Preventative Maintenance Isn’t An Option; It’s A Must

Some people are skeptical about the importance of purchasing preventative maintenance for their heating and air systems. We wanted to address some of the reasons why maintenance visits are crucial to the life of your system.

I (like most people) would like to think about my heating system as little as humanly possible – especially when it comes to preventative maintenance! There are a few very important reasons preventative maintenance on your heating and air system is necessary. I have learned that putting off maintenance is not a good idea! If you really want to think about your heating and cooling system as little as possible, then it should be cleaned and maintained regularly just like an oil change, or a visit to the dentist or doctor. Here is some information about maintenance that can help rearrange your to do list, and help you sleep a bit easier at night.

Preventative maintenance, by way of a fall tune-up or a PMA (Planned Maintenance Agreement) with a reputable HVAC professional, is the only way to go! What if I told you I that I have 50,000 miles on my brand new car and have NEVER taken it to get the oil changed? The reason I have given you this scenario is because most HVAC professionals would equate preventative maintenance for your heating and cooling system to be equally as important as regular oil changes for your vehicle! Much like your vehicle, your heating and cooling system is a mechanical system with moving parts and pieces that need to be cleaned, lubricated, inspected and adjusted. Sure, you don’t have spark plugs in your furnace like you do your vehicle, but you do have things like: valves, pumps, motors, belts etc… Just like your vehicle, all of these parts and pieces will wear out with use and age.

So, what exactly are you paying for when it comes to a tune-up or maintenance visit for your furnace? Here is a list of things the technician is expected to do during a tune-up or fall maintenance:

· Check furnace for the presence of CO at the time the check is performed

· Check combustion chamber/heat exchanger condition

· Inspect burner flame for proper characteristics including gas and air adjustment

· Inspect pilot/igniter operation; clean pilot as necessary

· Check motor and bearings, oil as needed, check belts

· Inspect heat exchanger or element

· Check condition of vent pipe to chimney and draft intensity

· Remove dust and scale from the burner compartment and other key parts as needed

· Check flame sensor or pilot safety timing and replace thermocouple, as necessary

· Check condition of blower wheel

· Check furnace filters

· Replacement of 1” or 2” pleated filters

· Measure temperature rise or drop

· Measure for proper air flow

· Test safety controls

· Test gas pressure

· Check blower motor amps and volts

· Inspect blower for cleanliness

· Inspect condensate pump and drains

· Test starting capabilities

· Check operational control sequence/calibration, including safety controls and thermostat

Preferred maintenance agreements also include:

· Chemically clean evaporative coil

· Chemically clean A/C coil ($65-$302 value)

· Install condensate treatment tablets ($20 value)

· Clean and wax A/C and furnace

· $25 annual future purchase accrual

· Same day priority status

Premium maintenance agreements include all of the above services as well as:

· Water heater inspection (Fall)

· Water heater yearly maintenance (Spring)

· Service air filtration system

· Inspect entire duct system

· Inspect and clean furnace burner ($97.50 value)

· Blower wheel cleaning ($209-$315 value)

· $50 annual future purchase accrual

· Same day priority status

Now that we are on the same page about maintenance, here are some more benefits of preventative maintenance:

* Validates your current warranty and/or extended warranty. Some manufacturer and extended warranties can become voided or deny coverage if the equipment is not regularly maintained by a licensed HVAC professional.

* Increases the health and safety of those living in your home. Your furnace is a fossil fuel burning piece of equipment. When fossil fuels, such as natural gas, propane or oil are burned they omit combustion gases. These omissions contain harmful gases like: carbon monoxide, methane, VOC’s and small amounts of sulfur dioxide (very cursive). Your furnace is designed to properly exhaust these gases outside and NOT in your home. Unfortunately this design can become compromised, like for instance when your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger. A small crack in the heat exchanger will allow harmful combustion gases to leak out of the equipment and into the home. Inspecting the heat exchanger is one of many diagnostics tests performed during your tune-up.
IMPORTANT NOTE: all homes with fossil fuel appliances should have an updated and active CO detector located on each floor.

* Greatly decrease the chance of a break down. Systems tend to break when they are working the hardest. An example would be: a major holiday when you are hosting a house full of people. When doors are opening and closing on a cold day your furnace has to work harder to maintain the indoor temperature. This increase in run time enhances the probability for system failure. According to Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, 9 out of 10 heating and cooling system failure as a result of dirt and/or dust.

* Increases the longevity of your system. According to Department of Energy, “proper maintenance extends the life of your furnace or boiler and saves you money”. The longer you can keep your system running at optimum performance, the more money you keep in your pocket! FYI: The average furnace replacement can range from $3,000.00 – $10,000.00! **price varies greatly depending on size of home, efficiency and location.

* Keeps your energy cost down. According to 46% of the cost for the average 3,000 sq. ft. single-family home’s utility bill derives from its heating and cooling system. Keeping your equipment maintained keeps your equipment running at its optimum capacity and therefore prevents a spike or increase to your utility bill that a poorly running HVAC system may cause.

Well, I hope this information has helped bring to light the importance of maintenance! For more information call us at (530) 885-3449 or (916) 782-9242

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