Preventative Maintenance Q & A

Why should I perform preventive 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 preventive maintenance, or servicing your system regularly, you can maximize the lifecycle of your heating or cooling unit and guard against many unexpected failures. Preventive maintenance inspections performed on a regular basis can uncover leaks, rust, rot, soot, frayed wires and corroded electrical contacts.

What equipment requires preventive 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 furnace filters work well 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 furnace filter. A media filter can have a life exceeding two years, 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 preventive 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 supply and return registers and see how much dust has accumulated in the system. 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! Use a shop-vac with a brush attachment to vacuum off the debris. Run 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.

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