Should I Hire an HVAC Professional or Do It Myself?
The Internet is bursting at the seams with tutorials on how to perform different HVAC maintenance services on your heating and cooling system. While some of that information can be helpful, there are many HVAC jobs that can be difficult, dangerous, and are best left to a professional. Before getting to work on your heating and cooling system in an effort to DIY, use the following points to determine if you are up for the job or should leave it to someone who’s experienced.
Reason #1 to Hire an HVAC Professional: Safety
There are a lot of potential dangers involved with electrical wiring and/or natural gas when attempting to fix your own HVAC system. Electrical issues are one of the most common causes of house fires. If the air conditioning equipment is not properly installed, maintained, or repaired, the electrical wiring could become a fire hazard. Alternatively, if you heat your home using a gas furnace, gas leaks can be the result of improper handling of the gas lines or valves, and can become a danger to you and your family.
Carbon monoxide emissions are called the “silent killer” because they are both odorless and colorless and extremely poisonous. Heating fuels like oil or gas produce carbon monoxide naturally. A properly installed HVAC system is designed to automatically expel those gases upon production. It is essential to hire an HVAC professional to ensure that all repairs are performed properly to prevent potential problems.
Consider the Size of the Job
There are small tasks that homeowners can easily perform themselves including changing a filter or cleaning debris around the system. These maintenance jobs can be performed safely and relatively easily, especially if you have knowledge of the different elements of your HVAC system. However, the jobs become more involved from there and require a well-trained and experienced professional.
An HVAC Professional Will Help You Choose the Right System
A quality HVAC provider is critical in choosing the best system for your home and budget. Sometimes it may seem that professional companies quote you on higher-priced systems, but they’re really trying to help you select the best solution for your home.
If you try to piece together a system on your own, even if you are legally able to acquire the equipment, it is likely you may not get the results you are looking for. There are a lot of factors that contribute to finding the right system for your home including the size of your home, the layout, your criteria for a comfortable environment.
When a system is too big, it will run hard then shut off and continue in this cycle of being overworked. This leads to constantly fluctuating temperatures, excessive humidity in the home, and unnecessary wear and tear put on your system that can cause it to prematurely break down.
If you get a system that is too small, it will be forced to constantly run at maximum capacity while still not keeping your house at the comfort level that you require. Once again, it can result in higher energy bills because the system is constantly working at maximum capacity.
Working with a professional HVAC contractor means employing someone who is both trained and experienced in choosing the perfect system for many different homes, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about making the calculations yourself.
HVAC Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
While there are many elements of maintaining an HVAC system that you should leave to professionals, there are a few maintenance steps that won’t require you to call in the pros.
Change Your HVAC Filter
Failing to change out your HVAC filter can cost you big time. When you don’t change out your filter as frequently as you should, it is no longer able to clean the air in your home. The filter will amass a layer of dirt and grime so thick that it jams the porous surface of the filter and eventually restricts the airflow that your system needs in order to properly function. Once again, this forces your HVAC system to work harder and run longer and therefore increases your energy bill.
Changing your filter is a relatively quick, easy, and cheap job but it has a significant impact on the efficiency of your HVAC system. A Peninsula Heating & Air technician can show you how to change your filter, which filters will be best for your HVAC system, and how frequently you should be changing it out.
Clean the Area Surrounding Your Outdoor Unit
Cleaning the area around the condenser of your HVAC system (the outdoor unit) is an important step in ensuring proper airflow within the entire system. If you have a heat pump, this will require year-round maintenance including cutting vines and branches back from the unit, controlling fallen leaves, and snow removal. If you have an air conditioner, you can purchase a cover to protect the unit when it is not in use.
When the condenser is in use, i.e. during the cooling season, you will want to remove anything that can potentially restrict the unit. This may include raking back leaves, clearing debris away from the sides of the condenser, and cutting back branches and vegetation that surround the unit at least two feet in all directions.
Keep Indoor Registers Clear
Your heating and cooling system works by delivering conditioned air throughout the house via a series of ducts which then release the air through registers or grilles in the walls, ceilings, and floors of various rooms in the home. These registers are the direct way that heated or cooled air is delivered throughout the home and in order to do their job, they need a little maintenance of their own. Ensure that the registers are not blocked or restricted by furniture or other obstacles and make sure that they are kept open. When performing household cleaning and chores, take care to not accidentally scratch or damage the registers. They should be kept clean and dry in order to prevent them from rusting. If you notice that airflow from an open register has diminished or is non-existent, you should call for repairs.
Contact us online or call us at (804) 642-6163 to learn more about DIY maintenance tips, HVAC installation and repairs.