Your Guide To Heating and Cooling Maintenance
To maintain your heating and cooling system, you need to understand the different components that make it up. The more knowledge that you have about your heater and air conditioner, the more likely you are to notice when something is wrong. Once you have a foundation of what your HVAC system does, it’s easy to watch for warning signs and to seek proper maintenance in Ballwin. This guide will tell you what you need to know about your HVAC system and how to keep it running efficiently all year round.
The Crucial Components of an HVAC System
There are many different components to your heating and cooling system, though only six you need to think about. First, the component that most people are familiar with is the thermostat. The thermostat contains sensors that control when the heated air or cooled air turns off. Normally, you want the thermostat near the center of the home. This will keep it away from drafty or stuffy areas. In some houses, you may have one thermostat whereas with other units you have several that control different zones.
Next, there is the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger absorbs heat and warms cool air. A gas furnace and electric furnace have one thing in common: they both have heat exchangers. This component contains temperature resistant alloys and stainless steel to prevent damage.
Once the air in the heat exchanger reaches the correct temperature, an electric blower motor sends the air through your home’s ductwork via a fan. The air should reach every room in your home. All of the warm air that is inside the heat exchanger
will reach the rooms of your home before the motor shuts down before the next heating cycle.
The combustion chamber, also known as the burner, is what begins the heating cycle. In gas furnaces, a small amount of air and gas mixture enters the chamber and then a pilot light ignites it. It burns in a controlled fire as more gas and air enter the burner.
For the air conditioner or the heat pump, you have the condenser coil. The condenser coil is outside the home. It releases heat outside to draw cool air into your home. It compresses and condenses refrigerant to create a cold liquid. Then the fan blows air over the compressor to cool the refrigerant. Next, the HVAC system pulls the refrigerant through a copper or aluminum line to the evaporator coil.
This leads you to the evaporator coil. This coil is in the systems indoor air handler. It brings refrigerant into a series of small nozzles and sprays the liquid refrigerant to evaporate. The HVAC system blows warm air from the home through the ducts over your evaporator to cool it down. Then, it can send the refrigerant gas to the condenser coil to start the cooling cycle.
The Top HVAC Warning Signs
The next step in proper HVAC system maintenance is to be able to read some of the more urgent warning signs that something is wrong with your machine. These are signs that you do not want to ignore:
- Unusual smells
- Reduced air quality
- Reduced airflow
- Odd noises
- Uneven heating and cooling
If you notice anything off about your heating and air conditioning system, it’s important not to ignore it. However, these are some of the more telltale signs.
Unusual smells may range from rotten eggs, electrical burning smells or musty smells. If you smell any of these, you need to take action quickly, particularly in the case of the rotten eggs or burning. A rotten egg smell points to a gas leak whereas a burning smell may be a potential fire hazard.
Odd noises can be due to a number of problems. Most often, you may hear a squeaking, grating, squealing or grinding noise coming from the HVAC. To find out the source of the problem, you may need a professional.
Your HVAC system should run how the manufacturer designed it to run. This means if it has uneven cooling or reduced airflow and quality that something is wrong with it. Likewise, a leak that causes a large puddle is cause for concern.
If you experience any of these warning signs or if you experience a warning sign that concerns you, it never hurts to have it inspected.
The Most Common HVAC Problems
Without regular maintenance, quite a few problems spring up. Likewise, even with maintenance, you may run into one or two issues. Normally, when you focus on preventative maintenance, these issues will be a lot less serious and more cost-effective.
Tripped circuit breakers are a common problem people face when it comes to their HVAC system. This is because the blower is overworking or there is something blocking the airflow to the system. Sometimes this is as simple as a dirty air filter. Dirty air filters are actually the most common problems. Check filters before you reset the breaker and if the problem continues, you may need a professional.
Over time, the mechanics of the HVAC system will become more run down and undergo a lot of wear and tear. Belts may wear out, the system might overheat and airflow issues may occur. It’s important to have your components checked regularly for problems.
In addition, watch out for water leaks. Condensation is normal but puddles are not. If you have cracked or clogged drain lines, this could lead to leaking. Of course,
this may not be the only reason but it is the most common. All problems should have a professional’s look.
When it comes to HVAC problems, a lot of it stems from improper maintenance. The more you focus on upkeep, the more likely you are to catch problems because they turn into serious issues. You may even prevent some problems from springing up.
The Top Maintenance Tips
The main part of heating and cooling maintenance is to have regular inspections. You should have a contractor look at your unit more than once a year. The benefits of regular professional maintenance are as follows:
- Enhanced indoor comfort
- Save money on future repairs
- Readily available repair services
- Honors your warranty
In addition to having regular inspections, there are also a few maintenance tips that you can keep up with on your own.
First, always change out dirty filters. Not only will this cause your air quality to go down but also it can cause the system to work less efficiently. Dust, dander and pollen can clog an air filter. When this happens, asthma and allergy symptoms become worse and the indoor comfort drops significantly.
In addition, always make sure that your unit is level. Make sure all air conditioning units and heat pumps are firm on the ground. While you ensure that your unit is
level, you can also inspect the insulation on the refrigerant lines to make sure none is damaged or missing.
If you’re worried about clogs, you can pour a cup of bleach and water solution into the air conditioning condensation drain to prevent mold and algae.
For more tips, you can also consult professional service technicians. Often, they will come up with a maintenance routine and schedule that will keep your unit running efficiently at all times.
The Benefits of HVAC Maintenance
When you maintain your heating and cooling unit, you allow for a number of benefits. You’ll experience a lower electric bill due to your machine running efficiently. Likewise, your air quality and airflow will be generally better. What people don’t always realize, however is how much money that they will save with a maintenance plan.
When you have a maintenance plan by a professional, you don’t have to worry about your unit shutting down at the most inopportune time. If there is a problem, the technician will catch it. Odds are, he or she will catch it early enough that you don’t have to worry about replacements or costly repairs.
In addition, if your HVAC system is still under warranty, it’s possible that you would have to pay for any problems with it if you don’t have regular maintenance. Say that it randomly stops working and while you might know it’s a manufacturer’s defect, they won’t have to replace it if you didn’t follow the stipulations of the warranty and have regular maintenance performed.
The truth is that you can’t just expect your HVAC unit to run on its own with little to no maintenance. Many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring the unit when it isn’t in use. One of the main benefits of maintenance is that you know what’s going on with it all year round. There are never any surprises.
A quality heating and cooling system still needs proper maintenance to function properly. The more that you know about your system, the more likely you are going to be able to take care of it. As long as you keep up with maintaining your heater and air conditioning in Ballwin, you will reap the benefits. You will suffer less breakdowns and have to deal with less repairs over time.