Relatively few homeowners understand how a home’s HVAC system operates. It’s mystical abilities to cool the home or heat the home is always ignored until the worst possible moment when the on switch is flicked and the roaring sound of rushing air is never heard. The next thoughts inevitably come around to “How much is this going to cost to fix?” and “I can’t afford to pay a repair bill now!”
Repair bills can be expensive and often are, but there are much less expensive alternatives. Performing routine home maintenance also should include the air conditioner and heating system. Most individuals do not possess anemometers, capacitance meters, vacuum gauges, etc. which are necessary to test and maintain air conditioning and heating systems. Most people don’t know how to use these tools, much less ever hearing of them. The maintenance which can save the homeowner money does not require any specialized tools or knowledge.
A few basics which don’t require any expensive purchases are monthly replacements of the air filters and a visible inspection of the outside condensing unit. The reason these two maintenance tasks are so crucial is that it prevents the HVAC system from working harder than it needs to and any damage or problem with the outside unit, which is almost always exposed to the harsh elements, is often apparent even to the untrained lay person.
Another common problem with outside units is that the cooling fins which are exposed to debris and rocks thrown from lawn mowers, can become bent and mashed together. A simple inexpensive fix for this is to purchase and use a fin comb. The purpose of the fins are to provide more surface area from which heat will dissipate. Should the fins become bent and crushed together, the free movement of air is substantially restricted which will cause the system to work harder and less efficiently.
Many professional air conditioning companies offer service contracts which provide routine inspections and adjustments of the equipment and recharging of the coolant level. While this next alternative does increase in cost, it will guarantee that the home’s HVAC system is always working at maximum potential and efficiency. The huge benefit of this method is that many major problems can be foreseen and corrected before becoming major problems which translate to major cost. Besides preventing costly repairs or replacement of equipment, it also means that any equipment down time will be kept to a minimum which translates to maximum comfort.
Those individuals which would benefit the most from service contracts would be the elderly and the young. These two demographics are at greater risk for being detrimentally affected by the heat and extreme colder temperatures.