Most homes in the USA have HVAC systems, but did you know this convenience can elevate your electricity bill by up to 42%?
One way to keep this additional expense at a minimum is to make sure you keep your HVAC system in good shape with regular maintenance.
Here’s what every homeowner needs to know about AC maintenance.
HVAC Terminology for Homeowners
When you’re describing your AC problems to a technician, you can avoid a lot of confusion if you know the correct terminology. If they know what you’re describing they’re better able to assist you by getting to the root of the problem quicker.
These are the common HVAC-related terms you should familiarize yourself with:
- Air filter – a device that keeps dust, toxins, soot, and allergens out of your home
- Thermostat – a type of control unit that controls the temperature of your HVAC
- Heat pump – a system that transfers hot or cold air into your home
- AFUE – a rating of how fuel-efficient your HVAC is on an annual basis, the higher, the better
- SEET – a measure of fuel-efficiency per season
- MERV – the minimum efficiency reporting value
- HSPF – the heating seasonal performance factor for heat pumps
Nowadays AC manufacturers are bound by legislation to ensure their products meet specific energy-efficiency ratings. These are a minimum of 10 SEER rating and a MERV rating of between 1 and 16.
Common AC Problems
The most obvious sign that your air conditioner is not working is when it stops cooling your home or won’t switch on. These are the most common causes of AC malfunction:
- Grimy filters
- A clogged condensate drain line
- Dirty evaporator or condenser coils
- Blocked or torn air ducts
A cursory inspection may reveal some of these problems, but the best way to diagnose them is by asking a trained technician to check your HVAC system.
AC Maintenance and Repairs
Regular air conditioning maintenance is the only way to ensure you don’t end up with costly air conditioning repair bills.
The good news is that there are several AC maintenance tasks you can take care of yourself to prevent AC failure. These are:
Changing the Air Filters
You should replace your AC’s air filters once every 3 to 12 months.
The best way to know when it’s time for a change is by hanging a clean white sheet in front of one of your AC vents. The sheet will turn gray if your filter needs replacing.
In this event, you’ll find your HVAC filter in one of three places:
- Behind a hinged cover where the return ducts enter the air handler
- Behind a louvered grill close to the air conditioner
- Both of the above in some cases
It’s easy to change the grill by sliding it out in the direction of the arrows and replacing it. Most new filters will come with instructions.
Removing Debris That’s Accumulated Around the Unit
Check the area around your air conditioner’s outdoor compartment. Leaves and other objects often accumulate in this area. By removing these you reduce the chance of blockages occurring in the future.
Clean the Vents and Registers in Your Home
The air passing through these areas can leave dust and dirt behind, causing a build-up and decreasing your home’s air quality. Clean these areas regularly with soap and water. Clean vents and registers reduce the chances of air conditioner failure, allergy flare-ups, and ill-health.
The best way to ensure you keep your AC in tip-top shape is to consult with an AC repair specialist about setting up an AC maintenance schedule.
These experts can save you time and money and help you avoid expensive repairs to your HVAC down the line.
How an AC Specialist Can Help
There are several ways an AC repair specialist can ensure you get the best benefit out of your heating and cooling system. They have the skills and tools to keep your HVAC performing at its best and save you money in the process.
Here’s how they can help:
Regular Performance Analyses
When an AC maintenance expert visits your home, they do more than conduct a routine service. They also analyze the performance of your HVAC to ensure it’s running at its best.
Thanks to this they can predict any problems likely to arise soon and take steps to prevent them. These regular inspections and preventive measures greatly reduce the chances your aircon will fail any time soon.
Regular performance check-ups also help your AC technician stay abreast of the overall health of your system. This makes it easier for them to get to the source of any problems quicker.
They can also discuss any imminent repairs with you in advance, so you can budget for the necessary solutions.
Advanced Solutions for AC Issues
Like technology everywhere, air conditioners are becoming increasingly advanced.
Knowledgeable technicians will replace any faulty part on your AC with the latest, most advanced equipment. In this way, they’re continually improving on your existing system without you having to upgrade the whole thing at once.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Fluctuations in cooling times for different rooms are a telltale sign that your AC units become inefficient. This will only get worse over time.
An AC repair specialist can help you streamline your unit’s efficiency, saving you many dollars on heating and cooling expenses every month.
Keep Your Home Running Efficiently
Regular AC maintenance might not be the most exciting part of owning a home, but even the most beautifully designed and decorated home can’t operate efficiently without the basics in place.
If you’d like to find out more about the routine tasks associated with owning your own home or want to learn more about the fun stuff, keep browsing our blog.
We’ve got all the top tips for improving every aspect of your home.