Preventive HVAC Maintenance

Routine HVAC Maintenance Is Good for you

Preventive HVAC Maintenance = Big Savings

If you take good care of your home’s HVAC system, you won’t have any unlikely issues with it.

Preventive HVAC maintenance includes agreements made between the homeowner and their HVAC contractor of choice. This agreement is referred to as a PMA or a preventive maintenance agreement. It is done by licensed HVAC contractors who conduct pre-arranged check-ups and preventive HVAC maintenance.

A PMA is often arranged during the spring and the fall to ensure your unit’s optimum performance and efficiency, minimize utility bills, secure a longer lifespan for your unit, and prevent premature breakdowns. At times, A PMA is also called a “planned maintenance agreement”, “preventive service agreement” or a “start and checks”. The majority of agreements serviced by contractors consist of an overall checkup of your home’s HVAC system and regular maintenance like air filter cleaning and replacement.

Energy Consumption

Your home’s biggest contributor on energy consumption is most likely the HVAC system. Refrigeration is often used among commercial applications (along with the HVAC system), so the entire building consumes so much energy. The truth is, around 1/3 of the country’s energy consumption is attributed to heating and cooling. And up to 50% of this can actually be conserved through proper installation, correct sizing of equipment, and routine maintenance of your central AC system along with heat pumps. Even if it mostly deals with commercial usage, it can also be true that homeowners can likewise save up to 50% of the total energy used by securing regular preventive HVAC maintenance.

Keep in Mind Even if you Seldom See it

Most often than not, neglect is often due to the fact that homeowners seldom see their unit. An HVAC system is often located in out-of-the-way spots in the house like the basement, rooftops, closet, or mechanical rooms, so homeowners often forget about them. People often take it for granted and only remembers it when it has a breakdown. It leads to reduced efficiency, pricey utilities, comfort issues, productivity loss, replacements sooner than expected, and even pricier repair costs.

Having your HVAC system checked at least a couple of times in a year is as essential as changing your car’s oil when it reaches 3,000 miles.

What Happens During a Scheduled PMA Visit?

* Inspection of the functions of the system, safety controls, and adjustment of the operating sequence wherever applicable.
* Inspection of all the electrical parts and connections, and the relevant repair, replacement or tightening.
* Make sure there’s a sufficient airflow and replacement of filthy air filters when necessary.
* Inspection of pumps, lubrication and checking of flow rates wherever applicable.
* Cleaning and lubricating of the relevant motors.
* Examining, adjustment and aligning of belts.
* Inspection, cleaning, and balancing of the relevant blowers.

Spring Visit (In anticipation of summer)

* Cleaning of the interior coils, condensate traps, pans, and lines to inhibit the formation of obstructions.
* Cleaning of the exterior coils and straightening of the fins to boost efficiency.
* Inspecting levels of the refrigerant. When low, look for the leak source and address it. (A lot of equipment manufacturers state that a refrigerant loss of 10% can lead to a 20% system efficiency reduction.)

Fall Visit (In anticipation of winter)

* Cleaning of the burner assembly.
* Removal of soot from the burner’s fireside.
* Cleaning and inspection of the humidifier’s operation.
* Inspection of the heat exchanger for leaks and cracks.
* Adjusting the burner’s air-to-fuel ratio and performing combustion analysis.

Reminder: When dealing with heat pumps, an inspection during winter repeats some of the procedures done during summer along with some other additional checks. Securing PMA’s twice a year for your heat pump is also essential.

The Bottom Line

Savings: You can recover the money you spend on PMA’s through lower energy costs, higher efficiency, and discounts given by the contractor. Homeowners often get discounts on various components and services done over the whole year.

Peace of Mind: Routine preventive HVAC maintenance results in fewer system failures and can extend your system’s lifespan.

Priority Service: In case you experience a system failure in the middle of summer or the dead of winter, a PMA customer is attended to first.

Continuity: Certain technicians get assigned to particular customers. Hence, a homeowner can have the same contractor who is more familiar with him or her and the equipment.

Signs You Need an Oil Furnace Repair

Don’t put off an oil furnace repair when one is needed.

If you sense that your heating system is not working like it is supposed to be, you must learn how to recognize signs when it need an oil furnace repair not to make matters worse. Any problem concerning your heating system arising in the dead of winter must be taken cared of right away, or suffer cold days and nights when the outside temperature is below freezing point. First you would want to troubleshoot it first, here are few suggestions on how to troubleshoot oil furnace If you want to get your home heating back on track, don’t put off a much-needed oil furnace repair any longer. The following signs are excellent tip-offs telling you to schedule an oil furnace repair with your local heating contractor the soonest time possible.

A Working Oil Burner but is not Firing
The typical cause of this problem is simply an empty oil tank. During cold Canadian winters, your oil furnace is under undue stress than ever before. You may have arranged for a regular fuel delivery, but you might still face an empty tank because of the high demand for heat. Or, you may have clogged nozzles because of the buildup of sediment on your line all the way from your tank’s bottom. Other likely causes can be an oil pump that’s no longer working or a broken igniter. Fill up the tank with fuel and see if it fixes the problem. If it does not work, call for help from a licensed heating contractor.

A Broken Oil Furnace Burner
Likely causes of a broken burner are either the lack of fuel or power. For blown fuses, you can end up with a broken furnace too. Ensure that the thermostat’s setting is correct before checking if there are any blown fuses. Also, don’t forget for fuel in the tank. Another thing you must check is whetheryou have broken or frayed wires going up to the circuit. You can likewise try setting up the thermostat higher than usual to find out if the system will turn on. It can be anything from a clogged filter to a broken blower motor at the worst.

Smoke Coming from the Burner
The primary reason burners emit smoke is because of clogged nozzles. The often quick fix for this is by making adjustments on the nozzle. But if the nozzle is not the issue here, the likely culprits may be a reduced air flow secondary to a chimney blockage. The proven oil furnace repair for this problem is by adjusting or replacing the nozzle. Having it undergo a combustion analysis will likewise tell you exactly what the cause of this problem is.

Burns Excessive Fuel
Once you realize your furnace consumes excessive fuel, you might need to make some adjustments to it. First, check the furnace’s condition and recall when it was last cleaned. Also, your home insulation is a crucial factor in determining furnace controls over your home indoor temperature. Drafty windows and doors waste a lot of energy since it sucks out more heat from the inside than what your furnace can typically produce. Schedule an inspection so that experts can check the severity of those drafts. Furthermore, don’t forget to take a closer look at your duct system. You can only ensure that no air escapes your home when the system is sealed properly.

Fumes in your Home
It is not normal to smell burning furnace within your home. Clogged nozzles often cause issues involving the appearance of smoke, along with not having the right end cone in a furnace or a cracked heat exchanger. It is risky, and you have to call a professional to clean your chimney if the issue persists even after changing your nozzle.

Don’t fret in case you’ll need an oil furnace repair. Normal wear and tear affect your system’s efficiency, and at times, you can’t avoid experiencing some issues with it because of constant use.

HVAC Filters: What Works for You

How often are you changing your HVAC filters? Are you getting your filters replaced once a month? If you aren’t, you better be! HVAC filters play an important role in keeping the indoor air you breathe a quality one and at the same time making sure that you have an energy efficient heating and cooling system. Keep in mind that HVAC filters protect your unit including you and your family’s health. Yes, that is how important these filters are.

In a research done by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers in 2009, they have proven that HVAC units with filters that are not clean and regularly changed decrease in energy efficiency by about 10 percent or even more. That ultimately means that because of dirty filters, homeowners aren’t getting the best deal out of their buck.

How do you choose the right filter that will actually work for you? For starters, it is best to be aware of the different kinds of filters that are available in the market today. You also need to be well informed of each filter’s measure of effective, also known as minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). MERV rating ranges from 1 to 16 – 1 being the least effective and 16 as the highest rating.

Types of Filters

Fiberglass Filters

If you are wondering about fiberglass air filters, these are filters that feature a very thin and flat panel surface used to trap air particles. Fiberglass filters were mainly made to protect the HVAC unit itself, not necessarily to improve the quality of your indoor air.

Fiberglass filters are generally sold at $1 per piece and have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. That usually means that these filters can only filter and remove less than 10 percent of the air pollutants found within your home.

Polyester and Pleated Filters

These filters are similar to fiberglass but are more efficient and superior in trapping dust and other air pollutants. In fact, these are capable of removing up to 45 percent of the home’s air pollutant.

Polyester and pleated filters are sold at $10 with a MERV rating that ranges from 8 to 13.

Washable Air Filters

With a MERV rating of 1 to 4, this type of filter, as most technicians would agree on, is the worst filter that you can have for your HVAC system. This sells for $20 each and requires major maintenance.

It doesn’t even end there. These filters easily collect bacteria and fungus which can circulate throughout the house if escaped. With that being said, do avoid using this type of filters.

High-Efficiency Filters

This type of filters can remove way more air pollutants than a polyester filter. It can remove up to 85 percent of the air pollutants from a building or your home. This filter is usually priced at $25 each. Its MERV rating also ranges from 14 to 16.

These filters are made from synthetic polyester fibers or pleated filter paper. Small particles of pollen, dust or other irritants can easily be trapped in these filters. These are normally being used in hospitals or any other clean-room environments as it can also remove bacteria from the air.

Since we have listed the types of filters that you can use for your HVAC system, be reminded that the best filter does not always depend on the MERV rating. Just because you see a high MERV rating does not automatically mean that it is the best one for you. Remember that if a filter causes restriction in the air flow, it causes your unit to malfunction. This malfunction could lead to more problems not just with your unit but also with you and your family’s health. So choose the filter that will not cause too much restriction in the air flow but at the same time still remove a good number of contaminants or air pollutants.

For homeowners who wish to keep the dust in control while making sure that their HVAC unit is functioning at its best, go for HVAC filters with a MERV rating between 9 and 12.

Remember to always change your filters on a regular basis. This simple step, along with other basic maintenance guides will definitely make a huge difference in your system’s efficiency and lifespan.
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