HVAC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why should I perform Planned Maintenance?
Heating and cooling systems work incredibly hard to perform their functions for your household. The constant stopping, starting and continual operation can wear down a machine quickly and unexpectedly if the proper care and maintenance is delayed. However, by performing Planned Maintenance, or servicing your system regularly, you can maximize the life cycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many unexpected failures. Planned maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts.
What equipment requires Planned Maintenance?
At least once a year heat pumps and air conditioners require a professional tune-up. Because gas-fired equipment functions with greater efficiency, it only needs to be serviced every other year.
Inspections on boiler and furnace systems should include ductwork, pipes, dampers, valves, the chimney, registers, radiators, pumps, blowers, fuel lines, the gas meter, oil tank and every part of the actual furnace and boiler. Meanwhile, heat pump and air conditioning unit inspections should also include inspections of the fan, compressor, indoor coils, outdoor coils and refrigerant lines.
What type of filter should I use?
Standard filters work to keep your system and its ductwork clean, but they don’t really improve indoor air quality. To do that you need a media filter. The media filter rests between the main return duct and the blower cabinet and will improve dust and particle removal by seven times that of a standard filter. However, upgrading to a pleated media filter will remove everything from insecticide dust to airborne viruses from the filtered air. A media filter can have a life exceeding two months, and its only drawback is that its tight fiber weave can cause your furnace to have to work harder to blow air through the house. Always choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity.
What are the Planned Maintenance measures for my ducts?
Although modern technology has made significant advances in air filters over the past decade, a fractional amount of dust still finds its way past heating and cooling filters and into your home’s ducts. As this dust accumulates throughout your home, it creates the perfect environment for the growth of mold, mites and harmful bacteria. To check your ducts for dust buildup, pull off several supplies and return registers and see how much dust has accumulated in the system. If you choose to clean your system, your best option is to contact a professional duct cleaner. Although duct cleaning has little effect on the actual air quality, it will eliminate a house-wide breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold in addition to helping your heating and cooling system operate more efficiently. If you are installing a new system, you should consider cleaning the ducts at the same time. New systems are often more powerful than old systems and can stir up dust that is sitting in the existing ductwork.
What is the most efficient way to run my heating and cooling system?
Here are several tips to help you keep your system running at its most efficient level:
- Keep your thermostat at a constant temperature; the recommended temperature is 78º, even when no one is home.
- Change your filters every month.
- Check the outside condensing unit regularly for any grass clippings or leaves stuck to the coil. If it is dirty:
- Disconnect the power at the circuit breaker FIRST!
- Spray water from a garden hose through the coil until the water passing through it is clear.
- Turn the power back on.
- Have the unit serviced every spring by a licensed service company.
- Use a shop-vac to clean out your drain line on a regular basis. This will prevent the water from backing up and causing damage to your home or office.
- Remember to change your air filter on a monthly basis. This simple task can often save you time and money by preventing break downs that require a service tech to repair.
- Before calling for a service tech. always be sure to check your breakers and your t-stat to be sure they are turned on. Many service calls can be avoided by a simple reset of the breakers and t-stat.
- If you or family members suffer from health problems, look into a Harkins A/C Zone unit for your home. This will reduce the amount of harmful particles in the air and slowly help or stop the spread of sickness to other family members.
If you are having problems with your system please give us a call to see what can be done to put your system back to its normal running capacity. Harkins A/C always has someone available to take your call. Service technicians are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year.