Common Heating/Cooling Repair Issues and Associated CostsHeating and cooling systems are complex units consisting of dozens of parts and components. As with any mechanical machinery, these parts can wear out or break, resulting in costly repairs. For example, a typical furnace contains more than 50 components, any one of which could fail and cause the unit to malfunction or shut down completely. A bad ignitor is probably the most common issue and can cost as much as $150-$200 to replace.A faulty thermostat is another typical furnace repair issue that will prevent you from adjusting your home’s temperature. While a basic thermostat may be inexpensive, it is important to choose the correct model for your specific system needs. Getting an efficient programmable model may set you back as much as several hundred dollars when installed by a HVAC professional, but the cost savings may help pay for the upgrade within a few short years!A more severe furnace repair problem is a failed motor. A draft inducer motor can carry a price tag as high as $700, while a blower motor can run up to $1,500 or more. When you factor in the service charge, your total cost can be hundreds of dollars more, especially for after-hours or emergency calls.
Preventative Maintenance Can Minimize Your Repair CostsThe good news is that with regular maintenance, you may be able to prevent many of the mechanical issues that lead to parts failure and total HVAC system breakdowns. Your unit can fulfill its life expectancy, which can range from 15 to 25 years depending on its make, model and usage patterns. You should have a certified HVAC technician inspect your unit throughout the year. Just like your car, your HVAC system needs regular maintenance. Doesn’t matter when you get it done, you just need to get it done.
What Are the Benefits of Routine HVAC System Maintenance?
- Spotting small problems before they become major expenses: Many HVAC issues exhibit warning signs that only a trained professional can detect. An experienced HVAC tech can perform a series of troubleshooting steps to identify minor glitches before they turn into extensive — and expensive — repair problems or cause your system to break down at the worst time.
- Increasing heating/cooling efficiency: An inefficient HVAC system will detract from your home’s comfort and likely increase your energy bills. Sometimes, all it takes is a little “tuning up” to keep your system in peak operating condition, which you’ll surely appreciate when that monthly bill arrives in the mail.
- Maximizing the system’s lifespan: If you’re like most homeowners, purchasing a brand new HVAC system is something you’d like to postpone as long as possible. Routine maintenance can prolong your unit’s lifespan and lengthen the time between replacements.
- Improving indoor quality: An improperly maintained heating and air conditioning system with clogged filters will likely spew dirty air into your home. Conversely, a well-maintained unit can enhance air quality, which is especially important if members of your household suffer from medical conditions such as allergies or asthma.
- Gaining increased safety: A routine checkup can uncover safety issues that could endanger you and your family. For example, a crack in a furnace’s heat exchanger could allow toxic carbon monoxide gas to seep into your home. If you own an electrically powered system, a maintenance check can help a professional spot short circuits that could otherwise cause a fire.
- Enjoying peace of mind: If your home has an older HVAC system, you might worry whether it will make it through another season. A maintenance checkup can put your mind at ease by letting you know that your unit is ready to go. And if it’s time for a replacement, you’ll be able to get it done before the hot or cold weather arrives — not in the middle of the season.
What Does an HVAC Maintenance Check Include?
- Thermostat calibration: Your tech will calibrate your thermostat to ensure its accuracy. They may also recommend the installation of an energy-saving programmable thermostat if you don’t have one already.
- Lubrication: HVAC systems contain numerous moving parts. The friction created when the parts rub against each other causes them to wear out, which could lead to a breakdown. Keeping parts and components lubricated is essential for preventing premature wear and prolonging their lifespan.
- Controls checking: Your maintenance tech will test every system control to make sure the unit starts, stops and performs all other functions correctly and safely.
- Blower maintenance: A dirty, misadjusted blower can dramatically reduce your HVAC unit’s efficiency. A routine maintenance check should include a thorough cleaning of the blower along with any necessary calibration steps.
- Coil cleaning: Dirty condenser and evaporator coils also limit A/C system efficiency and can cause the unit to work harder than it should. Your checkup should include a thorough coil cleaning at least once per year.
- Proper fuel line connection check: If your unit runs on gas, oil or propane, a loose fuel line connection poses a fire hazard and can also allow toxic fumes to escape. Your tech will verify the tightness of the connections and make necessary adjustments.