How Often Should You Get HVAC Maintenance?
You rely on your San Bernardino, CA, heating and cooling system to maintain indoor comfort. Heating and cooling systems have hundreds of parts, and these parts need regular maintenance in order to work properly. A well-maintained heating and cooling system also delivers better comfort and costs less to operate. Here’s what you need to know about how often and when to schedule tune-ups for your home’s heating and cooling system.
Maintenance Needs of a Standard Furnace or Boiler
With nighttime temperatures dropping to the range of 40 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit between November and March, you’ll need a properly working furnace or boiler to keep your San Bernardino home warm and safe. A standard furnace or boiler is only needed during the colder months of the year. Because of this, we recommend an annual heating system tune-up. The best time of the year for the tune-up is in October. Scheduling this maintenance visit in mid-autumn is wise because it gives our technicians plenty of time to prepare the heating system.
During a furnace or boiler maintenance visit, we make sure the heating system efficiently and effectively burns fuel. We also ensure that there are no gas leaks. Our technicians inspect the flue, fan, blower motor, heat exchanger, burners and all other parts. We also clean the combustion chamber and burners, check the pilot and verify the thermostat and control settings. If your home has a high-efficiency furnace, our maintenance visit also includes cleaning the condensate drain. The furnace’s filter will be checked and changed, too. Our technicians can also show you how to access and change the filter between furnace tune-ups.
Tune-Up for a Central Air Conditioning System
Summers in San Bernardino are long and hot, and an annual air conditioning maintenance visit will keep the system running smoothly. We recommend scheduling an air conditioning tune-up in the spring. The months of March and April are good times to schedule this appointment. During an air conditioning system tune-up, our technicians measure the refrigerant level and system pressure. All hoses, connections and other parts are inspected. We check and clean the condenser and evaporator coils, fan and motor. We also run a system performance test. Our technicians check and calibrate the thermostat and temperature sensors and verify the integrity of the condensate drain and pipe. We’ll also check and replace the air handler’s filter and show you how to do it between annual tune-ups.
Frequency of Maintenance for a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are used for indoor comfort year-round. Their reversing valves allow them to transfer heat into your home in the wintertime and out of your home during the summertime. Because a heat pump is in use most of the year, it needs two maintenance visits. You should schedule the first heat pump maintenance visit in the springtime and the second maintenance visit during the autumn months of the year.
For the spring maintenance visit, we perform the same services as we would for a central air conditioning system. The months of March and April are good times for heat pump maintenance. This visit will make sure the heat pump can keep your home cool and comfortable for the summer. In October, your heat pump will need another tune-up to prepare it for cooler winter weather. Follow this schedule for all types of heat pumps, including air-source, water-source and ground-source systems.
Special Situations That Warrant More Frequent Maintenance
In some cases, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system may need more frequent maintenance. If anyone in your household has a serious respiratory illness or condition, compromised immune system or other chronic health conditions, you may benefit from more frequent air filter changes and duct cleaning.
Another time to schedule an extra maintenance visit is if you recently remodeled or renovated your home. Many remodeling activities create a lot of particulate matter. Those particles can get into your heating and cooling system’s ducts and cover the coils, fan and other critical components. The buildup reduces heating and cooling system efficiency and can shorten the system’s lifespan. As soon as the renovations are complete, change the system’s air filter, and consider scheduling a tune-up visit.
If your home recently had a flood or fire, it’s also a good idea to schedule an HVAC maintenance visit. These situations can cause odors, vapors and spores to build up in your heating and cooling system. Water, smoke or heat may also damage critical parts. After a flood or fire, even a small one, have your system checked by a qualified heating and cooling technician.
How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Filter?
During a maintenance visit, our technicians will check and replace the air filter. We also recommend that you do this between maintenance visits. Set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar so that you don’t forget to check the filter. Keep it simple by checking the filter on the same day or date of each month, such as the first Friday or the 30th day. Refer to your heating and cooling system’s owner’s manual for the location of the filter. Most filters are located in a housing with an easy-to-access door that lifts or slides open. If the filter is dirty, remove and replace it. At a minimum, replace the filter every three months.
Operating a heating or cooling system with a dirty filter decreases its energy efficiency by 15% and reduces the flow of heated or cooled air to your home. Choose a filter with a minimum efficiency reported value (MERV) of 12 or higher if anyone in your home has allergies, asthma or another breathing disorder or chronic health problem.
Other Maintenance Tasks That You Need to Do
In addition to checking and changing the air filter when it’s dirty, there are some additional maintenance tasks you should do between professional tune-ups. Once each month, check around the outdoor unit. Vegetation may grow and interfere with its air circulation. Trim back any tree branches, shrubs, weeds or tall grass that grows within three feet of the outdoor unit. Rake leaves and other debris away from the unit.
Benefits of Keeping Up With HVAC Maintenance
A well-maintained heating and cooling system is less likely to malfunction. Keeping up with regular maintenance also extends the system’s lifespan. Routine maintenance ensures that the heating or cooling system operates as efficiently as possible, so it will do a better job of keeping your home comfortable. The improved efficiency will also be noticeable on your monthly utility bills. Proper maintenance of the heating and cooling system reduces its energy use and lowers your home’s carbon footprint. Maintaining the system also lowers the risk of a malfunction that could put your safety or health at risk.
At We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air, we’re proud to be the trusted provider of HVAC maintenance in San Bernardino and the surrounding areas. Our heating, cooling and plumbing repair and installation services are designed with your comfort and safety in mind. Homeowners also count on our indoor air quality solutions for healthy and comfortable homes. To learn more about how often to schedule HVAC maintenance for your home in or near San Bernardino, get in touch with us at We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air today.