According to Energy Star, a division of the EPA, “Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of heating and cooling system failure.” Most people wouldn’t dream of driving their car without performing regular oil changes and tune-ups, but they will go year after year without servicing their heating and cooling systems. Your heating and cooling system, like your car, needs a tune-up to prevent breakdowns and unnecessary repairs. Your system requires a maintenance check-up twice a year, once in the fall before you use your heating system and once in the spring before you start your air conditioner. These check-ups will insure that your system is performing at its most efficient and providing optimum home comfort. A maintenance check-up will also extend the life of your equipment, increase cost effectiveness, and insure safe operations of your equipment.
According to the EPA, as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Making smart decisions on your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can increase the efficiency of your system and have a large affect on your utility bills. In fact, studies show that properly maintaining your heating and cooling systems can reduce energy bills by up to 35%!
When we turn on our central heating and air conditioning we expect them to be able to deliver the temperature we want to be comfortable in a variety of conditions and to deliver it all day long. If your HVAC unit is not maintained properly, it may be working too hard or inefficiently to deliver the comfort of a consistent air temperature.
We all, of course, want our heating and cooling system to last as long as possible. But just like a new car will decline in performance without regular maintenance, so will your heating and cooling system. According to Energy Star your system will last several years longer with proper maintenance.
Many people avoid routine maintenance because of the expected high cost. You can get regular maintenance done on your equipment for around $150/year (and even less with multi-year agreements). Don’t wait until your air conditioner won’t cool or your furnace won’t ignite before you call for service. At this point you’ll typically pay more (because it’s an emergency call) and have to wait (because it’s usually around the hottest or coolest day of the year). Having your heating & cooling system put on a yearly maintenance schedule will pay for itself in lower repair costs, less aggravation, and more efficient operation.
One of the most important reasons to schedule routine maintenance is for safety – for you and your family. A typical maintenance check-up will include tightening all electrical connections, measuring the voltage and current on motors and checking for small holes in your system’s heat exchanger or firebox. These issues can be very dangerous … even fatal. Faulty electrical connections can cause shorts and unsafe operation, while carbon monoxide leaks or open flames in your living space can create fire or a serious health hazard.
According to Carrier, a manufacturer of heating & cooling systems, proper air conditioning maintenance can help your unit last decades. On the flip side, a neglected air conditioner loses roughly 5% of its efficiency each year that it operates without upkeep. “So that green machine you bought to stay cool could start to function like the most inefficient thing on the market, if you fail to perform regular air conditioning maintenance.” Proper maintenance will increase the longevity of your heating and cooling system and increase the overall comfort of your home year round.