If you’re interested in getting your HVAC system to run more efficiently and last longer, one of the most important things to do is commit to regular, scheduled maintenance. But what does this regular maintenance include? And how exactly does it extend the lifespan of your HVAC system?
Depending on the type of unit you get and how you take care of that unit, you can expect an air conditioner to last between 10 and 15 years. In some cases, your unit can last upwards of 20 years – or even longer. That said, it’s also possible for an AC unit to fail after just a few years of operation (if it isn’t maintained properly).
It’s in your best interest to maximize the lifespan of your unit. For starters, this will save you money; you’ll need to buy fewer total air conditioners over the course of your life, and each AC unit you buy will provide you with more service. It’s also much more convenient; you won’t have to mess with buying and installing new units on a regular basis.
The Benefits of Regular Maintenance
You can boost the lifespan of your unit with regular maintenance for many reasons:
- Filter replacement. Your HVAC systems’ air filter is designed to catch small particles of dust, dirt, and other forms of debris before they reach your central unit. If this filter wasn’t in place, small particles would quickly deteriorate your system and render it inoperable. If this filter accumulates too many particles, it will become clogged and incapable of functioning properly; at this point, your system may not get enough clean air to work efficiently. That’s why routine maintenance typically involves replacing this filter with a new one.
- General cleaning. HVAC maintenance also includes general cleaning. Your HVAC technician will remove leaves, dirt, and other pieces of foreign matter from your outdoor components and clean the interior components of your indoor equipment. Over time, even small particles and pieces of debris can cause wear and tear, ultimately resulting in failure. Keeping the entire system clean will allow it to operate efficiently and reduce this potential damage.
- Lubricating and strain reduction. In line with this, most HVAC maintenance also includes some elements of lubrication and strain reduction. HVAC units rely on a complex system of moving, interdependent parts. If those parts can’t move freely, or if there’s something impeding their movement, the unit isn’t going to function efficiently.
- Leak detection and response. Maintenance is also an opportunity to check for leaks. If there’s a problem with your ductwork or your ventilation system, you won’t be able to distribute air efficiently throughout your house. And if your AC unit is leaking refrigerant, it could turn into a massive problem if not addressed soon.
- Discovering small issues. As with any complex system of moving parts, small issues can quickly escalate to become big issues. If one component becomes bent or warped, it could impact the functionality of its neighbor parts. From there, you could end up seeing a catastrophic chain reaction – and the premature failure of your entire HVAC system, or at least, a very expensive repair bill.
Ultimately, all these effects have a shared function; they serve to make your HVAC system run more efficiently and cleanly. When your unit is operating more efficiently, it suffers less strain and less damage over time, keeping it in good condition for the longest possible amount of time.
Elements of Proper Maintenance
So what does it take to conduct proper HVAC maintenance?
Some elements of HVAC maintenance are simple – and are something homeowners and business owners can take care of by themselves. But others are a bit trickier. And since the nature of your unit and the nature of your home play a role in how maintenance should be performed, proper maintenance isn’t always clear or straightforward.
That’s why most people rely on a professional HVAC service for all their repair and maintenance needs. Once you find an HVAC partner you can trust, you can call them out once or twice a year for a cleaning and inspection.
Typical maintenance includes the following:
- Cleaning. Cleaning is a big part of maintenance. It’s important to keep your equipment free of dust and debris – or at least, as much as possible. Doing so will keep your unit operating efficiently (and might improve your air quality at the same time).
- Adjusting. This is also a chance to make critical adjustments. For example, you can straighten the fins of your AC unit or adjust the angle of your unit’s fan blades. Even small tweaks can make a big difference, especially over the course of months.
- Replacing. Some components are going to need to be replaced – especially your filters. Though you’ll hear some different recommendations from different authorities, the most common recommendation is to replace your HVAC filters every 90 days or so (or 4 times a year). You may need to replace these more or less often, depending on your usage levels.
- Inspecting. Is there anything wrong with your HVAC system? This is your chance to catch a small problem before it becomes a big problem (and repair it before it can ruin your entire system).
- Frequency and regularity. Finally, it’s important to spend some time with each of the above elements on a frequent and regular basis. It’s not enough to do a thorough cleaning once every few years; instead, it’s important to do at least once a year. Try to schedule your maintenance at the same times each year so it’s easier to remember and keep consistent; for example, you could conduct heater maintenance in November and AC maintenance in May.
With a scheduled maintenance plan in place, you’ll be in a position to get more value – and a longer life – from your HVAC system. Schedule HVAC maintenance with Mackey Mechanical today – and one of our experts will do everything they can to keep your system running properly.