“Do I need to do maintenance twice a year and do I really need to service a new unit?”
Maintenance is very important. As far a servicing a new unit, we get this question a lot and there is some misinformation out there. We often get the question “Hey the unit is brand new, why do I need to service it six months in, one year in, why do i need to keep doing that?”The units today are so efficient, I mean they are at a 14 SEER minimum and you have 15 and 16 SEER units. So what that translates to is that the aluminum or the cooper, depending on the brand, is so thin that according to the EPA, 1/20th of an inch of dirt on the evaporator coil can drop your efficiency by over 20%. You just bought a 14 SEER unit six months ago and you don’t have it cleaned out in six months or a year, well you don’t have a 14 SEER unit anymore. That is not me talking, that is the EPA saying that.
If you take an inch and slice it up 20 times, that is how a little bit of dirt can affect the efficiency of your unit. So you need to keep your unit maintained, cleaned and get it checked. You do it twice a year because you want to get it checked for the before or after the heating and the cooling season. As long as you are getting it checked every six months it doesn’t really matter when it happens as long as it is happening. In this part of the country a lot of things that go wrong, a lot of things that happen in the summer are things that could have been prevented with proper maintenance. Things like: dirty coils, dirty filters, dirty blower wheels, which is causing the blower motor to go out or causing the capacitor to overheat and then that causes that to go out. All these things can be checked on maintenance and can save you a lot of time and a lot of money because your unit is not breaking down during the times of the year that it has to work its hardest.
The maintenance is a preventative measure and does not mean that your unit will never break down or have problems, but at least you are catching the things that will cause bigger things down the road. Your HVAC unit takes up half the energy that your home uses so keeping it maintained and efficient is critical to make sure that you are not wasting money and to make sure that it is running properly.
This summer we changed out a lot of weak capacitors, capacitors are like if you are spinning a ball on your finger, you have one hand that is making the ball rotate, and that is kind of like a capacitor. It is keeping the motor running. Now once that goes out or stops, the ball stops spinning and it falls down. Same idea with your capacitor. So all these things can be checked ahead of time to make sure you are good to go.
Your friend in comfort and energy savings,
Derek Cole is the General Manager of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning®, an independently owned and operated franchise based in Laurinburg, North Carolina since 1953. He has more than 14 years of experience in the HVAC industry and has created two You Tube broadcasts, The Comfort Experts and #AskDerekCole, filled with tips and tricks on saving energy and being comfortable. He was named the Top 40 under 40 in the HVAC industry by the News magazine and featured in Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise Player Spotlight.