It doesn’t matter if you are planning on changing out the air handler or condensing unit, both are significant tasks and will put quite a dent in the pocketbook. This is especially true for those families that have been out of work due to COVID. Whatever the situation, no one wants to find out that their fairly new unit has just failed and needs replacing. Heck, no one wants to discover that their 10-year-old unit needs replacing. While the average air conditioning should offer anywhere from 15 to 20 years of life, you’ll encounter a lot of problems throughout that lifespan.
If you notice, most warranties just cover 10 years. There is a reason for this. After 10 years, things start to break down. You combine this with a lot of the stipulations that come attached with most home warranties and it just makes the situation all that much more. Whatever the situation, you probably want to get the most out of your system. The key to getting the most from your heating and air system is preventive maintenance. Don’t apply the break-fix approach, which means you’ll only service the unit when it breaks down.
This might seem like the most reasonable and practical approach, but it isn’t. Preventive maintenance is key to ensuring that you get the most from your unit. In addition to this, when you keep the unit maintained, you’ll keep it running more efficiently.
Build A Relationship With The Right HVAC Contractor
Unfortunately, there are no two ways about it, there will come a time when you need the assistance of a local San Diego HVAC contractor.
Maybe it is the purchase of Freon that you need help with or maybe you can’t figure out why your unit is freezing up. Whatever the situation, this is where a licensed contractor comes in handy. While there are inevitably thousands of heating and cooling contractors to choose from, you need to know that not all of them are created equal. Some hold themselves and employees to higher standards. When choosing a company there are several key things to look for.
Look for heating and cooling
contractors that offer their employees continuing education. In addition to this, look for a contractor that offers and utilizes the latest advances in technology. This will ensure the most up-to-date training and awareness.
The Seasonal Tune-Up
You take your car or vehicle into the mechanic every so often and have the oil changed, right? You likely have the tires rotated, aired, or changed frequently, right? Of course, you do and while your HVAC system
won’t need an oil change, it will need a similar tune-up. Nothing is more important than keeping the system running in tip-top condition. Many San Diego companies offer what is known as seasonal contracts or maintenance agreements, where they’ll come out twice a year and service the unit. Once before the winter season and once before the summer season. It is always recommended to have your system serviced and maintained before switching to a new operation.
A tune-up is an excellent tool for improving your energy efficiency rating while decreasing your energy consumption and costs. It’ll also reduce the likelihood of future repairs. This doesn’t mean that it’ll guarantee you never need repairs again, but it can reduce the chances of an unexpected breakdown. Most common tune-up procedures include the following preventive maintenance tasks:
- An overall comprehensive inspection
- A thorough cleaning of the unit, the coils, the blower, and the outside surface of the unit
- All filters will be replaced
- The thermostat will be properly adjusted and calibrated
- All required moving parts will be lubricated and greased
- The supply and return temperatures will be measured and evaluated
- The high and low sides of the refrigerant system will be measured and evaluated
Home Energy Efficiency
Regardless of how meticulous and diligent you are with your heating
and air system, there will come a time when it breaks down. Heck, it might crap out on you right after the tech leaves. Unfortunately, this is just the way life goes sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean you should just give up and not try. No, this means that your goal becomes to limit the amount of wear and tear your system takes over the years. The same can be said for your automobile. When your system is performing in top running condition, it’ll keep the home better satisfied with less effort.
Sometimes it isn’t the system or the components that make things less efficient. It’s entirely possible that your home is to blame. When was the last time you have the ventilation or insulation checked? Your home may be leaking air like a sieve. If this is the case, you might as well be heating and cooling the outdoors. This is why it is imperative to have a home energy audit. Undergoing one of these evaluations every five years or so will ensure that you keep your home in the best shape possible.
Filter And Vent Maintenance
At this point, you are likely familiar with the filtration system of your units. You’ve probably changed the filters at least once or twice. Some experts will recommend changing the filters every three months, but it comes down to several different factors. It could depend on the type of filters you are using, the cleanliness of the home, the outside conditions, and the cleanliness of the unit. The best idea is to see what your filters are rated for. If you are using those blue see-through filters, they are usually only rated for a month.
Whatever the situation, if you are not familiar with the system, you’ll want to start by checking the filters every month. You should just be able to look at them and gauge whether they need to be changed or not. Think of it this way, you can’t go wrong with changing the filters too early. It may even help your unit, as clogged and dirty filters force the unit to work harder to satisfy and maintain the temperatures in a building or home.
Keep An Eye On The Outdoor Equipment
Want to hide that big, protruding outdoor unit? You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with this. This is why a lot of homeowners build fences or plant shrubs around their condensing units. That being said, when doing so, you have to use the two-foot clearance rule. Make sure that you keep all obstructions at least two feet away from the condenser coils and fan. Another thing that most people don’t think about is direct sunlight. If your unit is exposed to constant, direct sunlight, it’s entirely possible that it’ll be working harder to maintain temps in the home.
The best thing you can do in these situations is erect an awning. An awning that will protect the unit from exposure to sunlight. Just keep the two-foot clearance rule in mind. A shade screen might be another good option, as these items are fairly cheap and can go a long way to reducing the temperature of the condensing unit.
Keep Your Duct Clean And Inspected
You’ve likely heard a lot of debate over the past couple of months regarding duct cleanings. Some might say these maintenance tasks are completely useless, while others will swear by them. Whatever the situation, there is simply no denying that your ducts will accumulate dust and debris over time. Cleaning out your duct system every time you maintain your unit may not be necessary, but you’ll certainly want to keep these ducts clean. Making sure they are free of obstruction will serve several different purposes.
First, it’ll ensure that your unit works in the most effective way possible. Secondly, it’ll improve the overall indoor air quality in the home. Just think about a duct system sitting there full of dirt and dust. Every time the blower comes on, it is distributing that throughout the duct and home. Dust is also responsible for absorbing pollutants, which can be released into the air when they are disturbed. Fault connections and breaks are the number one cause of dirty ducts. This is something that your local San Diego HVAC tech should be able to identify and correct.
Why Not A Smart Thermostat?
If you’ve heard debates regarding duct cleanings, you’ve no doubt heard talk about smart thermostats.
These products have been around for a while and have been studied extensively throughout their inception. The EPA just recently released a report that shows these devices can save some homeowners as much as 30 percent on their energy bills during the cooling cycles. Just think about it, with a manual thermostat, you are not only missing out on potential savings, but you are forcing your system to work harder. This will eventually lead to a breakdown. Smart thermostats are always a good idea, as they come with weekday programmable options, weekend settings, and vacation modes. There is no need for the unit to run when no one is there, and that’s the exact problem these thermostats target.
Zoning Might Be For You
Want to maximize your system and set it up in the most effective manner possible? If so, you should consider zoning. This applies a similar theory to that of running the system when no one is home. Why let the system blow air in the bedrooms when they aren’t occupied? That’s what a zone system will eliminate. A tech will install dampers on your ductwork that shuts down vents to specific rooms when there isn’t a call in that room. With zoning systems, each room will have its thermostat.
Trusting In Your HVAC Professional
As was discussed at the beginning of this article, choosing a certified HVAC contractor
is key. There are plenty of family-owned and operated companies in San Diego
standing by ready to assist you. All you have to do is take the time to find them. These individuals will be able to provide you with key advice and tips as to how you can get the most out of your systems. Look for local companies that depend on the word of mouth for their business. These individuals will likely care more about the type of work their employees deliver.