Hey there! It’s me Olive. Cuddliest source of air systems knowledge. I was recently having a pleasant conversation over a couple of bones with Russ, a Jack Russell Terrier that lives next door. Naturally, our talk turned to that of air conditioning. I was in the middle of telling him how perfectly cool my summer on the vent has been, until I noticed his sad expression. When I asked him, he told me that he too had been enjoying the cool air, until a week ago when their air conditioner began to have problems. Then, it no longer worked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. No air conditioner in the middle of summer?! I now had a mission. I had my humans talk to his humans, and not only did they fix their air conditioner, they also taught them the importance of HVAC maintenance to ensure that this terrible ordeal wouldn’t happen again. Once again, my humans are the heroes! So here is what I learned:
1. HVAC system maintenance
It is much less expensive and time consuming to do small check ups at a time, instead of never doing any and being surprised down the road. Maintenance isn’t expensive compare to what you may have to spend if your system begins to break down and ultimately not work at all. Think about it like your car. You do routine oil changes and tire changes, right? You don’t wait till the engine blows! And doesn’t that routine maintenance allow you to keep your car longer, instead of having to replace it sooner? This is what maintenance does for your system. A constant upkeep allows you to keep your unit in tip top shape for as long as possible.
2. How do I start?
The directions are always in the manual! Your HVAC system should come with a manufacturer’s operating and maintenance manual. This is the blueprint to your system! With this you can learn all about your system, and can begin to build an HVAC maintenance plan. If for some reason you don’t have one, you can call the manufacturers of your system, and you can also check out the list below for reference. But be sure to start before the problems rise up! HVAC systems are notoriously only noticed when a problem arises.
3. Do a life-cycle cost analysis
Things simply go wrong sometimes and it may mean a tough decision between repairing or replacing an HVAC system that is older. This is where the life-cycle analysis comes in. You must consider all of the included costs in this. This includes: cost of equipment, maintenance, and the energy that it will take to do the work. You also have to take into account how well you have taken care of the system in the past years. A system that has not been properly taken care of will not continue to work as well despite starting a maintenance routine than one who has had one since the start. With the life-cycle analysis you will see the efficiency of the unit and its current condition. Ideally, the perfect ratio for taking care of your system should be 30 percent corrective maintenance, and 70 percent preventive maintenance.
Here is a helpful checklist when considering what steps to take in your HVAC Maintenance.
- Inspect inside cooling coil (clean at discounted service rate if necessary).
- Inspect primary and secondary drains.
- Clean and test condensate drain.
- Inspect blower components; clean and/or adjust as necessary.
- Inspect condenser coil; clean as necessary, water clean only.
- Lubricate all moving parts (where applicable)
- Inspect and tighten all loose electrical connections.
- Monitor air conditioner operating pressures for proper refrigerant charge; add up to one pound of “Freon” and insert dye pack.
- Monitor voltage and amperage draw all motors.
- Monitor air conditioning and heating cycles.
- Inspect heat exchanger and burners; vacuum and/or adjust as necessary.
- Inspect pilot operation; adjust as necessary.
- Combustion analysis of flue gases.
- Inspect and test safety controls.
- Monitor air flow for proper settings.
- Inspect thermostat operations.
- Inspect for cracked heat exchanger.
Call my people at MK Russell and Abbott for a great deal on HVAC maintenance here in Maryville and the surrounding area. For $14/month you can get 2 precision tune-ups every year, 24 Hour Priority Service, Professional Cleaning, and much more. Give em a call at 865-982-5133!