Hvac System Maintenance

                                                     HVAC System Maintenance

Before you get hit with holiday chores, save yourself some money by having your heating and cooling system checked and serviced. For heat pumps one thing is a must:  Outdoor and indoor coils have to be clean. Let me explain why this is very important without being too technical.  There are two major tasks that have to be present before a heat pump works properly on each cycle:  Air movement across the indoor and outdoor coils and refrigerant pressure.

Heat Pumps

Heat PumpsTo provide heat during winter, heat pumps work by moving air across the outdoor coil.  The refrigerant in the system picks up heat from the outside air that is being forced through the coil.  The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and raises its temperature.  Heated refrigerant moves inside your home to the indoor coil, air is forced through the coil where it picks up the heat produced by the heated refrigerant and finally the warm air is delivered to the occupied space.

Outdoor coils exposed to the ambient, suffers considerable deterioration due to dirt. On the other hand indoor coils, which are exposed to damp and dust can be clogged easily and can lead to air restriction.  Clogged outdoor and indoor coils can slow the air flow being forced across.  Outdoor and indoor motors have to work harder to maintain the designed air flow, so they consume more electricity.  This condition leads to premature failure of electrical components, and lost of efficiency and comfort.

In the summer heat pumps works in reverse operation.  Whether for heating or cooling, improper maintenance can be grounds for problems.

 If well maintained, it’s most likely that you will get the comfort and efficiency you expect from the equipment.  If not it will deteriorate.

Furnaces  

Furnaces, which burn fuel to produce heat, are subjected to more stringent rules of care. One of the reasons is Carbon Monoxide leaks. CO is a poisoning gas and comes from different appliances in a home. Furnaces in general are one of the largest sources of CO because of the amount of fuel they consume.

Forced air furnaces are design to vent out the combustion gases to the atmosphere through the flue pipe. Combustion gases, can escape into the living area of the home, if the flue pipe is blocked, damaged or disengage, or if the heat exchanger is cracked.

Flue systems and heat exchangers have to be maintained through the life of the furnace to prevent CO leaks and corrosion.

Preventive Maintenance

Periodic maintenance to your heat pump or furnace will prevent future repairs and unwanted costs. It is best to check the heating system in the fall and the cooling system in the spring.

Happy holidays from your friends at Clima Air & Electric.

Jose Jesus Cervantes, HVAC & Electrical Contractor.

Commercial Hvac Maintenance Economics 101

 

Air conditioning and heating maintenance is largely a matter of economics.

If you manage commercial buildings you know that there are two approaches to HVAC maintenance.  One option is what we refer to as “break and fix”.  The other approach is  “scheduled preventive maintenance” with repairs as needed.

While the scheduled approach is intuitively the way to go, there are other factors, not so readily apparent, that reinforce the validity and economy of this approach.

Deferred maintenance (break and fix) is costly in the following ways.

¨    Increased energy consumption

¨    Repairs are usually more costly because of a “cascading” effect in the system, where a small problem tends to cascade to other system components

¨    Occupant comfort and related productivity

¨    Poor reliability resulting in down time

¨    Premature equipment aging and the accelerated need to replace equipment

We can further elaborate on these factors as follows:

¨    Airborne dust and debris particles accumulate on heat transfer surfaces and air filters.  This reduces air flow and heat transfer capacity, meaning you get less of the desired cooling, heating or ventilation capacity per unit of energy.  This causes the machine to run longer at a lower efficiency rate.

¨    A loose or worn drive belt on the blower can cause the cooling coil to ice over and damage the compressor or over-heat the heat exchanger in winter.  This is an example of the “ounce of prevention” adage and the cascading failure principle.

¨    The effects of poor reliability are quite obvious if you are a building manager.

A maintenance program is relatively low in cost and usually involves four visits per year to perform inspections and maintenance.  A maintenance check list is developed and followed for each specific building and system.

There are examples of 30-year-old equipment which was properly maintained throughout its life and is still operating reliably.

How Can Regular Hvac Maintenance Help?

Even though it is not something that a lot of people take time to think about, HVAC maintenance is truly a necessity. In order to make sure that everything runs smooth, filter changes must be done on a regular basis. While it may be easy to remember that much, many people tend to forget that the coils must be cleaned just as often as well. The inside of the air ducts should be cared for as well but unlike the filters and the coils, this is something that should be done by a professional HVAC cleaning service.


A professional service will have a variety of methods that they could use which include scrubbing, blowing, vacuuming, or treatment with chemicals. These chemicals are used to seal, kills, and prevent the growth of organisms including but not limited to mold. After such services are performed, there is said to be better quality of indoor air. Those suffering from respiratory health problems have noted an improvement although there are currently no studies confirming that.


Because there is an expense that goes along with having your air ducts cleaned, many people wonder if it is absolutely necessary on a regular basis. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the publications they put out, it is said that it should not be automatically assumed that you have to have this service all the time. Homes that have vents on the floors are the ones that will be in need of it the most as more dirt and other debris naturally ends up down in the vents.


Once you have determined that it is time to take the money needed and get maintenance done for your HVAC system, it is time to start making those phone calls. Make sure that you are putting your trust into a company that deserves it. There are a lot of companies out there that could very well end up causing your HVAC system more harm then good so you have to be careful to watch for those companies.


Make sure that you are checking out their background and how long they have been in business in your area. Call around for prices in order to make sure that you are getting a great deal. But do not let price be the over all determining factor. Sometimes you get what you pay for so make sure that you are being careful.

Why Is Regular Hvac Maintenance Necessary?

Summer is coming so now is the time to think about your HVAC unit, right? You could not be farther from the truth. Your HVAC system needs to be thought of and addressed every month of the year and once seriously in the spring and the fall. Confused? Then you need to read on.


Unless you feel like spending five ot ten thousand dollars every couple of years to replace the system that keeps your home and family comfortable year around, you need to make sure that your system is properly taken care of so it can take care of you.


What that means is that monthly, or semi monthly in some instances, you need to get in there and change your air filtration filter. Monthly if you just have the normal everyday house with maybe a shorthaired pet and carpeting. Twice a month if you have a couple pets, longhaired bread or hardwood or tile floors. This is because, for all intent and purposes, the area where the filter is becomes the mouth of your unit where it sucks in the air. ALL air will contain some contaminates and if you have certain conditions, it can contain a LOT of them. The good filters are great if you change monthly and the less expensive ones work great if you do it more often.


On top of the monthly or semi-monthly work, you need to have a regular HVAC company drop by and tune it up for you. They will check the Freon (the stuff that keeps it cold) and clean out the vents and the ductwork so that your unit can work efficiently and save you money while it is doing the job of cooling and heating your home. They will check things on the outside and the inside unit and make sure that there are no surprises lurking that will leave you without heat or air at critical moments in time. These check ups are like taking yourself to the doctor on a routine basis to make sure that everything is running well in your body. We all know that if we wait until there is a problem that it becomes exponentially more expensive to cure the problem that if we catch it before it becomes and issue.


There are tons of reasons that keeping your HVAC System maintained will be advantageous to you, but the top five of them that will make immediate sense to you are as follows for those of you keeping score.


1 – Increased Energy Efficiency, which is good for the environment

2 – Cleaner Inside Environment for you and your family

3 – Increased resale value on your house because your unit is in tip top shape

4 – Saving money over the long haul by better running system with less emergencies

5 – Peace of Mind knowing that you’re always going to be warm or cool


So the next time you hear your system kick in remember, it keeps working when you are not home, when you are sleeping and all the time the power is on. So why not schedule in a tune up visit for it so it can keep doing its job?