Most homeowners find themselves eventually asking, do I need annual HVAC maintenance? You might have had this regular service offered by your AC and furnace repair person, or have seen it advertised online, but is it really necessary for your residential HVAC system?
There are 7 good reasons to invest in annual HVAC maintenance:
Increased energy efficiency and, in turn, lower utility costs
HVAC maintenance avoids unnecessary repairs
Maintenance extends the life of an HVAC system
Some HVAC warranties require maintenance services
Cleaning an HVAC system improves indoor air quality
A well-maintained HVAC system runs more quietly
An HVAC contractor can note the expected lifespan of a system
Since some homeowners put off needed HVAC maintenance simply because they don’t realize its value, you might note these 7 reasons for regular AC and furnace maintenance in more detail. You can then discuss your options with an HVAC repair contractor near you, and know that you’re doing everything possible to keep your home’s appliances in good repair!
Do I Need Annual HVAC maintenance?
Check out these 7 reasons why annual AC and furnace maintenance are so vital, and then follow up with an HVAC repair company near with any questions you might have, and to schedule this work for your home as soon as possible!
1. Maintenance means increased energy efficiency and lower utility costs
HVAC maintenance typically includes cleaning everything inside the AC and furnace, oiling moving parts and bearings, and replacing worn wiring and hoses. These simple tasks allow the HVAC system to work more efficiently, using less power to run. In turn, you might notice lower utility costs after every maintenance call!
Cleaning and oiling internal parts, calibrating the home’s thermostat, making small repairs and replacing worn parts at the first sign of wear all help to avoid otherwise unnecessary repair bills down the road! The less friction between moving parts inside a furnace or air conditioner, as an example, the less chance of those parts breaking down sooner rather than later.
Replacing smaller parts at the first sign of wear also reduces the risk of larger parts breaking down sooner than they should. For instance, oiling or replacing bearings keeps an AC motor and blower working efficiently; trying to operate those larger parts with worn bearings can mean an unexpected shutdown and costly repair bills! Investing in HVAC maintenance can then mean less cost over the life of homeownership.
3. Regular maintenance extends the life of an HVAC system
The less wear and tear on an HVAC system, the longer its major parts last. In turn, regular maintenance can extend the life of an HVAC system! While even the best maintenance and cleaning won’t keep your system operating forever, annual maintenance can mean enjoying its use for several years longer than if you neglected this service.
A longer HVAC lifespan means less cost over the course of home ownership. For example, regular maintenance might keep your HVAC appliances working for 15 years rather than 12. If you own your home for 40 years, that means you’ll only need to purchase two new HVAC systems during that time and not three!
4. Some HVAC systems require maintenance as part of their warranty
Many HVAC systems require regular maintenance as part of their warranty or guarantees. Some service persons do the same; after repairs or new parts installation, you might be required to schedule annual or semi-annual maintenance, to keep those parts in good working order. To avoid paying for repairs or replacement parts that are otherwise covered under a warranty, ask your HVAC installer or repair contractor if maintenance is required for your warranty.
5. Cleaning an HVAC system improves indoor air quality
Both the furnace and central air conditioner push air through the furnace filter before it’s circulated back into a home’s interior rooms. Both the furnace filter and an HVAC system attract and trap dirt, dust, pet hair and dander, pollen, airborne chemicals, and lots of other debris.
Maintenance cleans and removes debris from inside the HVAC system and typically includes changing the furnace filter. In turn, you’ll enjoy improved air quality when you invest in regular HVAC maintenance for your home!
6. A well-maintained HVAC system runs more quietly
A furnace or air conditioner will usually make a slight humming sound as it cycles on, but neither appliance should be so loud that they become a distraction! If your notice your HVAC systems making loud and bothersome sounds, it’s time for maintenance. Oiling, adjusting, and cleaning often reduces grinding, clanking, squealing, and other such noises, ensuring a quiet and comfortable environment inside your home.
7. An HVAC contractor can note the expected lifespan of your system
A skilled HVAC maintenance contractor will evaluate all the main parts inside and outside a furnace and air conditioner. He or she should then be able to note the expected lifespan of your appliances, or if they’re showing signs of excessive wear.
Knowing the expected lifespan of your HVAC systems allows you to budget and prepare for needed replacement. This can also mean having the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your appliances are in good condition and should last several more years before they need replacing!
Knowing the expected lifespan of your system is also helpful if you plan on selling your home anytime soon. You might prepare to replace old and worn appliances so you don’t lose potential bids on the house, or can advertise that the HVAC system has been maintained recently and is in excellent condition.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?
While every contractor and HVAC system is different, note what most maintenance calls include:
Your HVAC contractor will typically start with a visual inspection of the entire unit, looking for rusted parts, dents and other body damage, obstructions along outside grilles, and other needed fixes or signs of damage.
A thorough cleaning of the HVAC system is almost always included in maintenance! Debris slows down moving parts and gets circulated back into the home, while a full cleaning reduces wear and tear and improves air quality, as said.
Changing filters not only means better air quality but also reduces wear on the system. Dirty filters make the system work harder to push air through the home’s ductwork, resulting in premature breakdown and needed repairs for your furnace or AC.
Air conditioners have a condensate drain, emptying condensation as they operate. That drain can get blocked with dust and other debris, causing the AC system to work harder than it should and even break down eventually. Most maintenance calls include checking that drain and cleaning it as needed.
Moving parts and bearings are typically checked and lubricated as needed. Obstructions are removed and connectors including screws and bolts are checked and tightened.
An HVAC repair contractor typically checks wiring and voltage, ensuring the electrical systems are in good repair.
Your home’s thermostat is often calibrated, ensuring it reads interior temperatures accurately and sends proper signals to the HVAC system.
Refrigerant levels are also checked. Note that AC refrigerant doesn’t evaporate or “burn up,” so low levels typically indicate a leak somewhere in the system and the need for repairs. Your HVAC contractor will typically replace damaged hoses, if needed, and then recharge the refrigerant as well.
How Often Does HVAC Need Maintenance?
To decide how often your home needs HVAC maintenance, first check warranties for the system and recent repairs. As said, you might need annual or semi-annual maintenance to maintain those warranties, so ensure you stick to their schedule.
Other than what’s demanded by warranties, you should consider semi-annual maintenance on new HVAC systems and then annual maintenance once that system becomes 5 years old, at a minimum. Since newer systems are typically in good condition they won’t usually need annual maintenance right after installation but should get yearly servicing once they reach 5 years old.
The exception to this rule is if you run your appliances more often than average or put added wear on them for any reason. For example, if you live in the tropics, you might run the air conditioner more often throughout the day and year than other homeowners. In turn, you might consider annual or even twice yearly maintenance on your AC.
Are HVAC Maintenance Contracts Worth the Money?
An HVAC maintenance contract might offer a lower price per service call, if you sign up for so many service calls over the years. This can be an excellent choice for many homeowners, as you’ll be paying a lower cost for maintenance you need anyway.
An HVAC maintenance contract is also a good investment for homeowners who might tend to forget about needed appliance maintenance. Having the contract means that you won’t go several years without a service call, since you’ll be paying for it upfront and most HVAC repair companies then call you to schedule a maintenance appointment!
Some HVAC maintenance contracts also include costs that would otherwise need to be paid out of pocket, such as replacement parts. To know if a contract is worth the money for you, compare these costs side-by-side and remember to consider the added convenience of a regular contract, so you can make the best decision for your home.
How Long Does HVAC Maintenance Take?
The good news for homeowners is that you don’t need to put your entire day on hold to schedule HVAC maintenance. Most technicians might need 1 to 2 hours for both the furnace and air conditioner, and more time for additional appliances such as an air filter or whole house humidifier. Repairs outside the normal scope of maintenance, such as replacing hoses or belts, might add a few extra minutes to that time, but most maintenance calls take no more than 4 to 5 hours at most.
What Happens If an AC Is Not Serviced?
Both the air conditioner and furnace in your home need regular servicing; if you don’t maintain or repair the AC as needed, you can expect lots of costly issues with your unit! One vital consideration is that your home’s air conditioner might blow lukewarm air through the home rather than cool air; in turn, the unit might cycle on continuously, trying to reach the temperature set on the thermostat. You’ll then pay high utility costs without enjoying a cool and comfortable interior space!
Air conditioners also have lots of moving parts inside, including the blower and its bearings. Without regular service, these parts suffer added friction and excessive wear and tear, leading to early breakdown. Replacing the blower and bearings can be far more expensive than regular servicing over the years.
Losing refrigeration due to a leak is not only costly, but note that AC refrigerant is not good for the environment. Some refrigerant replacements also get more difficult to find the longer you go without recharging, as they get phased out over time. To reduce your environmental impact and ensure you don’t run out of refrigerant in your home’s AC, have it serviced annually or as often as needed to keep it functioning optimally.
How Much Should HVAC Maintenance Cost?
Simple cleaning and tune-ups of your HVAC system might cost between $50 and $200, on average. Added services can increase these costs, depending on your contractor and your system. For example, recharging the refrigerant might average between $150 and $300. A new thermostat replacement might average between $50 and $200. Duct cleaning often runs between $250 and $500.
Note that most professionals charge a flat rate for HVAC maintenance, usually averaging around $100 to $150. An AC repair technician should note what is included in this rate. If you hire a contractor by the hour, expect to pay between $50 and $150 per hour for standard HVAC maintenance.
Rhode Island HVAC Services is happy to bring this information to our customers and we hope it helped answer the question, do I need annual HVAC maintenance? If you need HVAC repair in Rhode Island, give us a call! Our trained technicians make quick work of diagnosing needed repairs and ensure a quality job every time. To find out more, give us a call today!
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