How to Avoid AC Repair Issues During the Dead of Winter
We live in uncertain times. You may have planned to spend lots of time taking in the sights and sounds around San Antonio this winter, but public health officials recommend staying at home. While your social calendar will likely get thrown a curve ball this season, your home’s heating and cooling system should not. South-central Texas winters seem to get colder and colder each year. One of these bitter cold days isn’t the time to discover that your HVAC system has stopped working. Find out how to avoid these emergency repairs, keep your HVAC unit running optimally throughout the year, and the signs that you need repairs or system replacement.
Your home’s heater and AC work together to keep your indoor comfortable. They share different components that make up a complex HVAC system. Complexity brings more opportunities for components to wear or break down without notice.
Here are some common HVAC issues that appear out of nowhere every winter.
Frozen Pipes and Coils
When winter temperatures drop below freezing on mid-winter days, your unit’s heat pump, pipes, and coils could freeze. This will cause your heat not to work, and you and your family will wake up to an uncomfortably cold home. While this scenario is bad, the situation could get worse. Frozen water in the pipes could expand, and the resulting pressure could cause the pipes to burst.
Your HVAC’s thermostat controls how warm or cool your home gets. When it malfunctions, you won’t achieve the comfortable temperature that you want for your home.
Faulty Pilot Light
Gas heaters turn on via pilot light ignitor. While some heaters have a constantly lit pilot light, others ignite the pilot light when the heating system turns on. If the pilot light doesn’t come on, your heating system won’t work either.
Uneven Heat Among Rooms
Some people find that their HVAC system operates, but it doesn’t heat their home as efficiently as they expected. You can find one room that’s inexplicably colder than another room.
There are some things that you as a homeowner can do to help your system run well throughout the winter season. You know the basics about changing your air filters, making sure that your ducts are cleaned, and ensuring that your unit’s coils are grime free. You can take home maintenance further by doing an inspection of your heat pump to make sure that airflow isn’t restricted. If you have a gas furnace, you’ll need to make sure that its intake and flue pipes are clear of any obstructions.
After you’ve done your part to make sure that your HVAC unit is working properly, you’ll want to call a professional to check and service the parts of your HVAC unit that you can’t inspect safely. A qualified AC repair technician can identify minor and major problems that can quickly turn into show-stoppers once the winter season gets into full swing.
Importance of Regular HVAC Preventative Maintenance Services This Winter
Getting an AC repair technician to service your HVAC system on a regular schedule could mean the difference between quieting a noisy unit with a minor fix or coming home to a freezer after a long day at the office. With help from the experts, there’s no need to subject your family to the discomfort of a cold home.
HVAC service professionals take your family’s comfort and safety seriously, which means that they never work off the cuff. Licensed technicians use a checklist to perform inspections and repairs to your HVAC unit’s hoses and coils, electrical connections, and thermostat.
Here are some specific services that you’ll likely see on a winter HVAC service inspection list.
Your furnace is at the heart of your HVAC unit’s heat system, and it’s usually the first thing that your repair person will assess. He or she will check for signs of wear and change out your furnace’s filter.
Exterior and Interior HVAC Check
Your HVAC unit’s exterior should be free of debris that could obstruct ventilation pathways. Before your technician looks at internal components, he or she will make sure that the unit’s exterior is clean and in good condition. Your technician will open up your unit to inspect your HVAC’s ignition, motor, blower, and switches. The technician will clean the unit’s interior and repair or replace worn parts.
Power Usage Test
Many property owners pride themselves on the energy efficiency of their homes. Doing your part to lower your power consumption was one of the reasons why you chose your particular HVAC model in the first place. When your system isn’t working properly, it loses some of its energy efficiency benefits. Your service technician will check your unit’s power consumption for unwarranted usage.
Thermostat issues are one of the most common HVAC problems that homeowners face. While relatively minor, these issues can cause your home’s heater not to operate as it should. Most thermostat problems happen when dirt or dust interfere with sensitive electronic components. During your routine service appointment, your technician will clean and calibrate your thermostat.
Overall System Test
After doing inspections, cleanings, and repairs of your HVAC unit’s key components, your technician will do an overall system test. He or she wants to make sure that the maintenance work was done properly and that your unit heats your home as expected.
The preventative maintenance that you do for your HVAC unit today gives you peace of mind during the winter months and when warmer weather approaches. While your service technician specifically focuses on certain HVAC components during winter service appointments, he or she is trained to spot problems with HVAC systems as a whole. By doing preventative maintenance on your HVAC unit regularly, you get an early warning about worn or broken parts that need to be repaired or replaced so that your unit can operate efficiently throughout the year. You wisely invested in the HVAC unit that would deliver the best value to your home. Signing up for an HVAC service plan can extend the life of your unit and ensure that it gives you excellent service for years to come.
Knowing When You Need an AC Repair or a System Replacement
Modern HVAC systems last an average of 10-15 years. If yours is approaching its end of life, you’re probably better off replacing the unit and not repairing it.
Here are some other signs that you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to replacing your HVAC unit.
Rising AC Repair Costs
Frequent calls to your technician for AC repair services are indicators that you need a new unit. If you find that it’s more cost effective to replace the unit rather than call the technician to troubleshoot and repair worn parts, then consult your trusted HVAC company about installing a new unit.
Lower Indoor Air Quality
As your HVAC system ages, its key components don’t work as well as they did when they were newer. After making sure that ductwork and filters are clean, some homeowners still notice unusual amounts of dust on their home’s fixtures and furnishings. This results in lower indoor air quality. Instead of needlessly taking your housekeeping to the next level, you might be better off getting a new, more efficient HVAC unit.
Unpredictable Climate Control
Nearly everyone who has had an older HVAC unit experienced the phenomenon of going into one room that was toasty warm and then stepping into one down the hall that was freezing. As your HVAC unit ages, it doesn’t heat or cool your home as efficiently as it did during its early days even if you’ve done recent repairs to its motor or blower. You can also experience this type of temperature variation if you increase the load on your HVAC system making it inefficient. This happens when homeowners get room additions without considering HVAC requirements.
Your HVAC system is an investment that keeps your entire family comfortable whether it’s freezing or roasting outside. The best way to extend its life and keep it performing optimally is to put it on a regular maintenance schedule with a reliable HVAC company. We service, repair, and install HVAC systems in and around San Antonio. Call us to schedule a preventative maintenance check of your system before temperatures drop this winter.