When your HVAC system is working great, you may ask yourself if you really need to schedule maintenance. After all, does this need to be done every year? Wouldn’t it be better to save on costs?

In general, an HVAC system is a fairly inconspicuous part of your home’s function. It’s usually tucked away in a closet, working away and you probably don’t think about it very often. When you schedule maintenance, you probably don’t notice a difference either. So, why are you paying for this service?

One of the reasons why people question the value of HVAC maintenance is that they often don’t see how their system looked and worked before and after service. They probably don’t know the role of the technician and see how this service will prevent problems. To get an idea of what can go wrong without this service, you may want to learn more.

Service after a Shutdown

Being turned off for a few hours likely won’t affect your HVAC system significantly. However, prolonged periods of being off can be a problem. Starting your HVAC system after being shut down for a few months without an inspection and maintenance isn’t really a safe option. Think about a car that’s been sitting unused for months. Just like your car’s battery or tires may be problematic, an HVAC system also likely needs a tune-ups before re-starting.

HVAC Maintenance Needs

Every maintenance task that’s completed helps the system to work well and at maximum efficiency. If you want to know some of the basic tasks, these are the common ones that a technician will complete.

1. Air Conditioner Coil Cleaning

The air conditioner coils work by transferring heat. They absorb heat from the surrounding air and then transfer it outside the building. These coils can become dirty over time. When they’re covered in dirt and dust, they can’t function optimally. The condenser is usually outside of the house and collects dirt from many outside sources. Just having 1/100th of an inch of dirt on the condenser coil will lower its efficiency by 5%.

Evaporator coils can also freeze up and then lead to water damage in your home. If this problem persists, it will likely end up ending in compressor failure which may then lead to your needing to replace the entire unit.

Lower efficiency means your system has to work longer and harder. It eventually will stop working, leading to an expensive repair. However, regular coil cleaning will prevent this from being a problem.

2. Filter Cleaning and Replacement

An HVAC filter is the part of your system that keeps dust and debris out of your equipment. If you didn’t clean your home for a month, imagine the dirt that would build-up. Your HVAC filter works in the same way.

When it’s dirty or clogged, dirt can get into your system and build up. It may even jam the moving parts such as the fans or motors. The system will try to work harder to overcome this problem which will lead to short-term higher energy costs. You’ll also have more dust and other contaminants in your house which may lead to worsening allergies and health problems. This is a serious concern if you have allergies, asthma, or any respiratory problems.

It’s important to clean or replace your HVAC filters frequently. You may be able to replace the filters yourself. If you’re concerned about contaminants in your home, then you may want to look up types of filters. There is a range of quality and the better filters will get rid of more pollutants in your air system. Anyone who is concerned about air quality or may have other allergens in the house such as pets should probably look for filters that are going to get rid of more particles. Your HVAC technician can help you decide or choose which one is right for your needs as well.

3. Cleaning Condensate Pumps and Pans

These lines, pumps, and pans play an important role in air conditioning. They remove water that’s collected while removing the humidity and heat from the air. When you have a grimy drain line, pump, or pan, this can lead to water leaks that may damage the. When the water condensing can’t drain away easily, you can end up with an expensive and messy problem on your hand.

In addition to having a high repair bill, you may not always notice that the system is leaking right away. Cleaning out these areas as a part of your regular HVAC maintenance is fairly inexpensive when compared to the high cost of having a water leak. Water that’s collected and can’t drain through the system well may also not be noticed right away. A slow leak can cause damage but not be evident. Since your system is likely in a closet area, you might go for months without noticing it leaking. However, by the time you start to notice a problem, it’s probably going to have significant damage.

Not All HVAC Maintenance is Equal

Now that you understand the importance of having regular HVAC maintenance, you may be convinced that it’s essential to complete. However, you should also know there is not one standard HVAC maintenance service. Some technicians may just change the filters in your system and take a quick look, without doing any deeper work. It’s not surprising when your technician only does a basic assessment and then you end up with problems down the road.

As this article has demonstrated, there are multiple tasks that have to be done when you have your HVAC system serviced. One good way to get an idea of your technicians’ diligence is to ask them about the steps that they take to service the unit. If they’re not speaking about these specific areas, then you’re likely better off looking elsewhere for service. Even a new unit will likely have some needs so it’s a good idea to pay attention to their work in order to get the best results.