The generally mild weather in Birmingham, Alabama, makes it easy to forget about HVAC maintenance. When your system is humming along and keeping you comfortable, you might not even remember to schedule service, or you might be tempted to postpone it until next year. The only problem is that skipping maintenance sets you up for an HVAC breakdown sooner or later.

What’s so Important About Annual Heating and Cooling Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance does two things. First, it ensures that all system components are in good working order and that nothing is about to break. Second, it primes the system for optimal performance during the hot or cold season ahead. Over time, parts wear out, and if they’re not working properly, they can damage your equipment. Additionally, if your system isn’t performing optimally, energy bills will increase and indoor comfort will decline.

What Happens During a Typical HVAC Tune-up?

Your service technician will inspect the entire unit for existing issues and potential problems. Worn belts, loose or damaged parts and poor connections can all be identified and corrected during a maintenance inspection before they cause trouble and create unexpected breakdowns. Up to 95 percent of all HVAC repairs are due to potential problems that are allowed to escalate instead of being nipped in the bud. Your tech will then perform the following tasks to optimize your HVAC for high performance and energy-efficient operation:

  • Thoroughly clean the unit
  • Calibrate the thermostat and other controls
  • Tighten electrical connections and check electrical controls and components for safe operation
  • Check all gas or oil connections as well as gas pressure and burner combustion for safety issues
  • Inspect the heat exchanger
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Measure the voltage and current of the motors
  • Adjust the blower assembly
  • Clean the evaporator and condenser coils
  • Check the refrigerant level
  • Change the air filter
  • Clean the condensate drain line and the drain pan

How Do These Maintenance Tasks Keep My HVAC Healthy?

Every action performed during preventive maintenance is designed to prevent breakdowns, encourage energy efficiency and help the system to perform optimally, thereby maximizing indoor comfort. Here is how each of these maintenance tasks specifically benefits your HVAC:

  • Equipment cleaning: Grit and grungy buildup that collects on an HVAC unit, especially on the AC evaporator and condenser coils, slows down system performance and causes the unit to overwork. That generates unnecessary wear and tear, shortens the lifespan of the system and raises energy costs.
  • System inspection: Besides identifying potential problems, the system inspection ensures that the unit is operating safely. Your furnace is examined for potential hazards including carbon monoxide leaks, a faulty burner flame, and cracks in the heat exchanger.
  • Blower assembly adjustment: Optimizing the blower assembly ensures even air flow throughout the system.
  • Condensate drain line cleaning: If the condensate drain line gets clogged and backs up, it can cause ceiling and drywall water damage and puddles around your air conditioner or furnace. Condensate drain line leaks can pose a fire hazard if they are near wiring. A clogged drain line can also cause your system to freeze up. Cleaning the condensate drain pan prevents slimy water from collecting there and polluting your home with airborne contaminants and foul odors.
  • Lubrication of moving parts: Parts that aren’t lubricated create resistance that overworks the system, increases equipment wear and tear, shortens the lifespan of your HVAC and increases the amount of energy required to operate the unit.
  • Thermostat calibration: Calibrating the thermostat ensures that your HVAC registers and maintains the correct indoor temperature.
  • Air filter replacement: Keeping the air filters clean in your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump prevents clogs that can damage the motor, restrict airflow, or cause the system to freeze up. Dirty filters make your HVAC work harder than it has to, and they can ultimately destroy your equipment. Replacing the filters when they’re dirty also helps to prevent indoor air pollution.
  • Refrigerant level check: Refrigerant helps to maintain and regulate the air conditioner’s cool air output. Low refrigerant levels can interfere with cooling efficiency and shorten the lifespan of the system.

To learn more about how HVAC tune-ups increase energy efficiency, optimize indoor comfort, extend the lifespan of your equipment and prevent expensive breakdowns and HVAC repairs, visit Skelton’s Heating, Cooling and Refrigeration. If you live in Birmingham, Alabama, call us for more information about our $89 HVAC maintenance special.