dirty air filter

4 Things That Make Heating and Cooling Systems Fail When They’re Still New

A quality heating and cooling system with a quality installation does not come cheap: it’s an investment in your home’s comfort for the next 15 to 20 years. However, your HVAC system needs help if it’s going to last that long. Unfortunately, there are several ways to decrease your system’s lifespan, if you aren’t careful.

Below are some of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make that cause their HVAC systems to fail when they’re still relatively new.

1. Keeping the same air filter in too long

Your air conditioner and heater need adequate airflow not only to perform efficiently but to prevent wear-and-tear and mechanical problems. For example, a dirty filter can:

  • Make a furnace overheat
  • Cause ice to form over an air conditioner’s indoor coil, which, in turn, can ruin the compressor

Even though most air filters supposedly last for up to 90 days, if you are using your system frequently, it’s in your best interest to change the filter more often. There might also be additional factors that can cause your air filter to clog up faster, for instance if:

  • you own pets
  • someone in your household smokes indoors
  • you’ve recently moved a bunch of boxes in or out of storage
  • you’ve recently completed an indoor renovation or remodeling project

2. Closing or blocking air vents

Your HVAC system needs to pull in as much air as it’s sending out. When there’s furniture or a rug obstructing an air vent, or when someone shuts a vent to try to “redirect” air, this creates an air pressure imbalance in the system. This is bad for two reasons:

  • A buildup of air pressure from a blocked vent can create air leaks in your ductwork. Leaky ductwork will make your HVAC system less effective and more costly to operate.
  • Your system is going to be less efficient, which means it will work harder than it needs to. The more unnecessary stress the system goes through, the faster its components will wear down and need repairs or replacements.

3. Never scheduling preventative maintenance

Routine preventative maintenance accomplishes three significant things that benefit your system (and you);

  1. The technician cleans, lubricates, aligns, and tightens the components so that they operate as efficiently as possible, reducing wear-and-tear and saving your money on energy costs.
  2. The technician points out any potential problems with your system so that you have a chance to take care of them before they become bigger and more costly issues.
  3. Your system not only continues to operate efficiently over the years due to the preventative maintenance, but it also lasts long because it’s not suffering as much wear-and-tear, and any problems are getting addressed well in advance.

Would you drive your car for 5 years straight without any kind of maintenance on the vehicle? It’s helpful to think of your HVAC system in a similar way, especially because a new heating and cooling system can easily cost you upwards of ten thousand dollars—enough to put a downpayment on another car.

4. Not giving the outdoor unit enough breathing room

Your air conditioner’s outdoor unit (the condenser) releases heat that was absorbed from your indoor air. Understandably, it needs room to breathe. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at in your yard, resist the temptation to grow plants or build a wall right up against the unit.

If you do want to try to conceal the condenser, here are some tips:

  • Give the unit about 18 inches (1.5 feet) of horizontal space on all sides), and make sure to leave an opening that will allow a technician to easily service the unit.
  • Never put anything on top of the unit. This is where it releases the most heat. Make sure there is at least 6 feet of vertical clearance.

We still encounter the occasional home with a unit under a deck or in a crawl space, and that is a recipe for high energy bills. Condensers should always be installed in an area that gives them ample room for ventilation.

At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC, our Atlanta technicians are dedicated to providing you with quality heating and cooling maintenance, repairs, and installations. To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (770) 749-7667 or contact us online.

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