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The Importance Of Regular HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance of a HVAC system is very important. Energy Star state that the most common causes of failure in such units are neglect and dirt. Operating such a mechanical unit all year round is akin to putting about 100000 miles on a car. Proper HVAC maintenance could prevent frequent repairs, leaving one to experience comfort for a long time. There are other reasons why one needs to constantly maintain their system.

 

Energy Efficiency

In a typical home, about half of the energy is consumed in heating and cooling. As such, making prudent decisions on heating and cooling could significantly impact a household’s utility expenditure. Studies indicate that proper maintenance could reduce energy consumption by as much as 35%.

 

Comfort

HVAC systems are expected to maintain a comfortable temperature within the home. The unit also has to work in various conditions, all day long. If not properly maintained, the system could end up being overworked or fail to deliver the expected comfort of a steady air temperature.

 

Extending the Equipment’s Life

Like any new device degrades in performance when not properly maintained, so will a HVAC system. Besides saving money and energy, a well-maintained system also lasts longer. Extending the life of the unit also allows one to get more value from their investment.

 

Efficiency in Costs

In most cases, people avoid routine maintenance due to cost. It’s possible to get a system maintained regularly for about $150 per year, or even less with a multi-year agreement. One doesn’t need to wait for the system to fail so they can attend to it. At this point, the cost will typically be higher. Proper maintenance would be worthwhile due to reduced repair costs, improved operational efficiency and reduced aggravation.

 

Safety

Routine maintenance also improves safety. During a check-up, the technician will tighten the system’s electrical connections, check for small holes in the heat exchanger and measure the current and voltage on the motors. Such issues could be dangerous; faulty electrical connections could result in unsafe operation and shorts.

Most manufacturers state that regular HVAC maintenance is necessary in keeping a system functioning properly. It also prevents unnecessary repairs and ensures safety for the inhabitants. A properly maintained system also lasts longer and keeps the house more comfortable.

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Should I Leave Interior Doors Open Or Closed During Heating And Cooling?

Most literature on HVAC systems call on homeowners to seal every hole and crack in the house to prevent air leakage, as this would compromise energy efficiency. Naturally, doors would be closed as well, as they could let a great deal of air escape.

While this advice is based on solid principles, there are other factors at work that should be considered when it comes to heating and cooling, with air pressure being a primary concern.

The Pressure To Stay Cool

With everything sealed up, the pressure inside a room will slowly escalate. This is the natural consequence of continuously pumping a massive volume of air from the outside into a finite space. This can be relieved by opening the door from time to time while the occupant is awake. However, the door would presumably stay closed during bedtime. The pressure may eventually reach the point where additional input from the AC forces air to escape through whatever small openings it can find. Conversely, the rest of the house will experience a negative pressure that would suck in air from the surroundings. Outside air is likely to come from passageways like a furnace flue or a chimney.

This outside air carries with it pollutants that have not been filtered out. In fact, the number of contaminants is likely to be higher because of the way in which they got inside. The humidity and carbon monoxide levels will also spike, possibly causing alarms to set off. The health risks involved have to be taken seriously. Try to feel for incoming drafts near the areas mentioned to see if your house is experiencing this problem. Open the bedroom doors to see it anything changes. The reduced air pressure should stop the house from drawing air through these undesirable pathways.

Possible Remedies

So how does the issue get resolved? Opening the doors would be a good start, but leaving them this way throughout the night may not be feasible to most people. The key thing to remember is that we simply need to increase airflow by a small amount to prevent pressure buildup. Transfer grilles are good candidates for a remedy. They do not compromise privacy and are fairly easy to install.

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Are Efficiency Standards For HVAC Equipment Changing?

Increasing the efficiency of HVAC equipment is definitely something that could have a significant impact on energy use; however, there are also other factors that must be taken into consideration. For example, even though the Department of Energy worked with various utility experts and HVAC professionals back in 2009 in order to establish higher HVAC efficiency ratings for gas boilers and furnaces, at this time the HVAC efficiency requirement has not yet been implemented.

The primary reason why these higher HVAC efficiency standards have not taken effect is because of the financial impact it could have on homeowners. The plan was to raise Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) from its current standard of 78 to 90, starting in 2013. While in theory, this could be very beneficial, in actuality, the cumbersome and costly process of retrofitting a home to meet these higher HVAC efficiency standards could be a huge burden for some homeowners.

In order to meet the higher standard of 90 AFUE a condensing furnace would need to be installed. These furnaces require special venting that is difficult to achieve in an existing home, especially for those living in attached homes. Condensing furnaces make use of two separate heat exchangers. While one is utilized in the process of burning gas for heating, the other extracts heat that would otherwise be wasted and uses it as an additional heating source. This heat comes from the hot water vapor that results during the burning of gas fuel.

Unfortunately, while a condensing furnace is certainly more efficient, the financial costs of retrofitting a home to accommodate this type of system can be cost-prohibitive for some homeowners. Opposition within the HVAC industry was able to successfully argue against implementation and the higher HVAC efficiency standards are now sitting with the courts. When or if these higher standards are ever implemented is anyone’s guess; however, for homeowners who are contemplating the installation of new HVAC equipment, it certainly makes sense to choose high efficiency equipment.

If you are interested in learning more about high efficiency HVAC equipment, how you can increase the energy efficiency of your current HVAC system or even if you need repairs or service, contact your local HVAC contractor.