How Often Should You Maintain Your HVAC System?
Simple logic suggests you would not leave your vehicle service intervals as far apart as 50,000 miles. If you did, you can be quite sure of major issues with your auto and that can prove a lot more costly than planned, regular maintenance. The same argument holds for that essential home comfort provider we call our HVAC system, which should be serviced at least twice a year.
With HVAC, preventative maintenance is the best option for optimal performance and trouble-free operation. Pre-season inspections are doubly important if you want to avoid HVAC system failure when you need it most. Regular maintenance is also wise in terms of keeping your energy costs from skyrocketing.
Peace of Mind Checklist for Your HVAC Maintenance
All heating and air conditioning dealers offer annual maintenance or service agreement contracts that provide priority service for their signed up customers. Bi-annual preventative maintenance will go a long way in ensuring that your system runs as efficiently as possible. Depending on the unit, your local dealer will perform prescribed preventative maintenance tasks.
Typical Inspection and Maintenance Routines for HVAC Systems
- With older HVAC systems, lubricate motor and inspect and replace fan belt if needed
- Review and clean blower assembly – includes blower housing, blower wheel, and motor
- Look over combustion blower housing for lint and debris and clean as necessary
- Check evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain lines, and clean as required
- Check for leaks in gas furnaces
- Inspect burner assembly, and clean, adjust as required
- Test ignition system and safety controls, cleaning and adjusting if necessary
- Asses heating elements or heat exchanger
- Scan the flue system; look for rust, proper attachment to the furnace, and broken sections. Recommend replacement if necessary
- Replace or clean air filters
- Examine control box, associated controls, wiring, and connections
- Inspect ductwork and test for leaks
Post Maintenance Performance Checking
After performing the above preventative maintenance inspections and servicing, your HVAC dealer will fire up the system and check the following
- Monitor HVAC system start-up characteristics
- Listen for abnormal sounds or noises
- Detect source of any unusual odors
- Track air conditioning and heat pump systems for correct refrigerant charge
- Measure indoor dry and wet bulb temperature
- Determine outdoor dry bulb temperature (DBT)
- Calculate system pressures – high and low side
- Examine gas furnace for correct line and manifold gas pressure and adjust as required
- Check temperature rise and adjust airflow as needed
- Observe vent system for proper operation
- Inspect HVAC system for correct line and load volts/amps
- Monitor HVAC system operation relative to manufacturer’s specifications
There Comes a Time…
Your trusted HVAC system should provide you with reliable and trouble-free service over many years. This assumes that you have kept faith with planned periodic maintenance using your chosen heating and air conditioning dealer. The day will dawn when your friendly service advisor will tell you that it is time to replace ‘old faithful’. This could be due to costly repairs that will not necessarily guarantee optimal performance, or it could be down to safety issues such as gas leakages.