New HVAC systems don’t come cheap. According to This Old House, the average furnace should last between 15 to 25 years and the average air conditioning unit between 10 and 15 years. The Ace Plumbing team has seen many units need expensive repairs — or replacements costing thousands of dollars — far before then due to neglect. How can you prolong the life of your HVAC system?
Prolonging Your System’s Life
The steps you can take to help your HVAC system “live” a longer and more useful life aren’t complicated or expensive. They’re steps anyone can take — and should.
Buy Good Filters
Cheap fiberglass filters don’t get good results. Pleated filters — especially the kind that carry an electrostatic charge — are much more efficient at filtering the air. Some filters can even be cleaned and reused, so you go a longer time between replacements.
Replace Filters On Schedule
It’s recommended that you change your filter every 90 days. However, there are a number of factors that may mean more frequent changes. If you live with a smoker, you own pets, or you’re in the habit of keeping the windows open, you may need to change the filter more often. Inspect it monthly and change as needed.
Obstructions around heat pumps and air conditioning units decrease efficiency, pull pollutants into the system, and can even cause the unit to overheat. Maintain a two foot clear area around these systems.
Likewise, leaves, twigs, lawn clippings, and other debris can cause damage. Clean the unit often.
Inspect the Unit
You should check the insulation on the lines monthly. You should also check periodically to ensure that the housing and other components don’t have rust.
Mold and algae can accumulate inside your system. A cup of bleach mixed with an equal amount of water and poured down the condensate drain once a year prevents clogging.
Check Your Settings Seasonally
You don’t need the furnace humidifier in the summer. Shut the water supply off and replace the humidifier filter, turning the water back on when the temperature drops.
Keep Vents Open
While it’s not a bad idea to shut a register in a room you never use, at least 80% of your registers should be open to prevent system strain.
Replace Your CO Detector Battery
Will it save your furnace? Nope, but it could save your life. Replace batteries each time Daylight Savings Time starts and ends (the same times you should be changing your smoke detector batteries).
Is It Time for a New System?
If you’ve diligently maintained your system, you may be one of the lucky people who find it’s still humming along 25 or even 30 years after it was installed. However, it’s worth considering a replacement even then.
First of all, HVAC systems lose efficiency as they age, so a system that operated at 80 percent efficiency when it was installed may be running at half that now. The added costs in heating and cooling could be draining your wallet.
Second, newer systems run much more efficiently than even the best systems from a decade ago. Granted, a system that runs at 95 percent efficiency doesn’t come cheap. However, energy efficiency incentives and rebates can slash your initial cost, while the drop in your energy bills helps the system pay for itself over time.
Even if you’ve done your best to maintain your HVAC system, breakdowns can still happen. If that’s the case, contact Ace Plumbing. We take care of Sacramento heating and cooling repair, and we’ll take good care of you!