Extend the Life of Your HVAC Equipment with Proper Maintenance

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Extend the Life of Your HVAC Equipment with Proper Maintenance

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air ConditioningDust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system’s worst enemies; therefore, heating and air conditioning systems needregular maintenance, where the most important aspect is maintaining unrestricted air flows.

To increase the efficiency and life of your home’s heating and cooling systems here are a few quick tips:

• Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration.
• To keep room temperatures at moderate levels install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight
• It is imperative to clean and replace filters frequently.

Filters

All filters need to be kept clean whether it’s an indoor or outdoor unit; also heat exchangers and coils should remain free of restrictions at all timesIdeally heating and cooling systemsshould get a spring and autumn tune-up, which means they arto be checked and serviced twice a yearChanging the filter regularly can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown.

To keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs and to ensure proper air flow it is important to change filters regularly. This improves indoor air quality and helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require weekly or monthly filter replacements.

If they are washable filters, clean them once a month. If they are disposable filters replaceat least once a month. It is strongly recommended that check filters and filtering equipmentare visually checked on a monthly basis. If filters look dirty, they need to be cleaned or replaced.

In addition to changing my filters, here are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance:

• Pet urine can cause expensive damage, therefore keep pets away from the unit.
• Debris, clutter and weeds can reduce the airflow to the unit so keep ground mounted outdoor units clear of them.
• To prevent damaging control wiring use caution with weed trimmers around the unit.
• So be sure to contact professional services to check out your system whenever you notice anything out of the ordinary. In most cases, the longer you delay, the worse any underlying problems will get; these are signs to see if you may have a problem that needs service.
• Be sure that the air conditioner or furnace is turned on. Check that disconnects and breakers are turned on and make sure the thermostat is set correctly. Also make a note of any strange noises or smells.
• Pay attention if it is making strange noises.
• Notice if it is cooling or heating areas of your home sufficiently or if it has been taking longer to cool down or heat up. Also consider if you have your utility bills been rising for no apparent reason.

HVAC size

From the standpoints of comfort and energy use sizing HVAC equipment is very important. Heating and cooling equipment that is under-sized, will obviously result in loss of comfort during temperature extremes. On the other hand, over-capacity equipment will not run aslong or as frequently when it does run. It will not be as energy efficient as properly matched capacity either.  A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it’s running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn’t remove humidity from the air very well. Yet in both cases, wrong sizingmay result in temperature variations or noticeable cycling. It could also mean poor humidity control.

The humidity level achieved in a home is affected by the size and style of humidifier, how tight a home is and how often the doors open and close. The average comfort range for relative humidity in a home is from 30 to 35%. When cool outdoor air enters your home, it tends to dry out as it warms up, which can cause static electricity build-up and sinus problems.

If you think that you need to close registers and doors in certain rooms or to areas of the home that you don’t use on a regular basis you are wrong. Actually this disrupts and decreases the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. Your system will have to work harder to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.

Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. Therefore, generally speaking, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one that keeps cycling on and off repeatedly. That’s why a smaller system is often more economical to operate: even though it runs nonstop and may deliver less comfort, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off.

However, unfortunately, there’s no simple rule of thumb for determining the ideal size of system for each home. The only way to insure the size of the system is to have your home’s individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional who willdetermine a selection of systems that will work best for your home’s needs and your budget.

Cracks and carbon monoxide

The natural heating and cooling cycles of a furnace can lead to cracks in a heat exchanger.Blocked vents, dirty air filters, and burners that are not firing properly and disrupting the combustion process can all contribute to the detrimental stress that may lead to cracks in a heat exchanger. A furnace that is stressed or that doesn’t receive proper frequent maintenance or that is being overworked is more likely to have a premature breakdown and potential carbon monoxide leak.

This is an extremely dangerous situation because the crack in the heat exchanger allows carbon monoxide to escape into your home. Carbon monoxide is a gas produced during the combustion of fuels. It’s colorlessodorless and tasteless. It can be lethal since it limits the body’s ability to take in oxygen, and its effects of poisoning may be gradual and undetected. Even trace amounts can impair your brain function and impact your health. Short-term exposure to carbon monoxide usually results in flu-like symptoms: nausea, light-headedness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue. Long-term exposure can eventually lead to unconsciousness or death by asphyxiation.

Cracks, leaks, obstructions and other malfunctions in your heating system can cause carbon monoxide to develop and accumulate. Today’s modern heating systems burn cleaner than older systems, minimizing or eliminating your risk of carbon monoxide exposure. To minimize carbon monoxide risk, follow these recommendations:

• Schedule regular inspections and maintenance to keep heating equipment in good condition.
• Birds, squirrels and other animals sometimes build nests in these areas. Watch out for them and keep furnaces, chimneys and vents free of obstruction.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector, available at any home supply store.
• Open windows in winter periodically to let out any potential carbon monoxide and to let in fresh oxygen-rich air inside.
• Look at the color of the pilot light, the flame should be at least 80 percent blue. When the flame is mostly yellow, it could be producing carbon monoxide. If so,have the unit checked by a professional immediately, especially if you use an older gas stove or heater. Be sure to tune up your gas system at least once a year.

Increase the proficiency and lifespan of your home’s cooling and heating systems; as well as the safety of them, following these recommendations.