In this tough economy, property owners are more focused than ever on keeping their appliances running well to avoid the cost of having to replace them. There are some relatively easy steps to keep your heating and air conditioning units running well year round.
While there are more electric HVAC units than any other, propane gas, natural gas, or oil heating systems are typical alternatives to electric heat, but require a separate air conditioner powered by electricity. The Heat pump is the standard installation in new home and commercial construction, especially in hot areas where air conditioning is typically installed on all new construction. Such systems are designed to operate economically.
The frugal homeowner faithfully performs such homeowner responsibilities as changing their heating and air conditioning system’s filter monthly or as often as the manufacturers suggest and keeping all accessible parts clean. As all owners’ manuals and all plumbers and HVAC sales people will tell you, just this simple monthly maintenance will substantially extend the life of your heating and air conditioning unit.
Energy conscious homeowners will also make every effort to ensure furniture, appliances, scatter rugs, toys, dog beds or other items do not block their systems intake or return vents throughout the home. It is also a good idea to install filters just inside the intake vents to keep the ductwork free of debris.
Fans, motors, coils and duct work inspection and maintenance is a job for professionals as testing is done with sensitive equipment and ductwork is often located in a crawl space under the house or in the attic. For the air conditioner, most new units should not require that Freon be replaced, but older units might need the Freon levels checked annually to keep the AC working efficiently throughout the hot months of summer.
Annual maintenance plans are highly recommended by manufacturers, distributors and HVAC technicians and plumbers. It is usually less expensive to replace parts or perform routine cleaning and maintenance before a part breaks than afterwards. In addition, most units seem to break when you need them the most, during the coldest of the cold months for the heating units, and the hottest days of summer for the cooling units.
To promote preventive maintenance most manufacturers and their dealers offer service plans which include an annual inspection for less than the cost of a service call. Typically annual maintenance is performed at the home owner’s convenience, and before the unit is actually required to be running.