What Should be Included in HVAC Maintenance?
With proper maintenance, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will run efficiently throughout the hot summers here in Greater Phoenix. While you may be tempted to do the tune-up yourself, it’s not wise to tinker around with HVAC equipment if you’re not a professional. A professional will know what should be included in HVAC maintenance. At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, we know what it takes to make sure your air conditioning and heating system will keep you comfortable throughout the year.
Preventive maintenance services include a thorough checkup of the entire system. If problems are found, the technician will provide recommendations on how to repair them. If your unit is old or repairs will be expensive, the professional will explain all your options.
Benefits of HVAC Maintenance
HVAC maintenance ensures that your heating and air conditioning system operates efficiently and reliably. Most manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment require a tune-up in the spring for the air conditioner and one in the fall for the furnace to keep warranties valid.
Annual maintenance provides the following benefits:
- Extends system service life
- Reduces energy usage
- Gives peace of mind
- Reduces the need of major repairs
- Helps to keep indoor air clean
- Saves money on repairs and utility bills
Maintenance is the process of verifying that each component is in good working order and that the system functions synergistically as a whole. The high summer temperatures in the Phoenix area can cause parts to degrade quickly. If one component is not working properly, it can affect other components. If damaged components are not repaired quickly, you may find yourself with a huge repair bill.
Elements of a Tune-Up
Christian Brothers offers a 22-point tune-up that involves examining, cleaning and fine-tuning each component of a heating and air conditioning system. This includes the following:
- Cleaning the drip pan and condensate lines
- Cleaning the outdoor compressor housing
- Calibrating the thermostat
- Checking the wiring
- Tightening the electrical connections
- Checking the amperage and voltage
- Cleaning or replacing the air filter
- Making sure the unit cycles properly
- Oiling the motors, fans and other moving parts
- Checking the belts for frays or cracks
- Checking the controls
- Checking the ducts for leaks or bad joins
- Checking the air pressure and system balance
During a tune-up of the air conditioner, a professional will also:
- Check the refrigerant levels
- Clean the coils
- Clean the blower components
Heating-specific inspections include:
- Checking the burners and ignitions on oil- or gas-burning units
- Checking for carbon monoxide and other gasses
- Inspecting the piping and heat exchanger
- Checking the gas pressure
- Cleaning the plenum, housing and vents on furnaces
Dirty air filters are the primary reason for HVAC unit failure. Filters capture airborne pollutants and keep them from entering ducts. Once particulates are inside ducts, they can be blown into the living space. Dust, grime, animal dander and other pollutants that bypass filters can coat components inside the system.
Condenser and evaporator coils must be clean for efficient heat exchange. Air flowing over clean coils allows heat to be released as part of the refrigeration process. If coils are coated with debris, the unit must work harder. This strains the compressor, which must use more energy to heat and cool. Eventually, the compressor will fail.
According to the Department of Energy, keeping air filters clean cuts energy usage by up to 15%. In contrast, poor maintenance can increase energy usage by up to 60%. With periodic maintenance, you’ll save energy and money on utility bills.
Amperage, Voltage and Wiring
During your tune-up, the technician will check the entire electrical system for any potential safety issues. Frayed or cracked wiring is a fire hazard.
Voltage is important for proper startup and operation. When a unit powers on, it requires a large amount of energy for a few seconds. Capacitors help compressors, fans and blowers start by sending them this needed boost of current. If there is a voltage problem, the technician will test the capacitors. A damaged capacitor can affect the startup of the unit. The compressor may strain to start or shut down after running for a few minutes. If the capacitor is not replaced, the compressor will eventually fail. It is much less expensive to replace a capacitor than a compressor.
An important function of an air conditioner is to regulate humidity. Moisture extracted from the air is sent through tubing into a drain system that routes condensation out of the building. If the drain pan becomes clogged, water can back up and overflow the pan. If you notice pooled water around the base of the inside unit of the air conditioner, the condensate system could be blocked.
If water cannot flow through the drain system, it will find another way out, such as through walls, floors or ceilings. Eventually, you may notice mildew on walls, carpets or furniture from seepage from the HVAC system overflow. Water can also back up into the air conditioner and damage it.
Cleaning tubing and the drain pan also eliminates the buildup of mold and mildew that can occur when components are constantly moist. Mold and mildew can create a bad smell or be circulated back into the system. If this happens, it will affect indoor air quality and can create health problems.
The pressure of a system affects comfort and efficiency. When an HVAC system is installed, it is balanced so that air flows freely through ducts and into rooms. If you experience hot or cold spots in rooms or find that some rooms are more comfortable than others, the system may not be balanced correctly.
During your tune-up, a technician will check to make sure ducts are not leaking and that the dampers within ducts are set properly. This corrects airflow and pressure and improves comfort. Poorly balanced systems must work harder to maintain comfort. Energy efficiency can be reduced by as much as 15% when a system is not properly balanced.
Furnace Combustion System
Proper combustion is important for several reasons. Most importantly, it keeps you safe. Cracked pipes, damaged heat exchangers, corroded plenums and dirty burners can emit carbon monoxide gas, which can make you sick or be fatal. Poorly maintained combustion systems use more energy to operate and wear out more quickly.
Your heating and cooling system is a major investment. You want to be sure that the company working on it is qualified, experienced and reliable. At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical in Glendale, AZ, we’re known for being dependable. When we tune up your system, we’ll bring more than 40 years of experience and training with us.
We work on all major brands and types of heating and cooling systems, including heat pumps, ductless mini-splits, package units and split units. Our technicians are certified by NATE, the industry leader in technician certification. They are factory-trained on leading-edge equipment, providing expertise in calculating load, new installations, repairs, maintenance and problem-solving.
To schedule a tune-up for your HVAC system, call Christian Brothers today. Be sure to check out our specials on preventive maintenance, repairs, new installations and equipment too.