5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

colorado springs hvac repair

Your home’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition) system runs ’round the clock, 24/7, all year long. You can’t expect it to last forever, but you can expect your furnace to last for about several years—depending on the model, you may get 15-20 years out of your furnace and 10-15 years out of your air conditioner. It’s a big investment to replace your furnace or air conditioner, so we have five tips for you to try to extend the life of your HVAC system.

  1. Schedule two HVAC tune-ups per year: Contact a home services company to give your furnace a tune-up in the fall and your air conditioner a tune-up in the spring. This preventative maintenance usually includes a good inspection, cleaning, lubrication and any necessary adjustments.
  2. Change the air filter regularly: Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced every 30 days, but check your filter and furnace manual to see how often you should be replacing the filter. A dirty filer will make your HVAC system work harder to circulate air and that can cause extra wear on the system.
  3. Clean your ducts: Be sure to keep the return air vents clean and prevent the build-up of dust and debris. You might also want to have your ducts professionally cleaned so that your system is delivering the cleanest air possible.
  4. Give the HVAC system a break sometimes: Does your HVAC system really need to be running almost 24/7? Can you give it a break when you’re on vacation? On a cool evening could you open the windows and give the a/c the night off? You’ll be saving energy and giving the system a break.
  5. Upgrade your insulation: The better your home is insulated, the less your HVAC system will need to run to maintain the temperature. The first place to check for sufficient insulation is your attic.

When to Replace Your HVAC System

Even if you follow these tips and take good care of your HVAC system, eventually it will need to be replaced, but when? If you’re approaching the projected end of life for the unit, you can’t go wrong replacing it because you will be saving money with the new, more energy efficient replacement. But if you want to prolong the system as long as possible, contract with a reliable home services company for your annual tune-ups and then ask the HVAC tech for their input on when to replace. Be honest with them about the maintenance you’ve carried out on the unit—even if that means confessing that sometimes you didn’t replace the air filter for a season or two. Hopefully you can get to know the techs from the home services company and get to where you can trust their input on when to replace your furnace or air conditioner.

Summary

Take good care of your HVAC system and it may well last longer than the average lifespan, but also know when to replace it before it becomes unreliable or so inefficient that it’s costly to keep it running.

Want A Comfortable House Where Every Room Is The Right Temperature?

person laying on couch with blanket

Do people in your home fight over the thermostat setting? In many homes, especially split-level homes, someone is too hot, someone is too cold and no one is happy. 

Even in a home with adequate central air conditioning, mom or dad may find the temperature to be fine in the kitchen or living room, but their daughter is in the basement game room with her friends passing out sweaters for them. But then upstairs, their son is home from college wanting to study at his desk, but he can’t because the desk surface is hot enough to fry an egg! This is a house that might benefit from a zoned HVAC system.

What is a zoned HVAC system?

A zoned HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system allows the homeowner to set different temperatures in different parts or “zones” of the house. Rather than one thermostat for the entire house, each zone can be regulated with its own thermostat. A zone can be as small as one room or as large as an entire level of the house or an addition to the house.

How does zoning work?

In a home with an existing forced air heating and cooling system (and one thermostat), it may be possible to install an automatic damper system into the HVAC ductwork that would divide the home into zones.

The better way to set up a zoned HVAC system is with ductless mini-split units. These units come in a variety of styles and models, but basically it’s a rectangular heating and cooling unit that is mounted high on the wall (or into the ceiling). That’s actually the first part, the indoor air-handling unit (evaporator). It’s hooked up to the second part, an outdoor compressor/condenser. Several of the indoor units can be hooked up to one outdoor unit. Each indoor unit is controlled with its own thermostat.

Reasons why you might want a zoned HVAC system

Ductless mini-splits are a great solution for a newly constructed house, but also a good retrofit for houses with non-ducted heating systems (like hot water heat or electric heating). They also work well for new additions to a house that lack ductwork or separate buildings like a garage or shed converted into offices or hobby rooms. Why might you want to looking into installing some ductless mini-splits?

  1. To solve the multi-level home heating/cooling problem (described above).
  2. To balance the temperature in homes where one side of the house gets more solar heat than the other side.
  3. To heat/cool only the parts of the home in use. (Why heat/cool a huge house if you’re mostly only using a few rooms?)
  4. To get heating/cooling in new house additions / separate buildings without installing ductwork.

Summary

To find out how a zoned HVAC system could work in your home, call a heating and cooling expert at your preferred home services company. With this surprisingly simple solution, you’ll never fight over the thermostat in your home again!

3 Tips To Cooler Central Air Conditioning

Is your central air conditioning failing to battle the heat and keep you cool inside? If you turn down the thermostat to 75 degrees, is the air conditioner able to cool down to that temperature or does it work all day slowly getting there? We have three tips to cooler central air conditioning in your home, and two of them are do-it-yourself.

1. Call in an HVAC service tech once a year

fan blowing in wind

If you want your air conditioner to keep your house cool for many summers to come, the best thing you can do is have an HVAC service tech test the unit every spring, clean and adjust it. They are best equipped to go over everything that could be preventing your conditioning from blowing the coolest air possible. To save money, sign up for an annual HVAC maintenance contract to service both your air conditioner and your furnace. This is the gold standard, but if you want to do it yourself there are two things you can do.

2. Clean return air vents and replace filters

HVAC techs constantly recommend changing your air filters regularly and they’re not just making this up to sell more filters. Replace an air filter and you can see for yourself how dirty it is from trapping dust and debris. The more clogged the filter, the less air flow and the less cool your air conditioning will be. During months of high usage, replace filters monthly. Be sure you know where your return air filters are located—sometimes there’s only one alongside the furnace, but there can also be a filter at each return air vent. While you’re checking those return air vents, be sure to vacuum them thoroughly to remove all dust.

3. Clean the condenser coils on the outdoor air conditioner

Go outside to your air conditioning unit and make sure it is free of obstructions such as grass, weeds, vines and globs of leaves and debris. Though a professional HVAC service tech can do this better, you can clean the condenser coils. First turn off the power to the unit. Next, get yourself a bottle of dish detergent, ideally one that is about 80 to 90% empty. Fill it with water to make a soapy solution. Then squirt this soapy solution on the outside front of the air conditioner. You should be squirting through some kind of vents or caging to the condenser coils. On most units these are visible on three sides. Get them soapy and after a few minutes of soaking time, use a garden hose to spray the soap away. You’ll see dirty water and debris flow away from the unit. Give it an hour to dry up before restoring the power.

Important!

Whenever you are working around any part of your HVAC system, always use caution and turn off the device first.

Summary

If your air conditioner still can’t keep up and cool your house after you’ve replaced the filters and cleaned the condenser coils, call an HVAC service tech to do an a/c inspection to determine the problem. On the other hand, an annual HVAC service contract will keep your air conditioning running well and you’ll just need to replace air filters regularly.

This March, Give your HVAC System A Little Love

technician replacing hvac filterChances are, you don’t give much thought to the system that warms your home in the winter and cools your home in the summer.

And why should you? You leave it to the experts to take care of it for you; meanwhile, you focus on more important things in your life—like family, work, etc. As long as everything runs normally, you shouldn’t have to give it a second thought; just sit back and enjoy the temperature and air flow as everything works as it should in the background.

But what happens if it doesn’t work as it should?

With winter here, you don’t want to get cold or uncomfortable as you discover it doesn’t work. And if there’s an emergency, you want to be able to act fast to deal with it.

So, here are some tips to help you be “HVAC aware” this month… to give your HVAC system a little bit of love so it will continue to keep you and your family comfortable.

Tip #1. Let’s start with the word HVAC itself: It stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and it’s the name given to the entire system that heats and cools your home. It often includes your furnace, your air conditioning unit, as well as the ductwork that runs through your walls.

Tip #2. Find out what kind of heating system you have. Is it electric? Propane? Natural gas? (Note: even systems that run on oil and natural gas may also be plugged in to your home’s electrical system.) You should also know the brand, the year it was installed, and the company that installed it. Keep this information on the HVAC system but also keep it handy in a drawer somewhere else so that you can make a quick call to that company if you ever need more information in a hurry.

Tip #3. Find out how to turn your furnace and air conditioner off and on, including any switches ON the system itself as well as how to turn it on and off at your circuit panel. If there’s ever a fire, you’ll want to be able to turn off your HVAC system at the circuit panel if you can’t get to the system itself.

Tip #4. If your system is fed from a municipal supply (such as natural gas), learn where those pipes are and if there is a place to turn off the supply. If there’s ever a leak, know how to turn it off fast.

Tip #5. Look for exhaust pipes. Depending on your system, your HVAC system might use a chimney or an exhaust pipe. Keep these free from blockages. For example, make sure that leaves or snow don’t block up the exhaust pipe, and make sure that small animals don’t get into your chimney.

Tip #6. Even though you can’t see most of the ductwork, you can see the vents! Know where they are and see which vents blow OUT warm (or cool) air, and which vents take in air to circulate it back to the system. Keep an eye on these vents and keep them free from being blocked by furniture.

Tip #7. Know where the filters are. Different systems use filters in different ways. Those filters help to remove particles from the air that you would otherwise breathe. Clean those filters regularly and replace them regularly too.

Tip #8. Use all your senses to monitor your HVAC system. If it starts to sound unusual or smell unusual, take action right away. Turn it off and call an expert HVAC company and get their help.

Summary

Your HVAC system is an important system in your home and it works 24/7 to keep your family safe and comfortable. But if it suddenly stops working the way you want, your March can very quickly go from warm and cozy to cold! Use these tips to be HVAC Aware this month and throughout the year.

Signs You Should Tune up Your AC

We know that you count on your air conditioner all summer long. After all, it gets hot here, and you need to stay cool to function well and enjoy those warm days.

Did you know that a tune up can help keep your A/C running efficiently all summer long? You might think it’s a waste of your time and energy, but a simple tune up can help you avoid problems and troubleshoot issues before they cause your air conditioner to stop working altogether. Since we know you don’t want that, here are a few signs that it’s time to give us a call and get a tech to tune up your A/C.

1.  It’s been more than a year since the last tune up.

Air conditioners should be tuned up at least once a year. If you can’t remember the last time a technician looked at yours, or you know when it was and it was quite some time ago, it’s probably time for a tune up now. Your tech will take a look at the unit and let you know if there’s anything that’s not working quite right. He’ll also perform regular cleaning and maintenance, so your unit will run strong all summer long.

2.  Your A/C never turns off.

Ideally, an air conditioner will run for a while, turn off when your home reaches the desired temperature, then turn back on again later, when things warm up again. If your unit is running all the time, or doesn’t stay off very long, then it isn’t running as well as it should. Give us a call, and we’ll come figure out what has gone wrong. It’s quite possible that some simple, routine maintenance will get things going again soon.

3.  Your A/C blows lukewarm air.

Maybe the air your unit blows starts out really cold, only to get warmer and warmer the longer the unit runs. Or maybe it starts out lukewarm and stays that way. Either way, a unit that isn’t blowing really cold, all the time, needs some love and care from a technician. Our techs will come out, perform the required maintenance and cleaning, and see if that takes care of the problem. Many times, all you need is a clean filter or a cleaner unit to make your air colder again.

4.  Your A/C is more than 10 years old.

While being older in and of itself doesn’t mean that your unit needs a tune up, it does mean that it could benefit more from regular tune ups than newer units could. Since older units usually aren’t running as efficiently as newer ones do, cleaning them up and making sure everything is up to the manufacturer’s standards can help them cool your home better. It can also help them last longer, both by minimizing wear and tear and by catching problems before they become catastrophic.

 

When you’re ready to have your A/C tuned up, give us a call. We’ll come out at a convenient time, take a look at your unit, perform any required maintenance, and let you know what we find. We hope to see you soon!

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