There is no getting around the fact that an HVAC system is a major investment. It doesn’t matter if you are buying a packaged unit, a ductless, or a split, you are making a huge investment that should sustain you and your family for the upcoming years. Of course, this is likely something that’ll likely require some diligence and work on your part. Don’t just buy a system and expect it to last for years and years without any work on your part. The average HVAC system should last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, and since most warranties are only good for 10, you’ll want to know some tips and tricks and can help you get the most out of your unit.
In addition to this, the better your system runs, the more you’ll save on your energy bills. When it comes right down to it, the key to a long air conditioner life cycle is preventive maintenance. Most people fail because they only apply the break-fix approach to their unit, meaning they only have the unit serviced when it breaks down. While this seems practical, it is not the best way to get the most out of your unit.
Carefully Building A Relationship With A Local Provider
There are no two ways about it, at some point, you are going to need the assistance of a trained HVAC tech. Whether it is help tracking down an electrical short or buying refrigerant, you’ll need a trained and certified professional to do so. Choosing the right provider could make all the difference in the world, as some providers do not hold themselves and their employees to the same standards as others. You’ll also want a provider that is well-established within the community. Someone that will depend on word of mouth for their business. This means they’ll care much more about the type of job they do.
It also helps if you choose a company that holds its employees to higher standards. Look for a company that offers continuing education as well as the utilization of new technologies. Once you have found a company you like, build, and foster a relationship with them because it’ll pay off in the long run. You’ll not only become a preferred customer but you’ll be put at higher standards than others. Start with a preventive maintenance contract, which is usually offered by most New York HVAC companies. It means the company will come out twice a year to maintain the unit and get it ready for the upcoming seasons. They’ll come out once before the winter and once before the summer.
This is something that might also entitle you to discounts if you need parts or service.
Speaking of preventive maintenance, there is nothing that’ll keep your system running as it should better than seasonal tune-ups. Think of a tune-up for a vehicle. Oil change, filter change, spark plug check and adjustment, electrical tightening, and fluid checks. They are pretty much similar things that your friendly HVAC tech will do. He or she will also clean the unit and keep it free of debris. These functions are fairly cheap when offered by a local company and they’ll usually include:
A comprehensive inspection
A thorough cleaning
Calibration of the thermostats
Lubrication of all essential moving parts
A measurement of the supply and return temperatures
A measurement of the refrigerant levels
An Emphasis On Home Energy Efficiency
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how well you care for your system, there will come a time when it succumbs to natural wear and tear or breakdown. This means that your number one goal really should just be to limit the amount of wear and tear your unit experiences over the years. You virtually want your system to work as easily as possible to produce the desired results. If your system is having to strain and strain to produce desired temperatures, you can imagine it won’t be good on the internal components. The less hard your system works, the longer it’ll keep producing. Not only this but the better it will produce. If you’ve never heard of a home energy audit or had one done, now is the time.
This is something that you’ll also want to do yearly or at least every few years. It’ll help you keep your system up-to-date and you well aware of the potential issues.
Regular Filter And Vent Inspection
You don’t have to be a do-it-yourself or a maintenance guru to know and understand that filters are essential. These devices keep dirt and debris from entering into crucial parts of a system. They’ll do the same for your heating and air system. However, after months and months of collecting dirt and debris, the filter will be so backed up that it’ll cut off all airflow, which won’t be good for your unit or your home. Luckily, this is something that can be corrected with a simple filter change. Some filters can be washed or dusted out, while some will need to be completely changed.
The time variation in which you change your filter will also depend on the type of filtration system that you are using as well as the cleanliness of the system. Some people have high-energy efficient filters that only need changing every 6 months or every year. Some people only have filters that need changing monthly. Whatever the situation, you’ll want to make sure you keep a diligent check on the filter because once it becomes clogged up, it’ll block out airflow. Keeping your filters clean will provide optimal airflow.
Maintain The Outside Equipment
Not only do you need to keep the filter clear of debris, but you need to keep the outside equipment free of debris as well, also known as the condenser coil. This is the part of the unit that transfers the heat to the outdoors or the cool during the heating cycle. Luckily, this is something that your friendly, neighborhood tech will do during his maintenance visit or tune-up. In addition to this, you’ll want to be diligent with decorations and fences. A lot of homeowners like to cover up the condensing units with shrubs, decorations, and fences. There is nothing at all wrong with this, but the condenser needs to breathe. If it doesn’t have proper breathing room, it’ll suffocate.
A good general rule to apply is keeping at least a three-foot clearance around the unit. If you get too close with fences or other items, it’ll just cause the heat that the unit expels to be discharged back on the unit itself. The hotter the unit runs, the harder it’ll have to work to maintain and satisfy temperatures in the home. Simply meaning, more wear and tear on your system due to harder working. Sun should also be a major concern as well. If your unit is located right in direct sunlight, you might want to consider some kind of awning of shade. Once again, just be careful with installing the structure too close because the condenser fan also needs to discharge air properly.
Maintaining The Cleanliness Of The Ductwork
The ductwork is one of the most overlooked parts of an HVAC system. Most people forget that the ductwork is part of the system, which is why there are usually so many problems associated with the systems. Your ductwork is the actual part of the system that distributes air in the home. Think about your vents. Your vent in your living room, the one in your bedroom, and the one that returns the air to your system. This is your ductwork and without this part of the system, your unit would virtually be useless. That being said, ductwork develops and accumulates dirt and debris over time.
Most people don’t consider cleaning the ductwork as part of the HVAC maintenance schedule, but doing so will provide you with two important benefits. The first is that it will greatly improve the overall air indoor quality. The second is that it’ll also provide an assessment of the system at the same time. Your ductwork is a mechanical device and like anything mechanical, some parts will wear down over time and need replacement. When they are going the cleaning, the techs will uncover the issues, if there are any.
Get Yourself A Smart Thermostat
With all the new technology available and the sheer number of people taking advantage of it, you’ve likely heard talk about a smart thermostat. Maybe you’ve even toiled with the idea of getting one for your home or office. Whatever the situation, you can’t go wrong with the investment according to the EPA. The EPA research says that by using a smart thermostat, you can save as much as thirty percent on your electrical costs. Without a smart thermostat, you are not only throwing good money down the drain, but you are forcing your already overworked system to work harder and longer than it needs to.
The neat thing about these smart thermostats is, they come equipped with a day, afternoon, evening, and night mode, as well as a weekend and vacation mode that all you to customize temperatures. The system will efficiently transition between them, lower and raising temperatures when needed. Why does your system need to heat and cool when you are away? It doesn’t and that’s the beauty of a smart thermostat. It’ll make sure the building is heated or cooled when you arrive while also making sure the system doesn’t run when it doesn’t need to.
Zoning Might Work For You!
You may have never heard of zoning, but it’s not a new concept. It’s something that’s been around for a long time. It’s just been underutilized. Zoning means setting up your system so that it’s broken up into zones. Your bedroom would be a zone, the living room could be a zone, and your kid’s bedrooms could be other zones. You can have as many zones as you want and each zone will have its own personal thermostat. A system like this will truly allow you to maximize cooling in the areas where it is needed while minimizing the heating and cooling in areas where it is not needed.
Trust Your Local HVAC Pro
A good advantage of dealing with a knowledgeable and reputable HVAC pro is the advice that he or she can provide. Not only will a good tech be able to fix your service problems, but he or she will be able to provide you with advice and answers as to how you can maximize your energy savings. There are plenty of them available in New York, but that doesn’t mean they are all created equal. Some might care more and apply themselves harder, whereas others might just consider what they are doing a day job. Just make sure you take the time to put in the research to find the right company that’s willing to go the extra mile for you, your home, and your family.