research, the Texas A&M research into the impact of dirty blowers and undercharged systems, Honeywell studies on the impact of coil cleanliness, and so on.
In short, every other empirical study shows that dirty coils cost energy and maintenance tune-ups pay for themselves. It’s not just “a bit of conventional wisdom.”
HVAC fact: John Gorrie is considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning. He was a doctor in Florida and, in 1842, he developed a machine to make ice. Gorrie used the ice to create cool air for his patients. He envisioned that the ice making device could be used to cool homes and other buildings. He was granted a patent in 1851. However, he lost his financial backing and died a pauper in 1855.
You might still wonder how regular maintenance directly benefits you.
Maintenance lowers your energy bills.
- When you keep maintenance service up to par, you’ll always heat/cool your home at the highest efficiency levels possible. A study conducted by the National Institute of Building Design Sciences concluded that HVAC maintenance saves between 10 and 40 percent of costs and emissions from these systems. That’s a huge amount. By keeping your system cleaned and lubricated, your HVAC technician is making sure that your heating and cooling equipment can run efficiently and perform optimally year-round. Over time, those savings can easily make up for maintenance service costs.
Extends your HVAC system lifespan.
- Taking care of your HVAC system means it takes care of you. When a system and all its components are running at peak performance, they don’t have to work as hard, meaning it will last much longer than a poorly maintained one.
Minor HVAC issues, like frozen coils can continue and build up. They can lead to much more significant problems in your heating and air conditioning units.
- In fact, when certain issues remain and worsen, they can lead to HVAC replacement. Investing in routine maintenance service can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in massive HVAC repair or replacement.
Annual check-ups can uncover problems with your system that could present a potential hazard to your family’s health.
- For example, something wrong is wrong with your furnace and you don’t catch it. Something like that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and harm you and your family.
Imagine running your dishwasher for at least six to eight hours of the day, every day of the year. Seems like a lot of use for an appliance, right? Well, your HVAC system is consistently doing its thing throughout the year.
- This happens especially when the weather is at the most extreme temperatures. For this reason, it’s important to get your systems inspected and maintained on a yearly basis. In some cases, there might be need for a slight adjustment or small repair. But, you’ll never know if you’re not getting them inspected.
HVAC fact: Air conditioning in the U.S. uses the same amount of energy as it takes to power the entire continent of Africa, and that’s just air conditioning alone.
There are some things you can do yourself.
The majority of HVAC maintenance should be handled by professionals. However, performing an occasional visual inspection is a great way to catch any warning signs of a potential problem. Here are several simple, yet important self-maintenance tips.
- Check, clean or replace your filter every 60 to 90 days. Would you use the same water filter for a year? Of course not. An air filter is no different. Once you start doing this, you’ll see how dirty they can get. This is noticeable especially if you haven’t changed the filter in a while. Once you see all that dirt, it’ll be easy to remember to change your filter.
- Make sure to clean the outdoor portion of your HVAC system. If you notice dirt accumulating, hose off the unit.
- Clean debris from the outside of your system. Leaves, twigs and dirt can block airflow so make sure to remove those any time you see them. Also, keep all foliage at least 18 inches away from the HVAC unit.
- Make sure supply and return registers are not blocked by furniture, rugs or drapes.
- According to the Department of Energy, you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees F. during the summer and 68 degrees during the winter. Lower the temperature when you’re sleeping or away from home for further efficiency and energy savings. Plus, make sure your thermostat always has fresh batteries.
HVAC fact: Studies conducted by American researchers show that the chances of dying due to extremely hot temperatures have decreased by more than 80 percent over the last 50 years in the advent of air conditioning.
The value of regular HVAC maintenance plans
Your HVAC system takes on a huge job and the demand placed on it can take its toll. From dust and debris to general wear and tear, your system will begin to perform poorly over time without regular maintenance. Maintenance plans address your needs both for furnace and air conditioner repair. This is critical to your peace of mind and comfort in the coming seasons.
When you compare the costs of a seasonal maintenance plan to the likely costs of major repairs that an overlooked HVAC system might need, it’s easy to appreciate the cost savings. The HVAC maintenance agreement fee is minor compared to the costs you might encounter for major, complicated repairs that often happen during the most inconvenient time. Not to mention the money you’re paying for a maintenance agreement is well worth the irritation you’ll avoid and discomfort you’ll experience if your HVAC system were to go belly up during a time when you need it most.
It’s important to note that maintenance isn’t a one and done deal. Just like your vehicle or other major appliance, your HVAC system needs reliable, consistent care to ensure optimum performance. With a maintenance plan, you can be sure your system is always taken care of. You can also be sure that your needs are being met by a certified professional.
That’s where we come in!
Over the years, the professionals at Phillips Heating & Air Conditioning have serviced more HVAC systems than we can count. That means we have the experience necessary to find potential issues before they become serious problems. It also enables us to make informed recommendations as to how to resolve the issue at hand.
If you’ve overlooked regular maintenance and a problem suddenly pops up, don’t fret. Just give us a call and we’ll dispatch one of our experienced pros to identify and fix whatever happens to be wrong with your furnace or air conditioner.
The dedicated team of technicians at Phillips are interested in one main goal: exceeding your expectations when it comes to HVAC service. We know exactly what to look for when it comes to heating and cooling system maintenance. We utilize a detailed inspection process to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. For cleaning furnace exteriors and heat exchangers to inspecting condenser coils and wiring, you can count on our team of professionals to extend the life of your system and boost your energy efficiency.
Learn more about Phillips Heating & Cooling maintenance plans.
There’s a reason so many people in Pittsburgh trust Phillips Heating & Air Conditioning for their HVAC maintenance: we value quality customer service and are committed to doing the job right the first time, every time.