Do I really Need to Get My HVAC System Maintenance?

Do I really Need to Get My HVAC System Maintenance?

The simple answer is yes. A better question is, what happens if I don’t? How often and what should be done? The biggest follow up question is how much it costs and who should do it?

Why You Should Avail a Routine HVAC System Maintenance?

With a new air conditioning and heating system, you may not know that if your HVAC contractor does not perform regular maintenance on the unit it could void your warranty. This statement is in every manufacturer’s owner’s manual for these appliances which says “maintenance required to keep systems under warranty.” Manufacturers can ask for proof when filing claims about services performed by other companies so be sure to check with them first before trusting anyone else!

 

Getting it done is going to save you a lot more money, and headaches, than running your system into the ground. Most, if not all, breakdowns will have early warning signs that can prevent costly repairs if caught in time.

Something simple like replacing your air filter should be done according to the amount of use your system sees. If your system is running every day, all year long, your filters may need to be replaced as often as every 60 days. From there, you can plan out if you need to change out the air filters more often, like every month or every quarter or every six months. Since filter racks are usually instead near the furnace most homeowners can handle filter replacements if the unit is in the closet or the garage. If your furnace is in the attic, it might be on the ceiling grill in the hallway. If you have an electric air cleaner, it is best to have a professional HVAC company service the unit at least once a year.

The cost for “HVAC Maintenance” or “Tune-Up” or “Safety Check” per system from a professional company is usually around $75 to $250. Stay clear of any company charging less than that. In the HVAC industry, it’s a tool by many companies to get into the home to sell you more services. You can save money by signing up for a maintenance agreement but only do so if you feel the original service was a good experience.

What Are The Usual HVAC Maintenance Routine Check-up?

What should be included in your home HVAC maintenance by a professional? This depends on the season, the type of equipment your home has and what you’re paying for. But in the Spring, you should focus on your air conditioning system and in the fall your heating system. Both heating and air conditioning systems usually work together to get your home comfortable but service them as the seasons come near.

If your home has a gas furnace and it’s near the time to use it, your local HVAC company should check for gas leaks near and in the furnace.

  • Check for debris around the vent pipe to ensure nothing can combust in flames when the heater is on.
  • Check the burner when the system to see if the gas is compositing properly.
  • Check the blower wheel for dust that can build up on the wheel that can slow down your air velocity.
  • Check the ductwork for large air leaks in the attic.
  • Check for any lose or burn wires in the furnace.
  • Check the control board for any error codes.

These are the basics that every HVAC contractor should check when serving a system, but there can be more done. Like checking the gas pressure to the burners, check combustion inside they system with the right tools, inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, check temperature rises between air going in and out. Usually, if they are testing these things without having cause, they are looking for something to fix more than doing it because it’s the right thing to do. These last things listed can be subjective and interpreted as cause to replace your furnace. If they find something wrong and say you need a new furnace to tell them, you need a second option.

Your local Gas Utility Company will usually come to your home for free to make sure the furnace is safe for use; the only dilemma is sometimes it can be a two to three weeks long wait to come out.

When servicing you your air conditioning system before summer your HVAC company should wash the condensing coil with water only or the right chemical solution. Having a technician that doesn’t know what he’s doing can destroy your unit and is more common now with all aluminum condensing coils. He should also check for burn marks on the electrical components inside and outside the unit, check for basic refrigerant leaks, check the ductwork for air leaks, check for any loose wires inside the unit, check that amps on the motors are running correctly. Often most inexperienced technicians will check the pressures of your unit. This should only be done if there are issues with performance, and there are plenty of ways to see if your system has the right level of refrigerant without hooking up gages to it. The problem with hooking up gauges (the tool to check pressures inside your air conditioner) is that HVAC technicians are touching dirty and damaged air conditioners all day long. This opens up the possibility contaminate your system on accident, and all you wanted was maintenance. Change the filter is most as well.

When getting your air conditioning or heater maintained, ask a question to the person you are thinking of hiring. Like, how long will it take? Is the technician you are sending experienced? How long have you been in business? Will there be any other charges than the one you are quoting over the phone? It is also a good idea to look at their reviews; it can say a lot about a company. Bad reviews tell you the culture of the company, and a company that has less than ten reviews means that they are not giving service above expectations.

8 Most Common Home Furnace Problems

8 Most Common Home Furnace Problems

The furnace is your home’s key heating system. It produces heat and can keep you warm on those cold winter nights when the power goes out, but what happens if it breaks? You’ll be left with no warmth at all! This article will teach how common problems affect HVAC systems so that hopefully we won’t have any customers asking for local repairs too soon (or ever).

The furnace is not Working—At All

The first thing you should do if your furnace is shut down, even though it may seem basic. Check and make sure that the thermostat setting on ‘heat’ with a circuit breaker or fuse intact for power supply as well in case there was an interruption from either source before calling La Mirada’s finest heating repair company!

Your furnace is not only an essential part of your house, it’s also very important to safety. If you have lost the access panel for any reason be sure that this problem gets fixed as soon possible because if there are no doors on your unit then they will just go out whenever someone removes them – which could cause major problems with carbon monoxide levels in some cases!

Not Enough Heat is Being Produced

The furnace is working, but you are still feeling cold. What could be the reason?

The furnace is not producing enough heat to make indoor temperatures cozier. Check your air filters for any debris or have them inspected from heating repair services because clogged filters are the leading problem of inefficient Furnace operation that leads towards subpar comfort levels indoors!

The Color of the Flame

A healthy furnace will have a blue flame, while an unhealthy furnace will have a yellow or orange flame. If you notice that the color of your furnace’s flame has changed, it’s important to call a professional for help. The Comfort Time team is highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and repairing furnace problems. We’re always here to help, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

A dirty or rusting burner can affect the efficiency of your HVAC furnace. An even, blue glow means that it’s working properly and producing sufficient heat while more magnificent yellow-golden tints indicate maintenance needs to be done on any reputable company’s service record!

No Air is Blowing from the Furnace

Check through inspection window whether or not the blower is working. Many furnaces are installed with flashing lights to indicate a fault (‘green’ for normal functioning and ‘red’ for failure) in the blower.

If you do not understand what’s going on there, then don’t exhaust yourself and schedule a visit from an experienced heating repair experts to deal with it.

Gas supply Issue

Maybe the furnace and all of its components are in their best condition, but not getting enough fuel to run. For that matter, you must check the gas supply line all through its length for any leaks and valve issues, i.e., from the burner to the primary inlet.

A quivering burner pilot is an indication that your furnace is not getting enough gas supply. Call for professional help, and they can guide you better whether it’s a fault in the furnace or you have to call your gas utility company.

No matter how well-maintained a furnace is, there comes a time when it can’t work to its full capacity. Experts from a local heating repair company can also help you estimate the remaining service life of the furnace so that you can have it replaced in time.

Give Comfort Time a call at (888)717-0772 for all your heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration needs!
Our service area includes Downey, Hacienda Heights, La Habra, La Mirada, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and Whittier.

When Should You Replace Your Home Air Conditioning System?

When Should You Replace Your Home Air Conditioning System?

Have you ever asked yourself “My air conditioning broke or it’s not working as well as it used too, when should I replace it?”

No one likes to have their home air conditioning system break down during the summer. It’s especially frustrating when you need it most and then find out that your unit is 20 years old, has a leaky compressor or just isn’t working properly anymore because of age
Aging units are common in Santa Fe Springs because this city experiences hot weather year round so homeowners must replace them more often than other cities where temperatures only reach higher levels once every few months.

Find the most practical information you need to make the best decision on when to replace your air conditioning system.

  • “How long does a home air conditioning system usually last?”
  • “Should I just repair my air conditioning for now, and plan to replace it later?”
  • “When is it too much money to repair my home air conditioning and just replace it now, if I have the money?”

So how long do home air conditioning systems last before they need to be replaced?

Most air conditioning systems can last up to 20 years before you really need to consider replacing your air conditioning system, that’s the easy answer. The more detailed answer is that it really depends on how it was originally installed, if the unit was a lemon from the factory, the weather conditions it has been in, the usage, and most importantly how it has been maintained over the years.

I have found over my 15 years of hands-on experience that home air conditioning systems in southern California usually fall into these categories:

  • Units that have major or consistent problems in the first 5 years are because it was not installed properly or is just a lemon.
  • Home Air Conditioning Systems that break down before 10 years can be fixed if it is something minor.
  • Air conditioning systems that start having problems around 10 years.
  • Systems that start having serious issues after about 15 years.
  • Can last up to 20 or more years if they have been maintained regularly and were installed correctly from the beginning.

In my industry most air conditioning companies that are large, have over 30 air conditioning repair technicians, are part of a franchise or more focused on sales than repairs, will recommend replacing your home air conditioning system if the unit is:

  • Unit is over 10 years old
  • Has a R-22 refrigeration leak (even a small one)
  • Compressor has trouble keeping up or is failing
  • Has a repair bill over a certain threshold

When an air conditioning technician says you need to replace your system because it’s old, that is not what anyone wants to hear. Usually, the first question that comes to mind is can I get more time out if it or how much will that cost?

Some of the HVAC repairs you can squeeze a little more time out if they are:

  • Bad run capacitor
  • Bad condenser fan motor
  • Bad electrical contactor
  • Bad fuse
  • Melted wiring

These repairs are most common in my industry, and you can usually kick the can down the road for a little more time, but if your system is older than 15 years you should really consider getting a new one. The repairs we listed for your home A/C sometimes are caused by bigger problems. Remember your air conditioning technician cannot diagnose your whole system until all components are running at the same time. If the condenser fan motor is bad then you replace that, your tech might find out it burned out because there is a contactor or bad wiring, people usually do not grasp that the A/C system only works when all its components work together, if one part breaks down it will cause a domino effect of issues. Cross your fingers until your A/C is blowing cold air, not when the technician said, “this is a simple and straightforward repair.”

When is repairing my air conditioning too much money and should I just have it replaced?

  • If the cost of the repair is over 50% of a new unit in the first 5 years, and it is out of warranty, replace it. The unit was a lemon, or the original installation company did a bad job that will only lead to more expensive problems down the line.
  • If the unit is between 10-15 years old and the repair costs you more than 25% of a new one, it is time to consider replacing it. At this point it is a major repair and you are losing out on no repair bills for 10 years with a new warranty and the energy efficiency of the new system.
  • If 20 years or older, consider replacing the unit if the repair is over $500. You’re wasting money on something that is already past its life expectancy.

What if you don’t have the money to replace it because it was an unexpected expense and you thought it could get you through another summer?

If you find yourself in a position where you must fix an old air conditioning system even after reading this blog and a technician telling you that you need to replace it, this can actually be a great opportunity to get the most value for your money! Ask your home air conditioning technician the following questions:

  • “How long is the warranty?” Make sure to read reviews online that the company you choose honors the warranty.
  • “Do I have to pay if it does not work?”
  • “Can you apply some if not all the repair fee to a new installation when I’m ready to go with your company?”

Remember this, there is no right or wrong answer on when to replace your air conditioning system. Money fixes everything, meaning you can dump more money at a problem to make it go away. At some point it becomes a question of, “is it a better investment to do it now or later?”

The key reason and question you should ask yourself when considering replacing your HVAC system because it needs a repair is:

  • “How much money will I save on utility bills?”
  • “How much does a parts and labor warranty mean to you for your peace of mind?”
  • “If I just repair it now, can I save more money in the winter because I heard it’s cheaper to replace during the winter in warm climates?”
  • “Can I fix other issues that my old air conditioning had that I hated when replacing it?” “Can your chosen air conditioning company fix hot and cold spots, noise level, location, comfort level or lots of dust and allergens in the air?”
  • “Should I get another opinion because I don’t trust the diagnosis of the HVAC technician that came to my home?”
  • “How do I know if I’m not overpaying for a new comfort system?”

 

Thermostat 101: Learning the Perfect Thermostat Setting

Thermostat 101: Learning the Perfect Thermostat Setting

Improving your home’s energy efficiency is achievable. It’s a matter of knowing which areas you should focus on and when to make changes in order for them not only save money, but also be environmentally friendly! One thing that many people don’t think about with their thermostats are how settings can affect costs; if we were talking strictly utility bills here – number-wise speaking (because let’s face it: everyone wants lower prices) then switching over from “heat” mode into either.

Understanding the Difference Between On and Auto on the Thermostat

setting the thermostat

The different settings on your thermostat can have a huge impact in how comfortable and energy-efficiently you home operates. Knowing which one is best for what kind of climate or situation will help make sure that every component functions at its highest level, from heating up during cold spells to cooling down when it gets warm outside!

What is the On Setting?

The “on” setting will keep your fan running even though the HVAC system isn’t cooling or heating air.

Pros:

“The air quality in your room will be greatly improved with the constant flow of fresh, filtered breeze coming from these filters!”

  • With a forced-air system, your home will be more comfortable in every room. You won’t have to worry about spots where the temperature sensors don’t work or are inaccurate – it’s all automatic!
  • The fan will only stop-and start once, which prevents it from wearing out prematurely and extends its lifespan!
Cons:
  • The fan’s constant activity will result in higher energy consumption, and higher consumption means higher electricity bills!
  • There is no way around this! The HVAC system’s filters need to be changed more often.
  • The fan is a very important part of your home’s ventilation system. If it never turns off, then you may experience damage to this vital component due in large measure from all that moving around and clanging against each other!

What is the Auto Setting?

The “auto” setting means that your fan will only turn on when the HVAC system is running. Once it reaches its pre-set temperature, all circulation stops and you can go about your day without worrying that something won’t be cool enough!

Pros:
  • This is an excellent way to cut down your monthly electricity costs by using less energy.
  • The programmable thermostat gives you more control because it turns on and off with your desired temperature.
  • It’s so convenient! You can control your air conditioner from the comfort of your own home.
Cons:
  • The home’s air quality would decrease because it doesn’t always move and pass through filters.
  • The conditioned air doesn’t get evenly distributed through the home due to hot and cold spots.
  • The frequent stop-and start cycles might be doing more harm than good on our machines, so we should try changing it for smoother operation!

The answer to this question is dependent upon the individual, their preferences and where they live in relation with regard to climate control.

The Best Thermostat Setting for Your Home

adjusting the thermostat concept

So now that you understand the difference between auto and on settings better, it is time to set your thermostat.

Can your HVAC system handle it?

The right HVAC system can offer you some major benefits. But if your home’s unit is old or inefficient, it could be costing more money than necessary to cool off during this hot summer season! Investing in a continuous improvement program for preventive maintenance will ensure that both heat and air flow are at optimal levels so everyone living within won’t suffer from uncomfortable homes

With the Auto setting, you can optimize it to suit your home’s architecture and environment.

What’s the weather outside?

You may be wondering what the most energy-efficient temperature is to keep your house cool in summer. However, once winter comes around again it’s time for another question and answer session!

The U.S Department of Energy has announced that by setting your thermostat back 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit daily for eight hours you can save 10% on heating and cooling costs each year!

  • In order to save money on your heating and cooling bills, you should set the thermostat a few degrees lower at night or when away. This will help keep energy consumption low while not sacrificing comfort too much!
  • When you’re at home this summer, set your thermostat to 78°F and increase it by 2 degrees when away. By keeping the indoor temperature close enough for comfort with an outdoor climate of suitable humidity levels in between these two points will help save on cooling costs!

There’s a variety of thermostat settings out there to choose from, depending on what you want. It’s important that the setting fits your lifestyle and budget though!

Do you live in the Norwalk, CA area and need assistance with your HVAC system? Get in touch with us, and our local technicians will handle it.