Bi-annual inspections and routine maintenance for your HVAC system is highly advisable. But if heating and air isn’t your expertise, you may not know the best questions to ask your technician. Don’t fret! ENA Solution is here with several suggestions to get the dialogue (and air) really flowing.
1. Is there a “correct” temperature at which to set the thermostat in the summer or winter?
Temperature settings are largely a matter of personal choice — some people naturally run hotter or colder than others — but there is your energy bill to consider. For instance, think about each degree of “offset” equating to roughly 3% in energy savings. So if you’re able to leave things a little hotter in the summer and take advantage of circulator fans, or throw on a sweatshirt in the winter and lower the setpoint, you’ll see a big difference on your energy bills.
2. On the topic of thermostats, should I get a programmable one?
Programmable thermostats are a great way to optimize your runtimes by timing the heating and cooling systems based on occupancy schedules. A truly smart thermostat, as in the one made by yours truly, can optimize runtime based on a multitude of factors, delivering the right balance of comfort, efficiency and air quality.
3. Should I consider a preventative maintenance plan?
Whether you opt for a formal subscription or simply call to schedule your technician each season, regular maintenance will extend the life of your system and likely improve its efficiency, too. Just like a home or vehicle, your HVAC system is a complex piece of machinery with lots of components prone to wear and tear. Take good care of it, and it’ll take good care of you.
4. Do air ducts need maintenance?
The short answer: yes. While ductwork is typically less prone to breakdown than other components, it should be visually inspected for any cracks, especially if you’re feeling less airflow coming from the vents. Ducts should also be cleaned periodically, as a buildup of dirt and debris can restrict airflow and cause the system to underperform.
5. When will I need to replace my unit?
Systems can last anywhere from 10-20 years or more, largely depending on the usage and upkeep. Technicians don’t have a crystal ball, of course, but will be able to provide some insight based on the wear and tear of critical components. Because these are big ticket items, having an understanding of when the system may need to be replaced can help your business budget and plan for the expense.
6. What should I pay attention to when it comes to system health?
The signs of HVAC issues are all around us. Be mindful of strange odors or noises emanating from the system, and also pay attention to hot/cold spots or a lack of airflow. All of these can signify issues big or small with your HVAC.
7. Is there anything I can do myself to extend the life of my system?
Yes! Besides looking out for maintenance issues and consulting a tech, there are practical actions you can take to get more years out of your system. For starters, change your air filter at least once per quarter. Then, look for dirt/debris buildup around your outdoor units and keep the area clean and landscaped. Lastly, use a smart thermostat to reduce the runtimes needed to achieve a desired comfort level.
Your HVAC technician is there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good communication will go a long way in getting the most out of your system. And as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Happy heating and cooling!