Just as doctors encourage yearly physical exams, many heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) manufacturers suggest periodic HVAC checkups to ensure your system is running properly. Preventive maintenance will extend the life of your unit and save you money.
With a Preventive Maintenance Agreement (PMA), offered for a yearly fee from your local HVAC contractor, a technician will come to your home to test and inspect your HVAC system before any minor issues turn into major problems. Among other things, the technician will check system functions and safety controls; inspect electrical components and connections; ensure proper airflow and change dirty air filters; and inspect pumps, lubricate and check flow rates, where appropriate.
Although different PMAs are available, technicians usually visit a home twice a year (once before the cooling season and once before the heating season) to ensure everything is working properly. Another all-inclusive option is a lifetime PMA that includes the cost of all maintenance, repairs, components, emergency service and equipment replacement.
It is important to remember that warranties are different than PMAs. A warranty will only last for a certain amount of time and, sometimes, only apply to specific parts of the unit. If a part is not working and it’s still under warranty, the manufacturer will provide a free replacement part. However, since warranties do not cover labor, you will still be responsible for the installation costs.
Manufacturers such as York, a brand of the Unitary Products Group of York-a Johnson Controls Company, point out that while it is important to have a service technician carefully inspect your unit to uncover any leaks, soot, rust, rotting parts, corroded electrical contacts and frayed wires, there are also a few simple maintenance tasks you can perform to improve your unit’s performance:
- Clear debris away from intake and exhaust vents to ensure unobstructed airflow.
- Check the thermostat wire entry point and, if necessary, apply caulk, so a draft won’t influence the thermostat reading.
- Remove several supply and return registers to see if your ducts need to be cleaned.
To learn more about our service policies CLICK HERE and you will be directed to the page with details. Or if you would prefer please call our office at 410-789-8300 and one of our experienced representatives will guide you to the plan that fits your needs.
The wet basement can develop into a complete disaster especially since many maintenance systems are installed in it. For example: electrical wires, water and sewage pipes, garbage disposal etc. Read these following guide lines to learn how to prevent water damage caused by HVAC systems, ventilation systems, pipes condensations, sump pumps, walls, ceiling, and the foundations.
Be thorough when performing these inspections and be sure to inspect your basement regularly
Heating and air conditioning systems must be inspected frequently. Check the drain pans and remove debris to allow free flow. Inspect the filters and replace whenever needed. When inspecting the HVAC, look at the ductwork and seal deteriorating insulation.
Pipes condensation is a common plumbing problem caused by sweating pipes. This problem promotes mold corrosion and rot if ignored. Insulating your pipes will reduce condensation.
Sump pump systems assist in keeping unwanted water out of your home. When checking the pump, make sure the outlet pipe is not frozen or clogged and that it directs water away from your home. Clean the air hole in the discharge line and make sure that the motor is running well. Test the pump by filling the sump pit with water to make sure the pump is working properly. Check that the pump is actually pumping out water.
Walls and Ceiling
Check the walls and look for moisture signs. Moist walls may indicate an internal leak. Look at the walls and search for stains. If you detect stains, follow them to locate the source of the problem and fix it. Even the smallest sign for a leak in the basement must be treated promptly.
Foundations are not always waterproof. Gaps and cracks are created as the house shifts and settles over time. Landscape is also changing over time and may lead to excessive water in the soil around your home. Seek professional help if you need to make any landscape or foundations repairs.
When checking the ventilation systems, be sure to inspect all ventilation systems including water heater, exhaust fans, dryer vents etc. if you suspect any failure in these systems, repair it right away.
When your heating and cooling system is on the fritz, need to make upgrades or having to replace your unit, you should consider calling a heating and cooling specialist.
A heating and cooling specialist can make repairs to your existing unit, assist with upgrades, or install a new unit. When selecting someone to come help you with these types of tasks, you want to ensure that you hire a professional who will do the job correctly and within a timely manner.
1. Ask Around
Ask for recommendations from your friends and neighbors if they know a contractor with a good reputation. A greater percentage of the time, you will find a qualified contractor through word of mouth. It’s easier and your one step ahead of the process!
If you don’t know anyone with a good recommendation, try service related referral sites such as Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor. These are reputable sites where actual customers are able to rate their experiences, leave comments, and make recommendations.
2. Do Your Research
Once you hear about a good referral, do your research to find out more about them. A fairly simple internet search can pull up any complaints or poor feedback. It is also a good idea to call the Better Business Bureau and see if complaints have been logged in against them. Often, they will have records regarding service, feedback, and if any complaints have ever been filed against them.
3. Ask For Credentials
A qualified specialist in any field should have their credentials on hand. For a heating and cooling specialist, this means that they are licensed and insured. Many professional contractors in the heating and cooling business will also belong to specialized trade organizations such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).
4. Prep Work
Before any work is physically done, the contractor should come out to inspect and evaluate the work that needs to be done. After evaluating the situation, he or she should be able to give you a detailed list of the work that needs to be done, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.
You should get a written estimate from the specialist before they ever start work on any project. A professional specialist will have you sign a contract after the estimate is agreed upon.
5. Save A Little
When you are looking for a heating and cooling specialist and find a few that you like, see if there are any special deals or coupons either on the internet or phone book. Hiring a professional contractor to do anything, even just making repairs, can be expensive. Be smart and look for deals, but don’t cut corners in the process. Also, if you find coupons or special deals, many contractors will meet or beat that deal!
If you look for good recommendations and do your homework, you can find a specialist for all of your heating and cooling needs. Follow this checklist to find a professional and reliable Heating and Cooling Contractor.
As with any important appliance, vehicle, etc., maintenance is the key to the life and efficiency of that item. This is also true of your air conditioning system. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and thorough repairs, if and when they are needed, can help your air conditioning system work to its maximum efficiency and purpose.
You can do many of the maintenance and repair jobs by yourself. You will need complete instructions and the proper tools. More involved jobs should be left to a professional. How do you know when to call a professional and when can you do it yourself?
Routine and thorough inspections are one of the most important parts of maintaining your air conditioning system. Inspections should be performed twice a year. The changing of the seasons is usually the best time to inspect and service your air conditioning system.
Specific areas to inspect and what requires a call to a professional are:
Filters: Most everyone knows that you should change your filters every month or so, depending on the type of filters you use and your preferences. In addition, because ducts and vents can acquire a dirty build up, they also need to be cleaned twice a year. A good household cleaning solution of vinegar and water will work perfectly! Make sure that all of the components are thoroughly dried before replacing the filters and vent doors.
Vents: Check all air vents around the house for signs of damage, and clean them as well.
Ducts: Your air conditioning system has a lot of exposed duct work. All of this should be inspected for signs of wear and tear, dents, and loose fittings. Check for signs that air is escaping the ducts, such as dirt streaks. If you notice a lot of problems in the duct work, it is a good idea to call a professional to identify and repair these issues.
Furnace: Carefully, turn on the furnace and actually look at the flame. It should burn blue and steady. If the flame is flickering and is red or orange, this could mean it is not working properly. If this occurs, call a professional immediately to inspect and repair and/or adjust the furnace.
Thermostat: Open the thermostat and check for dust. Dust can cause the thermostat to lose function. Clean out any dust, hair, or other particles with a cotton swab.
Condenser: You should keep an eye on your outdoor condenser. It should be kept free from falling leaves, branches, sticks, and other debris. This should be inspected at least twice a year. Inspect for dents, and take the cover off to check the blades for any damage. If the blades are damaged, absolutely call a professional. It isn’t safe to replace the blades yourself.
Generally, these inspections can be made by yourself. Most of what needs to be inspected is visible to the eye and you can make safe calculations about whether things are acceptable or not. If you have any doubts, or you notice any of the specified issues mentioned, call a professional to complete the work.
Carrier recently announced the latest dealers to be inducted into its prestigious Dealer Hall of Fame at the 2017 Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer National Meeting in New Orleans. Established to recognize dealers who adhere to the highest standards in customer service and loyalty to the Carrier brand, this award celebrates years of outstanding work in the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry, as well as in their communities. Carrier, a world leader in high-technology heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
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Sales Period: Apr 01 – Jun 30, 2016
Installations: Apr 01 – Jul 15, 2016
Wait…HVAC copper? Who knew?!?! All across Maryland, residents from Ellicott City to Annapolis to Baltimore City and all points in between are experiencing an up-tick in the theft of HVAC copper from their outdoor units. While you’ve always known that you need to safeguard your everyday valuables, the need to protect your HVAC unit from copper scavengers is a relatively new and increasingly occuring phenomenon. Crime records nationwide and, more importantly for Maryland residents, statewide show that the taking of the HVAC copper has proven to be a lucrative way for thieves to make a quick buck at our expense.
Just like all crimes, everyone thinks that they are immune and that it “will never happen to me”; however, I am here to let you know that it can indeed happen to you. We have had several customers recently who turned on their HVAC units, waited for the soothing relief of that ice cold air to push through the vents, and have called us to check out the system because it is just not cooling. Our technician has arrived on site at several locations with this complaint to find that either: A) the outdoor unit is missing the interior machinery and/or B) the copper lines from the unit to the house have been removed. Unfortunately, this crime equates to costly repairs/unit replacements.
Now that I scared you with tales of copper theft, you are no doubt wondering what you can do to safe guard your HVAC investment. Guard dogs, shot guns, and surveillance cameras might sound good to you, but we at Arundel Cooling have more feasible options for you! Arundel Cooling and Heating carries “Copper Keepers” and also offers the option of security cages for around the units. Copper Keepers act as alarm systems for the HVAC units and are tied into your existing home alarm system. If you have no alarm system in your home you can still install the Copper Keepers and they will sound off a loud, continuous noise that will alert you to people fooling with your unit. The other option is a locking anti-theft cage that fits over the unit, anchored into a concrete pad, and locked up tight as a drum. These options both still allow for the service and check ups on your HVAC units but they are specially designed to keep your HVAC investment secure.
As a side note, there has also been an alarming increase in the theft of R22, also known as freon, refrigerant from HVAC units Unfortunately, this can often be attributed to kids “huffing” the refrigerant for a quick high. This translates to high repair costs for you the consumer and is easily remedied with locking service port caps.
Arundel Cooling and Heating would like to help you protect your valuable HVAC investment! If you have any questions please contact us!