04-08-2013 10:38 AM - edited 04-08-2013 10:50 AM
Does Spring HVAC Maintenance Make Sense?
By Gina Perry
Is it really important to service your A/C unit at the start of cooling season each year—and then do the same for your furnace in the fall? For me, the answer is definitely “yes.” I fully realize that I’m not a trained HVAC technician, so I want to make sure my family doesn't have any surprises going into heating or cooling season.
I’ve found that when technicians come out for seasonal HVAC maintenance, they really get into the nuts and bolts of the mechanical workings of the system, and in some cases, they’ve found things that need to be addressed that I didn't know about. Identifying these minor problems during a tune-up—before they become major, costly issues—was extremely helpful.
As we approach Spring, The Home Depot, as well as HVAC contractors, will start offering seasonal HVAC tune-ups. Here are some of the most common steps that your technician will take during a tune-up and why they’re important:
- Review visible ductwork for leaks. 30-40 percent of your cooling energy can be lost through leaks or heat when uninsulated ducts pass through uncooled spaces, like garages or attics (source: Consumer Reports). Identifying and repairing any leaky spots in your ductwork will ensure that your system runs more effectively.
- Inspect the indoor blower and motor. Making sure that your unit’s blower provides proper airflow is critical. According to ENERGY STAR®, airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
- Examine the unit’s wiring and electrical connections. Faulty electrical connections can be dangerous. Plus, any wiring malfunction can reduce the lifespan of major components.
- Check the unit’s refrigerant levels. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your A/C unit less efficient. The technician will ensure that the levels are just right.
- Clean a number of components. Most technicians will clean the evaporator and condenser coils. Any build-up in these coils will reduce the unit’s efficiency and performance—meaning it has to work harder to get you proper airflow. They’ll also clean the unit’s drain pan to remove any unnecessary build-up.
After you complete your HVAC tune-up with a professional contractor, think about things that you can also do to make your system more efficient, such as:
- Install a programmable thermostat. When used properly (and depending on the severity of the winters and summers in your area), programmable thermostats can help you achieve a savings of up to $180 on your annual energy bills. This DIY project takes just a few hours and you can learn step-by-step instructions here.
- Program your thermostat for energy savings. Once you have a programmable thermostat, it’s easy to set it so that your A/C or furnace isn’t running full blast when you’re away from home. I do this regularly and it definitely has reduced my monthly utility bills.
- Change your air filter. Dirty air filters can make your system noticeably less efficient. Not to mention, dirty filters can’t properly catch debris, particles, dust and dander. Check out this video to learn how to choose the right air filter. I always try to remember to change my air filters every 90 days.
Taking the time for this bi-annual service call ensures your system runs at optimum levels, giving you greater efficiencies and energy savings. You can trust The Home Depot to take care of your Spring maintenance. Learn more about heating and cooling maintenance.