Two out of three homes in the United States today have air conditioning units in them, and many of them, especially those in northern states like Montana and Vermont, have heating systems as well. HVAC companies can send crews of a single HVAC contractor to repair, update, or merely inspect the commercial heating in a public building or the heating and cooling systems of a private home, and an HVAC contractor will know if a building’s heating and cooling will need replacement or cleaning work done, such as if the system is very old and inefficient or if enough dirt and grime have built up to clog the fans or air ducts. An HVAC contractor may also perform furnace maintenance or refer a homeowner to a crew that can handle this work, and a clogged or worn out furnace may work very inefficiently or shut down entirely. When is is it time to contact an HVAC contractor, and what might a homeowner expect once crews are called over to fix their system?
HVAC and Work
Even though newer models of air conditioners and heaters are more energy efficient now than they used to be (air conditioners today use half the electricity they did in 1990), they are still a major sink of a home’s energy. In fact, it is estimated that in the average American home, 54% or so of the electricity is used for the heating and cooling, meaning that if this system is outdated or strained from being dirty, then this will quickly raise the electric bill and a homeowner will face some extra expenses. Getting HVAC repair and cleaning done is an investment that can prevent this hassle.
What can go wrong with the heating and cooling in a building? Often, even if the HVAC system itself is not damaged or dirty, it may waste a lot of electricity if the building’s insulation is poor. If windows or doors are drafty, they will easily leak warm or cool air, and this forces the air conditioning or heater to work overtime to compensate for this constant loss. The same is true if the walls’ insulation is worn out or missing, and the roof itself may be poorly insulated, leaking warmth in winter or cool air in summer. And even if a window isn’t drafty, it might leak warmth or cool air if it is not covered with drapes or blinds. In summer, hot sunlight coming through a bare window will quickly heat up a room, and in winter, a window not protected with drapes will leak warmth.
The HVAC system itself may be at fault for an unusually high electric bill. If the blower fans deep in the system get coated with enough grime and dirt over time, they cannot work very well, and the system will work overtime to make up for their weak output (once again driving up the electric bill). If the ducts are damaged, such as if they are torn or split apart, they will leak warm or cool air and this can also lower efficiency. The ducts may break like this if they are very old or if rodents are running around in them. And if an outside air conditioner unit is clogged, such as with pollen or dust, it will be less efficient.
Calling in an HVAC Contractor
When a home’s electric bill is very high in summer or winter, or if the air quality suddenly drops or if the climate control is weak, a homeowner is urged to contact local HVAC services to send a professional to inspect it and find the problem. Crews may point out drafty windows or exposed windows that leak warmth or cold air, and they can also check the blower fans, air ducts, the outside unit, and more to find dirt, grime, or damaged components. Crews can clean off these devices or even replace them if they are worn out, and this can restore a home’s or a commercial building’s climate control. And if the system is very old, it probably would not meet modern energy efficiency standards even if fixed and cleaned, so it may be replaced with an entirely new system. This can save some money in the long run with high energy efficiency.