7 Reasons Why HVAC Tune-Ups Save You Money
It might surprise you how important HVAC tune-ups are to keeping your home well-maintained. The energy used by an air conditioning system represents more than half of your household energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Routine HVAC maintenance can reduce energy use (and your utility bill) significantly.
HVAC repairs can be expensive, on the other hand. You’ll be able to avoid that expense if you have regular HVAC tune-ups done instead of repairing breakdowns. It pays to fix issues when they are small, rather than waiting until multiple parts break. Read on to learn what HVAC tune-ups are and how they can save you money.
What are HVAC tune-ups?
HVAC tune-ups are planned maintenance for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They consist of an inspection and maintenance service that takes place twice a year.
These tune-ups take place in the fall and the spring. They focus on your heating system in the fall so you’re ready for low temperatures in winter. They then switch focus in the spring to check on your air conditioning system so you’re ready for the heat that starts in the spring, rolls on through summer, and into the fall.
What is are HVAC tune-ups for heaters?
What’s included in a heater tune-up? It’s a huge multi-point checklist. The checks concentrate on the following main areas:
- Making sure that your heater won’t overheat
- Checking and/or installing functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Ensuring proper ventilation (including filters)
- Inspecting the thermostat is working correctly when calling for warm air
- Checking for loose, burned, or damaged wiring and connections
- Evaluating drain lines for blockages
- Watching for any pest infestations that could hamper your system’s ability to heat
- Inspecting the heating element or gas burners are working properly
- Checking the sequence of operations of the computer board(s)
The aim of a heater or furnace tuneup is to get a reading on your heater or furnace’s efficiency and performance so it can keep you comfortable, safe, during the cool months.
What are HVAC tune-ups for air conditioners?
An air conditioning unit works hard to maintain a pleasant atmosphere in your home. Because humidity makes it feel even hotter, it’s very important your AC can remove humidity from the air and cool your home. Checking all of the components in your air conditioner or heat pump requires inspecting the air handler or evaporator coil in the attic and the outdoor condensing unit. This inspection means all the components in the system are working together to perform efficiently.
The spring tune-up will check around 20+ different areas to make sure the system is operating properly including the following:
- Making sure you have proper refrigerant levels
- Checking the ventilation system and filters
- Inspecting the thermostat works correctly when calling for cool air
- Checking for pest damage indoors and outdoors
- Looking for any burned or loose wiring on the electrical components
- Watching the condensate drain line for blockages
- Looking for excess humidity or build-up of mold anywhere in the system
- Washing out the outdoor condenser unit to increase its efficiency
A spring AC tune-up is geared toward getting your system in tip-top shape before the heat sets in. Would it surprise you to learn that 85% of breakdowns we see in the summer are customers who skipped regular maintenance? This is why a spring tune-up can be so important to ensure your home’s comfort, air quality, and energy efficiency.
Here are seven reasons an HVAC tune-up will save you money and hassle in the long run.
1. Summer AC Breakdown
Imagine a sweltering hot day that we get in the spring, winter, and fall in the Houston area. You walk into your home expecting a blast of cool air and time to decompress from a busy day. Unfortunately, to your very great surprise, it’s hotter in your home than it is outside.
Your air conditioning system isn’t running. It’s pretty obvious by now that your air conditioning system has broken down and you need an air conditioning technician ASAP.
When it’s hot, the demand for AC service is high and it takes time to get on the schedule. Worse, it may be after hours, and not every company offers emergency service. HVAC tune-ups are designed to avoid this nightmare scenario. Most of the breakdowns we see are homes that forgot to schedule regular maintenance.
2. Winter Heating Breakdown
Your heating system sits idle for most of the year. It’s only in winter that it comes into play. Then, you need it to perform reliably and well.
Just as with your air conditioning system in summer, a failure of your heating system in winter is a real headache. No one wants to be freezing in their own home and risk getting sick from the cold. It’s also not safe to run space heaters for a long period of time indoors.
It’s pretty unusual for us to have to worry about freezing pipes here on the Gulf Coast, but it can happen on those rare days when the temperatures dip below freezing.
Winter is another peak season for heating technicians. Unmaintained heating systems more often break down when they are working at peak demand. When the weather is severe – colder than usual – HVAC companies get a lot of calls which they have to prioritize. Again, emergency service on nights, weekends, and holidays is not always available and if it is, it nearly always costs more.
A fall tune-up can head off many of the causes of a mid-winter heater or furnace breakdown. Get the problem identified and fixed in the fall, and you’ll sleep peacefully knowing your home is ready for winter.
3. HVAC Energy Efficiency
Cleaning or replacing your HVAC system’s filters can reduce energy consumption by between 5 and 15%. Just think about what a multi-point checklist of routine maintenance checks might be able to do to improve your HVAC system’s functioning and energy efficiency.
The less energy your air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems use, the lower your energy bills will be. Properly maintained, HVAC systems rarely break down and they tend to last longer on average. An HVAC tune-up in the fall and spring will not only save you money on your energy bill but also will delay your having to purchase a new system earlier than you expected.
4. Medical Costs
A properly serviced HVAC system will keep the indoor air in your home circulating and clean. Optional accessories such as UV lights and air scrubbers, which actively clean the air, can be helpful if mold, allergies, or respiratory illnesses affect members of your household. Indoor air quality is very important for you and your family’s health.
If filters are not replaced regularly, your equipment is not regularly serviced, and air purification systems are not maintained, more pollutants – from mold, viruses, pollen, and dust – can circulate in greater concentrations than the outdoors. If a furnace malfunctions and safety measures fail, carbon monoxide poisoning can be a danger. This is why having safety equipment and a licensed professional who can knowledgeably inspect it is working properly can keep all the occupants of your home safe and give you peace of mind.
The Consumer Product Safety Council reports that if you see moisture condensation on windows or walls, see moldy areas in the home, or notice smelly or dank air – your home may not have adequate ventilation. An HVAC tune-up will be checking for these symptoms and correct them before it becomes a problem.
5. Warranty Voided
When your HVAC system was installed, it probably came with a warranty. That’s usually a five-year warranty for an unregistered system which extends to 10 years if you register it promptly. That’s what you would expect with such a big investment in complex equipment that is so critical to your home’s comfort. A warranty gives you peace of mind because you know that if something goes wrong, the manufacturer will back up their equipment.
Now consider how you would feel if you discover something is wrong with your HVAC system, but your warranty is invalid because you didn’t properly maintain your HVAC system. A warranty comes with obligations. To maintain your warranty, a regular HVAC tune-up is required.
No one wants a huge, unexpected bill for parts and repairs. This is why it’s smart to maintain your HVAC system twice a year. Most HVAC companies will offer a scheduled maintenance plan to make this easier to remember. The best part is that it will help you preserve your warranty in case you ever need it.
6. Extended Life
The investment in an HVAC system is a major one. Replacing your existing HVAC system is probably an expense you would rather not face. But is there an alternative?
Keeping your existing HVAC system running efficiently delays the replacement cost. Most air conditioning systems last on average 10-15 years; heaters and furnaces may last a little longer. You can extend the life of your HVAC system by regular checks and routine maintenance.
7. Safer Home
Many of the checks conducted as part of your HVAC tune-up are safety tests. HVAC equipment – air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces – come with more and more safety checks, but they are not infallible. We regularly see HVAC equipment with safety measures that have been inexplicably removed, making the equipment less safe than it should be. In nearly every case, this means someone was trying to fix things and didn’t know how to do it correctly.
It goes without saying that safety measures should NEVER be removed. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors add another level of protection. They are designed to protect your home from serious risks such as fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. An HVAC tune-up is an investment in your home’s safety and can give you the confidence that you’ve done all you can to protect your home from a preventable catastrophe such as a house fire.
Book a Tune-Up
Take a few minutes to weigh the benefits of an HVAC tune-up and decide if this can be part of your home’s regular maintenance plan. Let’s face it – remembering everything that must be maintained each year can be challenging. Signing up with a scheduled maintenance plan from a reputable company is a smart way to make sure your HVAC system is ready for heat or cold, keeping your home comfortable all year round.
Whether you need a fall tune-up or a spring tune-up, contact Rob and Kenny at Terry’s A/C & Heating at 281-495-7830 to schedule your HVAC tune-up today. Isn’t it time you booked your tune-up? We look forward to earning your trust and your business.
Photo credit: Terry’s A/C & Heating – Owner Rob Terry servicing a mini-split heat pump.