It’s 1 a.m. and it’s 5 degrees outside. The snow is still coming down. You wake up because the house is blistering cold. What happened? Your furnace suddenly conked out. These are the thoughts running through your head:
- I’m freezing.
- The kids just got over colds.
- How much is this going to cost?
- I REALLY should have scheduled a maintenance call last fall.
Prevent Problems, Save Money, Stay Comfortable
Routine preventive maintenance saves money. It doesn’t matter if it’s your car or your climate control system. Catching problems early means preventing serious malfunctions or even the need for replacement of your furnace or air conditioner.
Even the simple step of getting your air filter changed regularly can add years to the life of your equipment. Small chores like this are the heart of preventive maintenance. As minor as they seem, they will keep you and your family comfortable all year long, and save you from major repairs costs.
When you invest in an annual maintenance call, you give a trained technician a chance to inspect the working parts of your furnace and air conditioner. With his experience, he can spot worn or damaged components and replace them. The result is a reliable furnace throughout the coldest months and an air conditioner that keeps your home cool even when it’s sweltering outside.
A Maintenance Walk-through
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. The trained HVAC technician who comes to your home to perform the preventive maintenance will check all the systems or just a specific one, depending on your requirements. Here is a look at a standard call for the furnace and for the air conditioner.
Six-Step Furnace Inspection
#1. He will replace the air filter. Ideally this should be done four times a year. If you would like to do this yourself other times during the year without calling in a technician, ask him to show you how to perform this task.
#2. He will check the thermostat to make sure it is calibrated properly. If it is out of sync, he will recalibrate it. This alone can save you substantially on energy bills.
#3. He will inspect the connections and tighten those that need it, measure the voltage and the current on the motors, and then lubricate the moving parts.
#4. He will look over the condensate drain in your furnace or boiler. A plugged drain can cause damage and affect humidity in the house.
#5. He will check the system controls to make sure they operate correctly and safely.
#6. He will let you know if he needs to make repairs, based on his inspections. He will explain each problem and quote a price for repair before doing the work.
Six-Step Inspection for Air Conditioner
#1. First he will check the condenser coil, cleaning it with either pressurized water or a chemical cleaning if it is particularly dirty.
#2. He will then check the thermostat, running it for 5 to 10 minutes at a lower temperature to make sure that it is reaching the required operating pressure.
#3. The technician will take a wet bulb reading.
#4. To make sure your air conditioning system is charged correctly, he will inspect the superheat and the sub-cooling.
#5. He will make sure the motor amperage meets manufacturer’s specifications.
#6. If he found any problems in steps 1-5, he will make the repairs after letting you know what they are and the cost of each.
Stay safe, stay comfortable and save big with an annual inspection for all your climate control devices.