Your HVAC system is responsible for keeping your home comfortable, no matter the weather in Annapolis and Pasadena, MD. However, many homeowners overlook the importance of regular HVAC maintenance until they’re left shivering on a cold winter night or sweating on a hot summer afternoon. Regular HVAC maintenance ensures the longevity, efficiency, and consistent performance of your system. It’s akin to taking your car in for routine oil changes—it keeps things running smoothly and catches issues before they become major problems.
At Barstow and Sons Heating and Cooling, we recommend that every homeowner schedule annual tune-ups—once in the spring for your air conditioner and again in the fall for your heating system. Once you understand what HVAC maintenance entails, you’ll realize why it’s so important.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Mean?
Professional tune-ups involve a technician thoroughly servicing, inspecting, and troubleshooting the system to keep it working efficiently and prevent breakdowns. When you schedule maintenance with Barstow and Sons Heating and Cooling, expect your HVAC technician to perform the following steps:
- Run a thermostat test
- Inspect and replace the air filter if necessary (customer provides the filter)
- Evaluate the airflow and make adjustments as needed
- Assess the condition of your equipment
- Check the refrigerant level
- Inspect the heat exchanger, gas connections, and exhaust flue
- Check the condensate drain and drip pan
- Examine the blower motor
- Check the safety equipment, surge protector, and fail-safes
- Inspect the compressor, condenser, air handler, evaporator coil, and electrical components
- Ensure there are no pest infestations
- Write a thorough diagnostics report for the customer’s records
You can also perform DIY maintenance between professional visits. This includes the following tips:
- Check and change the air filter every one to three months
- Keep the outdoor unit clean and unobstructed
- Open all supply and return air vents around the house
- Adjust the thermostat for energy savings
Signs You Need HVAC Service
Being familiar with your HVAC system’s normal behavior is the key to recognizing when things aren’t quite right. Here are some tell-tale signs that your furnace or air conditioner may be due for a maintenance visit or HVAC repair:
- Energy usage spike: If your utility bills are noticeably higher one month for no apparent reason, consider this a red flag that something’s wrong with your HVAC system. It might be working harder than necessary to maintain the desired indoor temperature due to a clogged filter, poor lubrication, or malfunctioning internal components. Regular HVAC maintenance is your chance to identify and fix whatever issue is causing the energy usage spike, preventing a more serious problem from developing later on.
- Reduced airflow: Place your hand over the supply registers scattered throughout the house. If you notice diminished airflow, it could be a sign of a clogged filter, obstructed ductwork, or a failing motor. Low airflow affects your comfort level and could raise your energy bills. A professional HVAC technician can diagnose and rectify the cause, restoring reliable operation.
- Unusual noises: After years of living in your home and hearing your HVAC system run, you should be familiar with how it sounds when operating correctly. So, if you hear strange banging, hissing, or clattering from your system, it’s a cause for concern. These noises could indicate loose parts, refrigerant leaks, or other internal issues. It’s wise to turn off the unit and schedule a maintenance visit before the underlying problem causes a complete breakdown or safety hazard.
- Recurring problems: If you have to constantly reset tripped circuit breakers, restart the thermostat, or deal with other repeated issues, this is a clear sign that your HVAC system needs professional attention. You’re probably experiencing symptoms of an underlying problem that requires a formal repair to prevent further damage and restore reliable performance.
- Odd cycling behavior: Have you noticed your system running longer than usual to achieve the same level of comfort? Perhaps the unit is cycling on and off too frequently. These odd behaviors could be caused by a dirty evaporator coil, leaky ductwork, or a malfunctioning thermostat. A professional tune-up can help identify and rectify these issues, restoring your HVAC system’s efficiency.
- Aging system: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems have a finite lifespan. As they age, efficiency may dwindle, and the need for HVAC repairs may increase. If your system is over 10 years old, it’s prudent to have a professional inspect and maintain it to keep the equipment operating smoothly. If a significant repair cost arises, your technician may advise that replacing the aging furnace or air conditioner is more cost-effective than repairing it.
- Over a year since your last inspection: HVAC contractors recommend annual preventative maintenance to keep your system operating at its peak. If it’s been a year or more since your last tune-up, make it a priority to schedule your next HVAC service sooner rather than later.
Reliable HVAC Maintenance in Annapolis and Pasadena, MD
As a family-run, local business with over 40 years of experience, Barstow and Sons Heating and Cooling is ready to service your furnace or air conditioner. We specialize in Lennox heating, cooling, and air quality systems, offering full-service heating and cooling solutions with your budget in mind. Our 24/7 emergency service ensures you’re never left in the cold or heat for long. Invest in your home’s comfort and energy efficiency by scheduling your next HVAC tune-up with us. Call 410-777-9185 today to speak with a friendly team member about your heating and cooling needs.