HVAC planned maintenance: Comfort, savings and safety

Taking Care of Business

If you had a new heating and/or air conditioning system installed within the past year or two, chances are the installer recommended an HVAC maintenance plan. But do you really need preventative maintenance? Ideally, everything is in good condition so you should expect no problems for a while. 

That’s partly true. In the first year or two, it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong with the equipment itself. However, there are lots of environment-related problems that can happen even to new systems that can be prevented with a good cleaning and tune up. Over time, neglected maintenance will shorten the life of your system. Some of these issues can even cause you headaches in the short term. 

Here are seven reasons to get an HVAC maintenance plan for a new system.

1. Prevent water damage. Water leaks from air conditioning systems can cause expensive damage to walls, floors, furnishings and decorative finishes. In most cases, water leaks happen when drain lines and pans get clogged with debris. This can happen surprisingly fast if your equipment components are installed in a dusty area, and you could end up with a water leak even if you have a relatively new system. The risk of water damage is the main reason many property owners (commercial and residential) require tenants to have an HVAC maintenance plan. When leaks happen, it can cause major damage not only to your space, but to other parts of the building as well. HVAC maintenance helps to prevent water leaks with regular cleaning of drain lines and pans. 

2. Replace and clean filters. Your HVAC equipment has filters to prevent dust and debris from getting into the equipment and causing damage. Those filters need to be cleaned or replaced periodically (depending on the type). For most residential systems, filters need attention once or twice a year or more frequently, like monthly during peak heating and cooling seasons. You can clean or replace filters yourself, but most homeowners prefer to have them taken care of by experts along with the rest of the system during a regular service visit.

3. Clean coils. Your air conditioning system has two types of coils with sensitive fins responsible for removing heat from the air in your space and releasing excess heat outside the home or building. The coils can get coated with dust and grime (especially the ones located outdoors), making it harder for them to transfer heat. Many HVAC maintenance plans include cleaning the coils to keep them working properly. 

4. Check airflow. Your HVAC equipment needs proper airflow to control the temperature in your space. There are issues that can cause reduced airflow, even with new systems. A common reason for reduced airflow is air ducts with holes or cracks. This can happen if your ducts were not replaced when your new system was installed. We have also seen pests (insects, birds or rodents) getting into duct systems, causing damage that leads to airflow problems. During a regular maintenance visit, your technician will check the airflow levels and investigate the cause if found to be low. 

5. Check for refrigerant leaks. For most air conditioning systems, refrigerant (freon) is the chemical that provides the cooling power. It circulates through long tubing lines connected to your equipment. However, sometimes refrigerant lines can get damaged through some types of physical contact (even on a new system), causing a slow refrigerant leak. HVAC technicians routinely check refrigerant levels during regular maintenance visits. If the level is off, your technician will know to look for a leak and repair it. Otherwise, you’ll never know until your system stops cooling your space.

6. Prevent voiding the warranty. Some HVAC equipment manufacturers require periodic maintenance as a condition of the warranty. If that’s true for your system, neglecting maintenance will mean that your warranty claim will be denied if you end up having a problem with your new equipment. That’s why it’s smart to record your maintenance visits. Better yet, establish a relationship with one company that will keep detailed records of the work performed on your system.

7. Keep your equipment in peak condition  Going through the process of choosing and installing a new heating and air conditioning system can be time consuming, not to mention expensive. Naturally, you want your new equipment to last as long as possible. An HVAC maintenance plan ensures that your equipment gets serviced regularly and stays in “like new” condition for much longer than equipment that’s neglected. That means fewer breakdowns, better efficiency and reduced energy consumption, a longer life span and better comfort conditions for you and your family.

Getting an HVAC maintenance plan for your new system not only prevents the problems discussed here, but also allows you to establish a relationship with a trusted service company. Your technical team gets to know you and your equipment, bringing you peace of mind. You also save money with a yearly contract and can get priority service if you need emergency repairs. Comfort, savings and safety — it’s what HVAC planned maintenance is all about! 

About John Kennedy 14 Articles
John Kennedy is general manager of Art Newsome, Inc. and can be reached at 873-0345 or by email at jkennedy@artnewsomeinc.com.