Is HVAC Maintenance Really Necessary?
Regardless of the horror stories passed down from a friend of a friend at the end of every summer and despite warnings from trained professionals, most homeowners today still operate in a reactive mode. Even though most homeowners know that is far better to schedule planned maintenance, most continue to spend their income unnecessarily by operating reactively to their HVAC system.
This approach to air-conditioning maintenance is troubling given the role that HVAC systems play in today’s modern home. HVAC systems in the typical home are responsible for more than a quarter of total energy use. Keeping HVAC systems running properly and at peak efficiency is the first step in managing economical energy use.
The importance of good HVAC system maintenance goes beyond just controlling energy use. Homes rely on properly operating air-conditioning systems for more than just people comfort. For example, most home electronics have requirements for specific environmental conditions to operate properly. This includes things like your stereo, television, iPod and especially your home computer. Temperatures and humidity levels that fall outside of this range can lead to the degradation of hardware and even expensive repairs or replacements.
Despite knowing full well how important regular maintenance is to a home’s HVAC system, homeowners continue to defer scheduling proper check-ups and maintenance. The most commonly used excuses for not scheduling routine and preventive maintenance on HVAC systems are the cost and the all too familiar words, “But my air-conditioner runs fine.”
The going creed is that if it’s not broken, then you don’t need to fix it. This is what’s wrong with the mind-frame of today’s homeowners. Many don’t realize that regular maintenance IS preventative maintenance. Serious HVAC issues can develop in the absence of maintenance and go unrealized until one is left with a hefty repair bill. No one ever thinks about the air-conditioning system because it’s not like the other appliances in your home. Unlike highly visible items, such as your television, washer & dryer, refrigerator, ceiling fans, or lights, most HVAC systems are out of sight and out of mind, until something goes wrong. And when something does go wrong, it is too late for maintenance to be performed efficiently. Maintenance at that point becomes reactive and expensive.
Reactive maintenance is the most costly way to maintain a home’s HVAC system. Homeowners that are wise enough to provide regularly scheduled maintenance for their air-conditioning systems reduce their budgets by taking care of little problems before they become large ones. And when other factors are included such as extended equipment life and reduced energy costs, homeowners find that their total costs can be significantly reduced with scheduled maintenance as opposed to total costs for homeowners that only bother to deal with their HVAC issues when they become apparent.
Reasons to have proper HVAC maintenance:
Homes in which proper HVAC maintenance is completed will use significantly less energy than those homes where systems are allowed to deteriorate. Less energy consumption equals lower energy costs.
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Another benefit of HVAC maintenance is improved reliability. Consider it like an insurance policy: the maintenance costs are the premiums being paid to cover you in case there’s an accident except with regular maintenance, you can avoid the accident entirely.
If maintenance doesn’t seem like it should be a high priority, quantify what would happen if your air-conditioning unit suddenly stopped working and required replacement. What would it cost to replace it? How long would it take to purchase and install the replacement? How would its failure impact your daily life?
If maintenance has not been a high priority, chances are that sooner or later, your HVAC system will need to be repaired or even replaced. Although sometimes equipment goes bad due to random failures, most often breakdowns are the direct result of poor maintenance.
Without proper maintenance, the service life of HVAC systems and components will decrease. It is important to understand this as a responsible homeowner. How long has your HVAC unit already been in service? Your HVAC system, as an investment, is there to perform a function. Unless it is properly maintained, it will not be able to perform as needed for as long as is needed.
Can you smell that?
An important issue that cannot be overlooked when considering the importance of HVAC maintenance is indoor air quality, or IAQ. The operating condition of HVAC equipment is essential to your IAQ. Poor IAQ is estimated to cause 1.3 million deaths worldwide per year. Poor IAQ means you are unprotected from particulate matter:
Ozone can have a pronounced effect on your health by causing breathing problems, asthma, reduced lung function, and lung diseases.
Nitrogen Dioxide increases the symptoms of bronchitis is asthmatic children and causes reduced lung function.
Sulphur Dioxide can affect the respiratory system and the functions of the lungs, and causes irritation of the eyes. Inflammation of the respiratory tract causes coughing, mucus secretion, aggravation of asthma and chronic bronchitis and makes people more prone to infections of the respiratory tract.
Airborne Diseases are any diseases which are caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. These viruses and bacteria can be spread through coughing, sneezing, laughing, or through personal contact. These pathogens ride on either dust particles or small respiratory droplets and can stay suspended in the air. They can cause inflammation in the nose, throat, sinuses and lungs. Sinus congestion, coughing and sore throats are examples of inflammation or the upper respiratory tract due to these airborne pathogens. Many common infections can spread by airborne transmission including: Anthrax, Chickenpox, Influenza, Measles, Smallpox, and Tuberculosis.
A well-maintained system installed and maintained by Trinity Home Services will protect you from poor IAQ.