Performing routine maintenance on your residential cooling system can help you save money on utility bills all year. Get ahead of the game and hire a professional before the summer or fall when HVAC maintenance peaks.
It typically costs between $75-$150 to have a technician do maintenance. Here are the main tasks All Temp Air Conditioning & Refrigeration professionals will perform on your system.
Check Your Filters
If you want to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and prevent airflow problems, you must check the filters regularly. Clogged or unchanged filters are one of the most common reasons why cooling systems break down. This is especially true in homes with pets and people suffering from allergies.
Ideally, you should check your filter once a month and change it as soon as you notice a significant buildup of dust or dirt. If you have a lot of family members with allergies, it’s a good idea to switch to a filter that has higher ratings as these types can remove a larger percentage of the offending particulates than lower-rated ones.
When you’re shopping for a new filter, make sure that you select one that matches the specifications of your unit and is designed to fit snugly into place to ensure proper filtration. You can usually find the specifications for your system printed on the filter itself. Using a calendar or day planner can help you remember to do this maintenance task, and some systems offer reminders with an alarm that sounds when it’s time for a change.
In addition to lowering energy bills, properly maintained filters can keep your home healthier by preventing airborne contaminants from circulating throughout the house. For this to happen, though, you must regularly check and replace your filters. Keeping on top of this simple maintenance task will help you avoid costly repairs in the future. Many companies that provide residential cooling maintenance also offer maintenance plans that include yearly tune-ups and automated reminders to let you know when your service is due.
Clean The Condenser
The condenser coil is an important component of your AC system that helps release heat from your house into the air. However, dirt and debris build up on the coils, reducing their efficiency and hindering their ability to release heat effectively. Therefore, cleaning the condenser is a critical part of residential cooling maintenance that can save you money and ensure your unit runs as smoothly as possible.
To clean the condenser, first make sure the appliance is turned off. Then, remove the bottom kickplate (it should snap off easily). Use a vacuum cleaner’s crevice tool attachment or a coil brush to remove pet hair, dust, and dirt from the coils. If you’re using a chemical coil cleaner, follow the instructions on the label and apply it to the exterior of the condenser. Once the cleaner is applied, let it sit for a few minutes before using the coil brush to scrub the coils. Finally, rinse the coils with a garden hose.
In addition to reducing energy consumption, regularly cleaning the condenser can also help prevent clogs. Clogged coils force the AC to work overtime to keep your home cool, resulting in higher electricity bills and a shorter lifespan for your unit.
Dirty condenser coils are also a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other contaminants that circulate in your home’s air. This pollution can lead to a variety of health problems, including asthma and allergies. In addition, if your refrigerator has a fan-cooled condenser, the aluminum fins can become bent over time, which restricts airflow and leads to excessive moisture that can discolor walls or carpets. To prevent this, trim back or clear away any foliage that might be growing nearby, and make a point of cleaning the area around your refrigerator regularly.
Check Your Ductwork
The ductwork is a crucial part of your home’s heating and cooling system, responsible for distributing conditioned air throughout your structure. Ducts that are dirty, clogged, or damaged will restrict airflow and cause uneven temperatures in different rooms of your house. This is why duct maintenance is so important to ensure that your home’s HVAC system operates as efficiently as possible.
One surefire sign that your ducts need cleaning is seeing visible dust inside your vent covers. You should also pay attention to how your ductwork sounds. If you hear rattling and other odd noises as air passes through it, this could be a sign of problems like leaks or clogs.
Leaky ducts can be costly. They waste cooled and heated air, which raises energy bills and contributes to stuffy rooms. An experienced technician can perform a blower door test to see if your ducts are leaking and then seal them to save you money and improve your home’s comfort.
Another common reason to have your ducts cleaned is after significant renovation work. Even if you take precautions to limit the amount of dust and debris that enters your home during remodeling, some will still make its way into your ductwork.
If your ducts are contaminated with mold or have other problems, it’s time to call an HVAC specialist for help. In some cases, you’ll need to have your ducts cleaned and sealed before they can be properly restored. Avoid the temptation to try to solve the problem yourself by using duct mastic sealant or other chemical treatments, as these can exacerbate the issue and lead to further damage. Contact a professional to learn more about how often your ducts need to be cleaned and how they can be repaired or replaced to achieve optimal performance.
Inspect Your Insulation
Home insulation is designed to keep heat in during winter and cold air out during summer, reducing the burden on HVAC systems. Insufficient or damaged insulation, however, can hurt energy efficiency and overall home comfort. That’s why it’s important to inspect your insulation.
During an inspection, a professional will determine what type of insulation is in your home. Fiberglass insulation, for example, typically looks like cotton batting while cellulose and rockwool have a more fibrous, pebbly appearance. The professional will also evaluate attic ventilation to ensure there is adequate airflow. Insufficient attic ventilation can lead to excessive attic temperatures, causing shingles to age prematurely and potentially causing moisture problems in the attic.
The professional will check for gaps in the attic’s insulation and around electrical wiring, as well as wet spots in the corners of the attic that indicate roof leaks. They may also evaluate whether the vapor retarder is intact, as water vapor intrusion into insulation can reduce its effectiveness, increase rates of corrosion, and encourage mold growth.
Home inspectors are required to visually examine all areas of a home’s insulation that are easily accessible, including the walls, attic, and roof. They’re also trained to recognize damaged insulation such as mildew and mold, which promote the degradation of insulating materials and significantly lower their R-values. They will pay special attention to insulation near chimneys, vents, and turbine fans as they are more susceptible to moisture damage. In addition, they will evaluate the condition of insulation near crawl spaces, if any are present, and the attic floor, if at all possible. They will also check for the presence of vermiculite, as it can be a health hazard to those who live in the house and pose a safety risk when disturbed.
It is important to choose a qualified contractor for your house heating and cooling needs. The contractor should have experience in dealing with HVAC problems and should have certification. It is best to hire a professional who is certified in the brand of the system you are buying. This way, you can be assured that your house will remain comfortable all year round. And, if you’re not sure about the installer, you can contact them 24/7.
Before you buy a house, it’s important to hire a professional to install the heating and cooling system. Depending on the type of device, the installation may last from a few hours to a day. It’s important to be home when the installation is performed and to be aware of any issues that may arise. A licensed technician can also check the gas supply in your home. These are all important factors to consider when buying a new HVAC system.