Two things that can take some of the fun out of your summer are your AC going out and high energy bills. Luckily, just a little HVAC maintenance ahead of time can help head this off–and it’s easy and inexpensive!   Some heating and cooling system maintenance you can do yourself, but some is best left to a professional.

Is it necessary to service ac every year?

…well, that’s kind of like asking if it’s necessary to get your regular health or dental checkups.  If you don’t, you may get lucky and be ok, but you’re leaving a lot of things to chance. Your HVAC unit is not getting any younger year after year.   Every year you’re likely to see increased energy bills and repair costs–especially if you don’t service your unit regularly.  As your HVAC ages, it becomes less energy-efficient and more prone to breaking down and needing repairs. This is bad for the environment and bad for your wallet.   Maintaining your air conditioner helps slow the decline of your HVAC. It pays for itself over time by keeping your energy and repair bill down and extending the life of your system. And it helps make sure your home stays nice and cool during those hot summers.

When Is the Best Time to Schedule HVAC Maintenance?

So when is the best time to get your regular annual maintenance? Well, it’s NOT in the middle of a hot summer after your AC goes out. Then you’ll be miserably hot and you may have to get on a waiting list behind all of the other people whose AC went out that week.   The best time for maintenance is spring or fall.  It really depends on the seasons where you live.  If summers are brutal but winters mild, then do it in the spring so your unit is freshly serviced to keep you comfortable through the summer.  If your summers are not too bad but the winters get subzero, better to get it serviced in the fall. That way your furnace or heat pump keeps you nice and toasty all winter.   Either way, if you get on a regular annual maintenance schedule you’ll save money in the long run. It will also help the environment by saving energy and help keep your home nice and comfy through the hot summer or long winter.  

Your HVAC Maintenance Checklist

1) Prepare Your Thermostat For Summer And Winter

  This can be DIY if you want.  It’s a good idea to check your thermostat for accuracy before the summer hits. Your HVAC can’t function well if it’s not being properly controlled by the thermostat.   Make sure the batteries are working, and check and see if your thermostat needs to be dusted out or is damaged. Check that it’s not located in a place that can lead to inaccurate heat readings. This could be near a major appliance that puts off heat or an especially cool part of your home. Then turn the thermostat on and check that it’s working properly and it’s giving accurate temperature readings.   Bonus: You may also consider getting a programmable or smart thermostat. This can help keep you comfortable and save you money by automatically adjusting the temperature at different times of the day. It can also turn the HVAC off and on when no one’s home to save even more energy and money.

2) Check Your Filters Regularly

This is another potential DIY, and it’s a very important one!  Replace your filters at least every three months, but you should check them monthly. If you have pets that shed fur and dander or you have allergies, you may want to replace them every one or two months.   Dirty filters make your system work much harder than it should, which lowers it’s energy-efficiency and strains the system.  This leads to higher energy bills and shortens the life of your system.   The key is to get on a regular schedule of checking and changing your filters, and the best rule is–when in doubt, change it out!   Filters are cheap, but dirty filters lead to higher power bills and increase wear on your HVAC.   Bonus: It’s also a good idea to vacuum and check all the vents in your home to make sure they aren’t closed or obstructed. Obstructed or closed vents can cause pressure imbalances that can stress your system and can create issues like mold growth.

3) Test Your HVAC System Ahead Of Time

Now that you’ve checked out your thermostat and changed your filters, it’s time to give the system a test run. Set your HVAC system to a few degrees lower than you normally keep it in the summer and then let it run for at least 10 minutes. This will act like a mild “stress test”.   Look for any signs of problems and repair them before you really need the system in the summer.

4) Get Your HVAC Serviced

But even if everything looks fine, routine maintenance should be done regularly. And what better time than before you need your system? And before the potential waiting lists of the summer start.   During regular maintenance, we check for and service things that are important but not as DIY-friendly.  Things like cleaning in and around your unit, checking refrigerant levels, testing electrical components, lubricating parts, and sealing ductwork.

5) Replace Your Central HVAC System

If it’s time, it’s time.  If your unit is over ten years old, you’ve had high electric bills and repair costs lately, and the long hot summer is coming, you may save yourself the most time, money, and summer sweat by biting the bullet and upgrading.   Not only is that old system becoming less energy-efficient and reliable every year, but modern units are much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. At a certain point, looking into HVAC Replacement services is just the right thing to do for your bank account and the environment.   If you have a brutal summer or long winter ahead of you and your unit is over 10 years old, start paying close attention to your energy and repair bill.  If they’re both starting to climb, it may be time to let your old unit finally rest in peace.   At Cardinal, we provide both HVAC Installation services and HVAC maintenance in Sterling, VA. Or if you’re having trouble with your existing system, we also provide HVAC repair in Sterling.  Just click here or call us at (703) 721-8888 for more information.