Your HVAC system is like any other major appliance in your home. Without performing proper regular maintenance, it will be more prone to breakdowns and likely won’t last as long as it could have if you cared for it properly.
Many people see annual furnace & air conditioner inspections as an unnecessary hassle, but they can actually save you money in the long run by identifying potential problems early and extending the life of your system.
We get a lot of people asking us whether seasonal furnace checkups are really necessary. Our answer is definitely yes. We’ve put together this important furnace maintenance guide to help you properly care for your system all year long.
HVAC Maintenance for Homeowners
Not all HVACe checkups need to be performed by a professional. As a homeowner, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to keep your system functioning properly and prolong its life.
- Perform visual inspections: The most basic maintenance you can perform is just a simple inspection of your furnace and air conditioning units. Things you’ll want to look for include damage, water leaks or frozen coils, loose electrical connections, or any strange sounds or odors emanating from your units. If you notice anything out of the ordinary make sure to contact an HVAC professional.
- Keep outdoor units free of debris: Make sure your outdoor unit is free of debris and overgrown grown foliage throughout the year. Clear debris away from your unit as needed and trim back grass and shrubs so they are at least a foot away.
- Clean off dirt: Hose down your outdoor unit when you notice dirt and pollen starting to accumulate.
- Change your air filter: Air filters should be changed at least every quarter and ideally every month. You can remove the filter to see if it needs changing. Just make sure to turn your unit off before performing your inspection.
- Adjust your thermostat as needed: Adjusting your thermostat to the correct temperature will not only help save you money, it can also prevent your HVAC system from overloading. Monitor your temperature throughout the year and keep it at a setting that allows you to be comfortable while not putting too much strain on your system.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance Service Twice Per Year
It’s recommended to have a professional perform an HVAC checkup twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
In the spring, have a professional inspect your air conditioning unit and ensure everything is in working order before temperatures start to rise. Do the same thing with your furnace in the fall to make sure you’re prepared for the cold winter weather.
The last thing you want is your air conditioner to break down in the middle of a heat wave, or your furnace to die when it’s -20° C outside. By scheduling regular furnace maintenance service you can rest assured your system will always be functioning properly when you need it most.
What Do HVAC Professionals Check During an Annual Inspection?
HVAC systems are complicated devices and there are all sorts of components that professionals need to inspect in order to keep them running properly. While there are many things homeowners can do themselves, other tasks require a great deal of knowledge and the right tools in order to be done correctly.
Here are some of the things your HVAC technician will check during an inspection.
- Thermostat Calibration: By checking the thermostat’s calibration your technician will be able to see if it’s reading the temperature correctly and can make any adjustments that are needed.
- Electrical Connections: Over time, electrical connections can become loose or even disconnected. This can cause issues in your HVAC system’s operation and can prevent it from working altogether. Your technician will check all your connections and take voltage readings to ensure everything is functioning properly.
- Lubrication: HVAC systems have a number of moving parts that require lubrication in order to work correctly. A lack of lubrication can lead to overheating and your entire system failing. Your technician will ensure all moving parts are properly lubricated.
- Condensate Drain: Air conditioners and condensing furnaces produce condensate as they run. This condensate is collected in a pan and then diverted into a drain pipe where it’s transferred outside. Like all pipes, this drain pipe is prone to blockages, which can cause the pan to overflow. Your technician will inspect the drain pan and pipe to ensure there are no blockages in the system.
- System Controls: Your technician will check the controls and put your system through its start cycle, operation, and shut-off sequence to make sure everything is functioning properly.
- Blower: A blower that’s not working correctly can drastically decrease the efficiency of an HVAC system. Your technician will clean and adjust your blower as needed to keep your system functioning at optimal levels.
- Evaporator and Condenser Coils: Air conditioners depend on evaporator and condenser coils to cool air and remove warm air. However, when these coils get covered in dust they become far less efficient, making it more difficult for your A/C unit to do its job. Your technician will clean all your coils, which keeps your energy bills down and prolongs the life of your air conditioner.
- Refrigerant: Air conditioners also need refrigerant to cool a house properly. Your refrigerant levels may start to decline over time, possibly due to a leak in the system. Your technician will check the refrigerant levels, recharge your system, and repair any leaks they might find.
- Fuel Line Connections: All furnaces require some form of fuel. A faulty connection can cause gases to escape, creating a serious fire hazard in your home. Your technician will ensure all your connections are safe and secure to keep you and your family safe.
- Gas Pressure, Burner Combustion, and Heat Exchanger: Whatever heat source your furnace uses, you want to make sure it’s running properly to keep your system efficient and cost-effective. Your technician will inspect your furnace to make sure everything is in order and working the way it should be.
Annual HVAC Inspection Benefits
As we’ve seen, there are a number of good reasons why you should perform regular HVAC checkups on your system. Here are a few more benefits you’ll enjoy by maintaining your system properly:
Lower Electrical Costs
Just because your HVAC system is working doesn’t mean it’s working as well as it could be. As we’ve seen already, there are a number of issues that can cause your system’s efficiency to decline. And when that happens, your furnace or air conditioner has to work harder in order to maintain your home’s desired temperature. By performing regular maintenance you’ll ensure your system is always operating at peak efficiency, which will keep your energy bills down.
Fewer Breakdowns and Repairs
HVAC breakdowns don’t happen randomly. Generally, they start as a small problem that slowly escalates until it causes your entire system to stop working. By checking your system regularly you’ll be more likely to notice if something isn’t working quite right. You can then solve the problem yourself, or call an HVAC professional to resolve the issue before it becomes more serious and requires a costly repair.
Longer Operating Life
Every breakdown or malfunctioning part decreases the life of your system. By performing annual HVAC inspections you’ll lessen the overall strain on your system which not only helps it operate better, but will also increase its lifespan.
Any device that uses electricity or gas to function is a safety hazard if they malfunction, and HVAC systems are no different. Gas leaks and short circuits can lead to fire, and a carbon monoxide leak can put your family’s health at risk. By properly maintaining your HVAC system you’ll greatly reduce the chance of any of this happening.
Romaniuk HVAC Maintenance Memberships
As you can see, performing essential HVAC maintenance is critical to keeping your system running properly. That’s why we’ve introduced our maintenance memberships. For just a small monthly fee you can have the Romaniuk team at your disposal all year long.
You can choose from our Furnace Membership, A/C Membership, or Family Plan which includes both furnace and A/C servicing. All plans include 10% off on repair calls, 5% off on new equipment, and annual checks of your HVAC system. You’ll also enjoy front-of-the-line service to ensure any repairs are dealt with as soon as possible.
If you’re interested in signing up for one of for our membership plans please contact us. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.