If you want to keep your home’s air conditioner and furnace running right, seasonal maintenance is essential. However, getting the right maintenance from the right company is critical. In this article, we’ll review some of the dos-and-don’ts of HVAC maintenance.
Do: Hire a professional
Never attempt to open and maintain your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace on your own. First and foremost, a vast majority of homeowners do not have the tools or training needed to properly work with an HVAC system. You’re far more likely to damage something or hurt yourself than you are to get the system ready for the season ahead. Second, DIY work on your HVAC system will likely void the manufacturer’s warranty, which is bad news if a critical component like the compressor fails prematurely.
Instead, have a professional HVAC technician inspect and tune up the system. Not only do they have the experience and tools needed to maintain the system, but their work is often backed by insurance and company guarantees.
Don’t: Skip annual maintenance
It seems as if every year gets busier and busier. For many homeowners, seasonal tune-ups are not exactly top-of-mind. It’s all too easy to procrastinate scheduling a tune-up and then forget about it altogether. No harm, no foul—right? Not exactly. Skipping essential maintenance for your cooling or heating system can have a profoundly negative impact on its effectiveness, efficiency, and even its lifespan.
A professional tune-up does more than just preventing breakdowns. This thorough inspection, cleaning, and system revitalization can help the system run more efficiently, reducing the wear-and-tear it experiences as it runs. This means the system runs better and experiences fewer problems and wear as it ages. Even skipping one year of maintenance can lead to significant issues down the road. After all, you wouldn’t skip oil changes for your car—don’t do the equivalent to your furnace, either.
Get a professional HVAC design.
Do: Improve the efficiency of your home
While you shouldn’t be the one to tinker around inside of your HVAC system, there are plenty of home projects you can complete that will improve the performance and efficiency of your cooling and heating units. For example, making your home more energy-efficient can reduce the wear-and-tear on your system and save you money on your utility bills. These upgrades can range from large projects—such as replacing single-pane windows with dual-pane ones—to small DIY tasks, like adding weatherstripping around drafty doors and windows.
In fact, one of the most effective home energy upgrades you can make is installing additional attic insulation. Insulation helps stop the loss of heated and cooled air through the attic and roof of your home. By keeping more of that air inside, your cooling and heating systems have to run less. It’s an upgrade that can save you money every month of the year.
Don’t: Put off recommended repairs
One of the benefits of having an HVAC professional inspect and tune up your system is that they can spot impending repairs that—left untreated—will eventually lead to a system breakdown. While you might be disappointed to hear that your cooling or heating system needs work, don’t put off or ignore this information. A reputable HVAC tech not only knows what they’re talking about, but has also seen enough air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps to spot potential issues.
If you’re not sure just how urgent the repair is, ask the tech while they’re at your home. They’ll give you a timeline of when the issue needs to be addressed.
Do: Research contractors before hiring one
Not all tune-ups are the same, so don’t just look up the cheapest one in town and call it a day. Instead, consider the quality of the company, the certifications of their techs, and what kind of reviews they have. When you call, ask what their tune-up includes—the more specifics about what gets inspected and tested, the better. As the tech arrives at your home for the appointment, remember that this is your opportunity to ask questions and get information about the state of your home’s HVAC systems. Take note of how communicative the technician is, as this may influence whether or not you want this company back for your next seasonal tune-up.
In short, the right contractor and the right tune-up can make a world of difference for your cooling and heating system. Take the time to do your research and ask your neighbors for recommendations before calling companies.
Article written by Victoria Sanders who is the communications director and senior writer at Reimer Home Services, a professional home repair & HVAC company servicing Western New York. Victoria has been working within the home repair industry for almost 15 years and enjoys sharing her insights on home repairs with homeowners and real estate professionals.