Preventive Maintenance does make a difference

HVAC residential heating and air repair serviceYou wouldn’t drive your car 100,000 miles without changing the oil. The same logic holds true for your home comfort system. Regular HVAC preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure trouble-free operation and peak performance. It can also keep your energy bill from getting out of control.

Did you know that preventive maintenance can effectively DOUBLE THE LIFE of your furnace or air conditioning system? Statistics show that your system should last 17-20 years with regular maintenance, but most only last 9-12 years without regular maintenance. Proper HVAC equipment maintenance is also essential to ensuring that your home or office is protected from exposure to issues of poor indoor air quality to ensure safety and comfort. Though system life is determined by a large number of factors including type of installation, climate, quality of the original system, among many others, don’t throw away thousands of dollars on premature system replacement.

HVAC Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Many dealers provide priority service for their customers who have an annual maintenance or service agreement. Bi-annual preventative maintenance will ensure that your system runs as efficiently as possible. Your local dealer will perform the following tasks, depending on the unit:

Outdoor Units

  • Inspect unit for proper refrigerant level and adjust if necessary
  • Clean dirt, leaves and debris from inside cabinet
  • Inspect base pan for restricted drain openings—remove obstructions as necessaryInspect coil and cabinet—clean as needed
  • Inspect fan motor and fan blades for wear and damage—on older models lubricate as needed
  • Inspect control box, associated controls/accessories, wiring and connections. Controls may include contactors, relays, circuit boards, capacitors, sump heat and other accessories. All control box and electrical parts should be checked for wear or damage.
  • Inspect compressor and associated tubing for damage

Indoor Units

  • Inspect blower assembly (includes blower housing, blower wheel and motor)
  • On older models, lubricate motor and inspect and replace fan belt if needed
  • Check combustion blower housing for lint and debris
  • Inspect evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain lines. Clean as needed
  • Inspect for gas leaks in gas furnaces
  • Inspect burner assembly—clean and adjust as needed
  • Inspect ignition system and safety controls—clean and adjust as needed
  • Inspect heat exchanger or heating elements
  • Inspect flue system—check for proper attachment to the furnace, any dislocated sections, and for signs of corrosion.Inspect control box, associated controls, wiring and connections
  • Check air filters
  • Inspect conditioned airflow system
  • Monitor system starting characteristics and capabilities
  • Listen for abnormal noise
  • Search for source of unusual odors
  • Monitor air conditioning and heat pump systems for correct refrigerant charge
  • Measure outdoor dry bulb temperature
  • Measure indoor dry and wet bulb temperature
  • Monitor gas furnace for correct line and manifold gas pressure—make adjustments as needed
  • Measure temperature rise and adjust airflow as needed
  • Check vent system for proper operation
  • Monitor system for correct line and load volts/amps
  • Monitor system operation per manufacturer’s specifications

When should you replace your HVAC system?

Many times, your system just decides not to work one day. The decision to purchase a new system was made for you! Hopefully this will happen after the 12 year mark. Actually, the admired “lifespan” according to Energy.gov is about 15 to 20 years. If the correct system is chosen and the install is quality, this goal is realistic. Did you know that only half of installed units will last 15 to 20 years?

There are three key factors to consider when deciding to replace an “older” unit NOW as opposed to LATER. First, utility bills are a key factor. Energy Efficiency is real. Today’s air conditioners can use 30% to 50% less energy. This can offer the consumer much savings!

Secondly, repair bills can begin adding up. It’s typically during extreme temperature times. Keep in mind that repairing a system that is 12 years or older will not necessarily extend the life of the unit at all. It could buy you a little time, but not necessarily. There are many pieces to the puzzle that allow a system a “long life span”.

Lastly, safety could be a concern. Older heating and air conditioning systems could have electrical issues and cracks in the furnace could leak carbon monoxide into your home. Safety should always be top priority.

In the future, as you decide to repair or replace – keep these key points in mind! Then take into consideration the peace of mind the warranties of a new system offer you, the consumer!

What is that Mysterious Smell when I turn on my Furnace?

600x600-InsetImages_0003_Layer Comp 4What is that mysterious smell coming from the furnace? Any odor coming from your furnace indicates a problem, and some of them can be potentially deadly for your family. Call Apex Heating and Air Conditioning today to determine the source of the issue, and to ensure your family is safe. We will inspect for these common causes and provide an estimate for any necessary repairs.

Common Causes of Smell

Dust – This is minor. Dust collects on the filter when it’s not used. It should burn off in no time!

Musty – This is minor. Mold can cause a smell – just change or wash the filter.

Oil – This could be minor or major. If the filter is clogged, simply change it – this is minor. If the smell continues, there could be an oil leak. This is major. Have this checked immediately.

Smoke – This is major and needs to be addressed immediately. Even a chimney could be blocked and the smoke will begin to exit through the ductwork. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.

Electrical – This is a major red flag. You could have a burned out motor, malfunctioning electrical parts or frayed wiring.  Have this inspected as soon as possible.

Sulfur – This is major and caused by a leak in your furnace or your main line.  This could lead to an explosion. Have this checked immediately.

Remember, minor issues can be resolved quickly, but major issues should be checked immediately to ensure safety and to ago.

How SAFE is your Indoor Air Quality?

boy_piggybankDid you know that indoor air is commonly two to five times more contaminated than outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Homeowners and builders are continually making smart energy efficiency improvements that “tighten” their home’s building envelope and decrease air leaks (air “infiltration”).

Steps for cleaner air and ample ventilation in your home

1. Prevent Mold and Moisture

Mold can trigger allergic reactions, aggravate asthma symptoms, and even sometimes produce toxins. Regardless of whether someone is allergic to mold, it can irritate the eyes, nose, skin, throat and lungs.

Moisture is the most important factor promoting mold growth – wet surfaces can start growing mold in a mere 24 to 48 hours. Look for mold around leaky plumbing fixtures, your foundation, and windows. Also beware of leaks from the roof, humidifiers, and sprinkler systems.

To address mold growth, stop the source of moisture from entering your home, clean up the mold if possible and replace items that can’t be adequately cleaned, such as carpeting, furniture, and ceiling tiles. For severe water damage and mold growth, consult an expert.

2. Install a Whole House-Ventilation System

Air is like bread—it shouldn’t be stale. Good thing our innovative ventilators are designed to remove stale air from your home, while keeping valuable energy from escaping.

Not only do all of our ventilators work quietly and efficiently to bring fresh air into your home all year long, they pre-condition the incoming air to better match the inside air temperature. Knowing the product that’s right for you is as easy as knowing your address. WE CAN HELP.

For instance, our energy recovery ventilators are made for climates with warm, humid summers. They’ll bring fresh air into your home and remove humidity before it enters your ducts to keep you comfortable and your cooling system from having to work harder.

3. Use Low-Emission Products

Many of the products and goods that we use in our homes release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are known or suspected carcinogens. To reduce your exposure to formaldehyde and other VOCs, be aware of the products you bring into your home.

Unwrap and allow new furniture and carpeting to air out in a garage for a few days before bringing it inside your home. Use solid wood products and furniture when possible to avoid formaldehyde in particleboard and plywood, or ensure that pressed wood products are sealed on each side.

Use no- or low-VOC finishes and adhesives, and boost ventilation during painting projects. Potentially hazardous products typically have warning labels stating to use them in a well-ventilated area. When possible, find safer alternatives or use products outdoors, and allow your projects to dry before bringing them indoors.

Make YOUR air quality the best YOU can!

DIY Energy Tips

kitchen-sales-discussion-2Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. No matter what kind of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy bills in half.

  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but be sure they don’t block the airflow.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Whole house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air temperature is cooler than the inside.
  • Don’t set your thermostat at a colder temperature setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and therefore unnecessary expense.
  • Consider ceiling fans to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Don’t place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat.