Your home’s HVAC system is a major investment, and you probably want to get as many years out of it that you can. Read on for some advice for maximizing the lifespan of your heating and cooling system.
1. Buy the Best HVAC Unit(s) You Can Afford
When it comes to your furnace, not all units are created equal. For starters, you want to be sure to purchase one that will sufficiently handle the needs of your home. In general, smaller, one-story homes will not require a heating system that is as big as one required to cover a larger, multi-story home. Then, regardless of size, you should buy a furnace with maximum efficiency. One with a variable-speed air handler is optimal, as it will run at appropriate speeds to maintain your home’s temperature. If variable speed is beyond your budget, a less expensive two-stage handler can still provide a decent level of efficiency.
High efficiency is critical for your air conditioner as well. Air conditioners are given a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and the higher the SEER number you can afford, the better. If dampening noise is important to you, then spring for a unit that also has variable-speed scroll compressors. Finally, try to purchase a unit with all-aluminum evaporator coils, as they are less likely to corrode or leak. A trained expert in HVAC can advise you on the best, most affordable systems for your home.
2. Install a Smart Thermostat
It seems that everything around the home is becoming smarter these days, so don’t leave your thermostat out of the picture. A smart thermostat can increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by allowing you to create programming that fits your family’s habits. Some thermostats even learn when people are more active in your home and adjust temperatures accordingly.
Almost all smart thermostats can be run by apps that let you manage the system remotely, whether you’re on the couch or away from home. If your house has been empty all evening, you can crank up the heat before heading back so it’s perfectly toasty just before you arrive. Apps can also provide you with reports on your usage, so you can see where to make adjustments to cut consumption and reduce your utility bills.
3. Don’t Overlook Routine Care
No matter how efficient your HVAC system is, it still requires some regular care. If the air filters become excessively dirty, for instance, your units have to work harder in order to push air through them. Check the recommended replacement timeframe on your filters and use that as your guideline; depending on your usage and climate they may need to be switched out more often.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your condenser. Leaves and dirt should be cleared away to optimize airflow into the unit, and the condenser should be checked for damage after a severe storm. If you find that it’s in need of repair, turn off the unit and call in an expert as soon as possible.
4. Get Regular Checkups
Often the contractor who installed your HVAC system will offer a routine service contract, and taking them up on this offer can add years of life to your system. Typically, a service person will come out twice a year, usually in spring and fall before seasonal hot or cold weather ramps up. Your system will be inspected thoroughly for cracks or damage, moving parts will be lubricated, the condenser and drain tube will be cleaned, refrigerant levels will be topped-off, and other tasks will likely be performed as needed. The technician will probably your unit(s) on to be sure they are running smoothly.
If you don’t elect to purchase a contract, be certain to have your HVAC system professionally cared for at regular intervals. Doing so can help you identify and address potentially serious issues with your furnace or air conditioner before harsh weather hits and you’re left without a working unit.
Even though your HVAC system won’t last forever, there are still many ways to make sure you get a lot of life out of yours. Follow these tips, and you’ll be more likely to keep your units happily humming for years to come.