In the US, experts expect residential electricity rates to go up by 0.9% from 2020 to 2021. This would be a 12-cent difference from the previous year’s 13.12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That doesn’t seem bad, but keep in mind that the average US household uses over 10,000 kWh of electricity per year.
In any case, much of that energy goes toward heating and cooling alone. These activities account for about 40% of a typical home’s energy consumption.
However, a lack of HVAC maintenance can make that consumption go even higher. As a result, poorly-maintained comfort systems can make your energy bills skyrocket. What’s even more concerning is that a faulty space heater or cooler can affect your health.
We’ll talk about how exactly HVAC tune-ups help prevent such issues below, so be sure to read on!
Helps Keeps Weather-Related Illnesses at Bay
Although not that common, excessive heat exposure claims hundreds of lives in the US. From 2004 to 2018 alone, heat exposure resulted in over 700 fatalities in the country. A third of these unfortunate events took place in Texas, Arizona, and California.
Even if you don’t live in these hot states, you’re still at risk of heat illnesses due to rising temperatures. For this reason, even the CDC says it’s a smart idea to seek refuge in an air-conditioned space during hot days.
That alone should already tell you how life-saving your air conditioner can be. However, the heating component of your HVAC system is just as important during winter. After all, the US has seen an increase of 8% to 12% in winter-related fatalities in recent years.
The thing is, unmaintained HVAC systems can stop working in the middle of the day or night. For instance, residue build-up can make the system’s motors overheat. At the very least, filth can hinder airflow, so you may still feel too hot or too cold even if you have the system turned on.
If your HVAC system fails during scorching or frigid days, you’re health and safety could be at risk. This should be enough reason to invest in annual HVAC maintenance services.
Helps Prevent Mold-Related Issues
According to https://www.schneidermechanical.com/what-does-your-hvac-systems-condenser-unit-actually-do/, an HVAC condenser unit plays a role in condensation. Condensation, in turn, refers to when gases, like water vapor, turns into liquid. In HVAC systems, this occurs when air comes into contact with cold condenser coils.
Your HVAC system’s condenser unit houses coils that remain cold while you have it turned on and set to “cool” mode. When warm, moist air “touches” these coils, the water it contains turns into water droplets. Since they’re now in liquid form, gravity will take over and make them drip.
This is also why your HVAC system must have a clean drain pan or tray right below the coils. This serves as the “collector” of the liquefied water vapors. It catches all those water droplets and directs them into a drain line.
The drain line then channels the fluids outside your home.
Over time, though, dirt and debris can settle on the drain tray and clog the drain line. If this happens, the water droplets start to collect and may even overflow. If mold spores land on the tray, they can germinate in as little as one to two days.
While molds aren’t always dangerous, they can be if present in large amounts. This is why you’d want to have an HVAC maintenance plan in place. A crucial part of this program is the clean-up of all HVAC parts, including the condenser unit.
Helps Retain Equipment Efficiency
An HVAC condenser also plays a role in transferring and displacing heat in the air. When you have the HVAC in “cooling” mode, it removes the heat (and moisture) from the air. Its internal fans then blow the cooled air into your home.
The thing is, studies found that dirty condensers raise operating costs by at least 2% to 4%. That’s per every 1.8 °F increase in condensing temperature, so a 5 °F increase can lead to 6% to 12% greater costs. All because of residue that lowers the condenser’s ability to remove or transfer heat.
Filthy HVAC filters also impede system performance, as too much dirt restricts airflow. Since there’s too little air for the unit to heat or cool, you may feel as if the HVAC isn’t blowing conditioned air at all. Things may get so bad that its motor can overheat and shut down completely.
A filter change is one of the steps in an HVAC maintenance checklist you can do on your own. Most HVAC units have filters either on top of or below the indoor unit. Inspect yours at least once a month, and then change or wash it as soon as you see dirt build-up on it.
If you can’t locate your filter, ask one of the HVAC techs the next time you schedule your unit for maintenance. They’ll be happy to show you where the filter is and how you can swap it out with a fresh one.
Allows Your Space Heater and Cooler to Last Longer
Central air conditioners can last up to 15 years if well-maintained. Regularly serviced furnaces can outlive them, as they usually keep going for at least 15 to 25 years. Boilers live the longest, with the best, well-kept ones lasting up to four decades!
On the other hand, failure to maintain these systems can cut their life short. It won’t be a surprise to see a poorly-maintained central AC breaking down after just five years.
The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars due to a prematurely-broken down HVAC unit. You want to make the most out of your investment, so do your HVAC a favor and get it tuned-up once or twice a year.
If your HVAC system is now at least a decade old, though, you might want to consider upgrading it. The US Department of Energy says that today’s models can save you at least $115 on energy bills every year.
HVAC Maintenance Helps Keep You Safe and Comfortable Year-Round
As you can see, HVAC maintenance plays a role in keeping you safe from inclement weather. It also helps prevent poor indoor air quality by reducing mold risks. To top it off, it lets you keep your energy bills at a minimum and also lowers your HVAC operating costs.
All that should be enough reason to get your HVAC system tuned-up in time for the heating or cooling season.
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