inadequate maintenance is one of the most common causes of ac problems that end up requiring repairs from a technician. Additionally, allowing the system or unit to get dirty and forcing it to work overtime causes compressors and fans to fail far before their expiration date. You could end up paying for an expensive repair or even an ac replacement all because you failed to have the system cleaned regularly. Many people don’t notice their air conditioners until they don’t work. But here, we’ll outline the costs of inefficient air conditioners, the most common problems with ac units, and how HVAC technicians are an important part of making your home more efficient.According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling make up approximately 48% of all the energy use in a typical home. Air conditioning alone makes up 6% of all the energy used in the United States every year. If you factor in the intense heat in Texas and the demands on air conditioning systems in the summer, these figures may even be higher. As you can see, a huge portion of your monthly energy budget goes to heating and cooling, so you want to make sure you’re using that budget as efficiently as possible. If you’re not, you could see something that’s already energy expensive become even more expensive. Allowing your air conditioning system to run inefficiently because it’s dirty, old, or in need of repair may do more than failing to cool your house. It could also drive up your energy bills at the same time. So, while maintaining your air conditioner may not seem like a major priority, the consequences of forgetting about it could be dire. Not only will you pay through the nose for a house that isn’t cool, but you could also run your air conditioner out of service years before a well-maintained system would need replacing.
A home air conditioner repair consists of performing all the maintenance and repairs that you’re unable to do.
The best way to put off major repairs is to put a maintenance program in place.
Here are a few of the things you can check in on and maintain on your own:
The HVAC system in your home is what keeps your heating and cooling working correctly. Before you install or replace one, it’s crucial to know the costs and work involved. There are several types of HVAC units – and even some other heating and cooling options – to consider, and this guide can help you find the right one for you.
HVAC systems aren’t a one-size-fits-all element for your home. There are different brands to choose from that will vary in cost. Here are some of the more common brands and their median prices:
Most HVAC systems hover in the range of $4000 to $4400, but some can be as high as $5000 or more and as low as $1900. Although performance should be your number one priority, it’s also important to know how much to expect to pay so that you can find one that fits within your budget.
Remember that, when installing an HVAC system, the system itself is only one cost involved. Another important – and, perhaps, most significant – cost is the labor it takes to install it.
Only a qualified HVAC technician can give you an accurate quote based on these factors. The technician will need to tour your home and take some notes so that he can provide a quote. However, you should always budget a little more than the quoted cost to account for anything unexpected during installation. Although labor costs can vary greatly, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour for your HVAC technician’s labor.
You may be eligible for rebates from the government, your state, or your locality for the HVAC system you installed, especially if it’s an incredibly energy-efficient model.
Another important factor when finding the right HVAC system is its warranty. Warranties can make the difference between a system that eats up your savings on maintenance and repairs and a system that saves you money over time.
For most systems, you’ll need to register with the manufacturer to become eligible for a warranty. Usually, you’ll have up to three months to fill out the registration but try to do it as soon as possible so you don’t forget.
Warranties typically cover things like:
However, you won’t have warranty coverage on some matters relating to your HVAC system, like labor costs for repairs and maintenance, filters and fuses, non-manufacturer parts you bought and replaced, parts that don’t affect the system’s performance, and any problems that stem from you or a non-certified person attempting to repair the system. In fact, the manufacturer may void your warranty entirely if you or someone else causes damage to the system or if the damage is caused by a failure to maintain your HVAC elements properly.
The average HVAC warranty lasts between 5 and 10 years, but some offer 20 years of coverage. It’s a good idea, when possible, to opt for a system that provides the most extended coverage to give your system more insurance.
Although HVAC systems from different manufacturers all vary slightly, there are many components that are necessary to make them work. Most HVAC systems have the following elements in common:
There are also some premium elements that you might consider in your installation:
Smart thermostats can be costly, but they can also help you control the heating and cooling throughout your home more accurately. Some smart thermostats even let you control other things in your home, like door locks and lights, via a smart system
There are several types of thermostats to consider for your new HVAC system, including dials, programmable, and smart thermostats. Dialed thermostats are the simplest and most budget-friendly, but they also aren’t the most accurate or efficient.
Programmable thermostats are more efficient than others because you can adjust them according to seasons or the days and times of the week you’re home or out of the home.
Smart thermostats can be costly, but they can also help you control the heating and cooling throughout your home more accurately. Some smart thermostats even let you control other things in your home, like door locks and lights, via a smart system.
The installation cost and complexity will vary depending on the type of thermostat you want for your home.
Repairing an HVAC system can be a quick fix to a complex project, depending on what the problem is. It’s usually more cost-effective to repair a unit instead of replacing it, but a large repair could potentially cost you more over time than replacing the system for a more cost and energy-efficient model.
If your home is old and its HVAC system hasn’t had an upgrade in decades, then you might be leaning more toward a replacement.
First, you’ll need to consider what your current system does and how big it is. If you don’t plan to add to your home and the unit meets the BTU test we did earlier for its size, then you should stick to a similar size when upgrading.
Remember that, depending on where you live and the age of your home, you may experience some heating and cooling leaks or loss. For example, many older homes don’t have proper installation or energy-efficient windows to hold heat and cool air in. In that case, you’ll want to estimate an additional 10 to 20 BTUs per square foot of your home.
While an energy-efficient 2000 square foot home might only require 40,000 BTUs, a not as efficient home of the same size in a warm climate area may need closer to 80,000 BTUs.
You should also consider things like your home’s wall material, draftiness of doors and windows, how much sunlight your home gets, landscaping that blocks wind from your home, and anything else that can have an impact on your unit’s efficiency. An experienced technician can give you helpful pointers in this area.
If your home experiences very different temperatures in specific areas or levels, you might benefit from also having a whole-house zoning system installed. This system can help you control the temperatures in each room or zone to make your home more energy-efficient.
An entirely new HVAC replacement isn’t usually necessary in more modern homes with dependable systems in place. Sometimes, a few repairs are all you need to get your system working like new again.
Here are some of the common electrical parts that might warrant repairs and how you can tell if it’s time to fix them:
The following components are also parts of an HVAC system that sometimes need to be fixed, but they deal more with piping than electricity:
Any HVAC system is only as effective as your dedication to maintaining it. Your system isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it piece of your home. It requires care and proper maintenance to keep it working in top shape. If you don’t routinely change filters or check the system, your heating and cooling will suffer. When components can’t run correctly, they’ll overwork themselves to make up for it, eventually causing them to stop running.
You should commit to doing the following maintenance tasks to keep your HVAC running smoothly:
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. You’ll find this rating on HVAC units to describe how much cooling your air conditioning unit gives out compared to how much energy it uses. The higher the number, the better, because it shows that your cooling unit is efficient. The energy savings you’ll have from a unit with a higher SEER will fluctuate depending on your area’s climate. But, you can generally expect to cut your costs by 30-50% when you upgrade from a 13 SEER to a 20 SEER system.
You’ll also notice an Energy Star Certification for an efficient HVAC system, just like you see on your appliances. This certification proves that the manufacturer made the system more environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient by meeting the standards for Energy Star Certification and guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Your home may also be Energy Star Certified, and your HVAC system will play an essential role in that certification. In addition to a professional checking your home’s water and insulation efficiency, he will also check your HVAC’s efficiency by looking at ductwork, insulation, components, and more.
One of the most important things to consider before upgrading or installing a new HVAC system is your home’s current insulation. Without proper insulation installed, your HVAC’s heating and cooling will escape through the walls of your home, rendering it less efficient than it could be. Insulation should, therefore, be something you consider upgrading before you start your HVAC project.
Some of the more common forms of insulation are:
HVAC isn’t the only type of heating and cooling system around, even if it is most common. You should always consider other options because one may be a better solution for you and your home.
Here are a few favorite alternatives to an HVAC system: