Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is one of the most important appliances in your home, as it controls the temperature year-round. A good rule of thumb is to have a professional technician inspect the unit at least once a year—and some experts recommend twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, right before the unit’s hardest-working seasons—to make sure it’s running optimally and prevent costly repairs down the road. Get the most out of your visit by asking these four questions.
Thermostats have moved far beyond the simple box with a temperature dial. Today, they boast features like motion sensors, remote controls and touchscreens. Don’t be afraid to ask your HVAC technician for tips on programming best practices. By making adjustments, such as scheduling the temperature to drop a couple of degrees while you’re at work, you may be able to save money on your energy bills.
If you’ve noticed a drop in the air pressure coming from your vents, or that it’s taking longer than usual to cool or heat a room, bring your observations to the HVAC technician’s attention. Poor air flow could be the result of something as simple as not changing the air filter frequently enough for your home’s needs. Or there could be a larger issue, such as leaky air ducts, which should be inspected and cleaned every three to five years.
Ideally, your HVAC unit will last 15 to 20 years. To ensure you get at least that, if not more, ask your HVAC technician about preventative steps that keep your system from being overworked. This may include changing the air filter regularly, upgrading your insulation to better keep air inside your home, and using other methods to cool and warm your home—such as running the fan in summer and piling on the blankets in winter—instead of relying solely on your HVAC system.
In between tune-ups, ask your technician about red flags that might warrant another maintenance call so you can be on the lookout for potential problems. He or she will probably tell you to give them a call if you notice strange noises or smells, or higher utility bills, as all are signs that something isn’t working properly.