We understand why people sometimes question the value of HVAC maintenance. When you’re paying for a service that prevents problems, like HVAC maintenance, you may wonder what would happen if you skipped it.
After all, the equipment is tucked away somewhere out of sight, doing its thing to keep your space comfortable. Somebody comes in twice a year or more to maintain it, and you may not notice a difference. So what are you getting for your money?
Part of the reason people wonder about the value of HVAC maintenance is they don’t get the opportunity to see the state of their HVAC equipment before and after the service visit. So they have no idea what the technician did and how regular service keeps the system running smoothly and prevents problems.
So, today we’re going to share some evidence, in the form of before-and-after photos, that will help you understand the value of HVAC maintenance.
Why you need HVAC maintenance after a shutdown
For New York City businesses struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic, it’s tempting to cut costs that may seem unnecessary. However, skipping the relatively small cost of HVAC maintenance can cost you much more in emergency repairs, especially if your business was closed for months.
Starting up your HVAC system without an inspection and maintenance after so much downtime can lead to problems with your system. Here’s an analogy that can help to explain why. After weeks or longer of “sheltering in place,” many people went out to their cars to find dead batteries and problems with the tires. After sitting unused, your HVAC system can develop similar issues that need to be addressed before you can use it again.
HVAC maintenance before-and-after photos
Every HVAC maintenance task helps to keep your system in optimal condition and working as efficiently as possible. For certain tasks, you can readily see the results. And when you see the difference, it’s easy to understand why doing that task keeps your system working well and prevents expensive repair issues.
So, let’s take a look at a few examples.
Air conditioner coil cleaning
BEFORE COIL CLEANING:
AFTER COIL CLEANING:
What are air conditioner coils and what do they do? There are two types of coils that are vital to the operation of your air conditioning system: evaporator and condenser coils. Without getting too technical, the coils’ job is to transfer heat. The evaporator coil absorbs heat from your space, and the condenser coil releases it outside.
Problems caused by dirty coils. When your coils looks like the BEFORE photo, they can’t effectively transfer heat. This condition is not unusual; in fact many neglected condenser coils look like this. Condensers are usually located outside and collect debris from smog, vehicle exhaust, and other outdoor pollutants. It builds up fast and does quite a bit of damage. With just 1/100th of an inch of dirt and grime on your air conditioner’s condenser coil, your system’s efficiency will decline by 5 percent.
When coils lose efficiency, the system must run longer and work harder to cool your space, causing wear and tear on the parts and running up your electric bill. Over time, grime on the coils causes corrosion, leading to cracks and holes that leak refrigerant. Your system loses cooling power and eventually doesn’t cool at all. Dirty evaporator coils can freeze up and cause water damage in your space. In the worst case, you could end up with compressor failure, which is a very expensive repair, and could mean you need to replace the entire unit.
Learn more about the benefits of coil cleaning as part of regular HVAC maintenance:
Filter cleaning or replacement
BEFORE FILTER CLEANING:
AFTER FILTER CLEANING:
What does the HVAC filter do? Air filters keep dust and debris out of your heating and air conditioning equipment. Imagine what your home or business would look like if you didn’t clean for a month. That’s equivalent to what accumulates in your HVAC filters in a given month.
Problems caused by clogged HVAC filters. When HVAC filters get clogged, dust and debris can get into the system and build up on the parts. It jams up moving parts such as blower motors and fans. The system draws more power to overcome the obstacle, straining the parts and increasing your energy costs. It accumulates in ductwork, which means more dust and contaminants (like mold spores) end up blowing around your space. Dust-clogged filters impede the airflow within your air conditioner, and you get inconsistent heating or cooling, low airflow from your vents, or your AC blowing warm air.
That’s why HVAC filters need to be cleaned or replaced frequently. In fact, depending on your usage you might need to do that yourself in between HVAC maintenance appointments. Read these related articles for more information:
Cleaning condensate pumps & pans
DRAIN PAN BEFORE CLEANING:
DRAIN PAN AFTER CLEANING:
CONDENSATE PUMP BEFORE CLEANING:
CONDENSATE PUMP AFTER CLEANING:
Drain lines, condensate pumps and drain pans serve an important purpose for air conditioners – removing the water that’s collected in the process of removing humidity and heat from the air.
Grimy, clogged drain lines, pumps & pans lead to water leaks that can damage ceilings, walls, floors, furnishings and decor. When condensate water can’t harmlessly drain away because lines are plugged, drains are blocked, or a dirty pump stops working, you can end up with a very expensive problem on your hands. Besides a hefty air conditioner repair bill, you could face property damage from water leaks. You might not discover a slow water leak right away, especially if your air conditioner is still working. By the time you see the wet spot on the ceiling or wall, the damage is already done.
Cleaning out your condensate lines, pans, and pumps as part of regular HVAC maintenance is inexpensive compared to the cost of cleaning up a water leak.
All HVAC maintenance is not the same
Unfortunately for consumers, there are no standards for which tasks are included in preventative HVAC maintenance service. Some contractors simply change the filters, take a quick look at the equipment and leave it at that. Well, it’s no wonder when those customers end up with frequent repair issues.
As you’ve already seen, there are many more tasks that must be done to keep air conditioning and heating equipment in good condition and operating reliably.
To be sure you’re getting your money’s worth with a complete HVAC maintenance service, check out these related articles: