How can I make my HVAC system run smoother
Very few home owners understand how a heating or cooling system works to provide a comfortable environment. Most home owners probably do not even care, until the system loses its effectiveness or fails completely. Depending upon the problem, the cost can be as little as $30 or as much as several thousand dollars.
There is little an individual can do to help maintain an air conditioner system. Almost all of the possible “fixes” a home owner can perform themselves will just cost a few dollars. Theses “fixes, however, fall under maintaining rather than outright repair. The few tasks involved are filter changes, visually inspection of the outside compressor unit, and proper landscaping.
Regular filter changes are one of the most important chores to perform and also one of the most inexpensive. Many times there is a second air filter at the heat pump or elsewhere in the system which is serviceable by the home owner. By routinely replacing a dirty filter with a new one, the home owner allows the HVAC system to operate without straining to pull air through a clogged filter. HEPA type filters have been standard use and fairly inexpensive per unit. Many professionals may recommend the use of a reusable electrostatic filter. These filters are washable and can last much longer than most other types of filters, thereby saving money.
Visually inspecting the compressor unit on the outside of the building can indicate a potential problem. one does not necessarily need to be a HVAC technician to recognize a problem. The first attribute to examine are the fins. The fins are thin metal flat strips resembling fine ridges. The purpose of these fins are to dissipate heat, much like the radiator does in a car. Should the fins be bent or flattened, airflow through the fins is restricted which in turn will prevent proper and effective heating and cooling of a home or business. Many home improvement stores sell fin combs which are used to straightened bent fins, however, if the fins are mashed enough or show other signs of wear or damage a professional technician should be called to inspect the unit.
A second visual inspection should be made regarding the placement and the way the compressor is mounted on the pad. If the unit is not in a level position, problems can occur. Should the outside unit shift, tubing connections can be damaged which may allow leakage of the refrigerant. Should this take place, the leak may or may not be noticeable immediately. Placement of this unit should be above any dips in the ground slope. If the compressor is allowed to sit in a puddle of water every time rain falls, a shortened lifespan can be expected.
The last thing a home owner can do, and of major importance, is to make sure the outside compressor unit is clear of any plant overgrowth or clutter. Too many times is an air conditioner compressor unit intentionally blocked and crowded by large shrubs or fencing sections in the home owner’s attempt to hide the unsightly unit. It is imperative to allow sufficient space on all sides of the HVAC unit in order for the proper and efficient operation of the outside equipment. By blocking or tightly concealing the compressor, the air flow is greatly restricted causing the HAVC system to work harder and longer. Not only will this shorten the life of the equipment, but raise the monthly utility bill. The unrestricted airflow is of prime importance.
There will come a time, though, when a repair technician or HVAC company will need to be called to service a home’s air conditioning and heating system. By following the few maintenance tips above, a home owner can be reasonably assured of having to call a HVAC company later rather than sooner.
Many websites provide additional information on the topic of air conditioning and heating. One such site worth visiting is http://www.comfortzonepa.com. Dan Elliott independently author’s articles for WebDrafter.com, Inc for search engine marketing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author, and not of any other person, company, or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness, or use of the content herein.
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