By Jake Taylor
Ask any mechanic and they’ll tell you — preventative maintenance is key to keeping a car in good running condition. The same holds true for your A/C or heat pump. Three things could happen to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) that reduces its efficiency or causes it to fail.
- The air flow gets restricted,
- It loses its refrigerant, or
- Parts wear out.
Air restriction happens when either the “A” coil (found downwind from the interior fan), the furnace filter (found upwind from the interior fan), the fan(s) itself, or the outside coil become covered in debris. This prevents air from contacting the fins, reducing the transfer of heat, or decreasing the efficiency of the fan.
Lost refrigerant happens when there are installation mistakes, the pipes corrode or have weak joints, regular wear and tear, and defects from the factory. These are sealed systems and should not leak. If they do, they should be re-charged after the necessary repairs have been made.
There are many parts on an HVAC system that can cause it to operate poorly or not at all. Many of these are better left to the professionals.
If you are confident in your handyman (or handywoman) skills, there are plenty of “how to/DIY” videos that detail the steps to take to successfully prepare your system for the cooling season. When in doubt, hire a professional. Often, HVAC contractors offer specials in the spring months focusing on tuning up your system so that it runs at an optimal level.
JAKE TAYLOR is the energy advisor at LaGrange County REMC.