Once or Twice a Year: What Is Best For Home Air Conditioning and Furnace Repair and Maintenance?
Every industry has its million-dollar question. In the HVAC industry, the big question is how often you should schedule maintenance for your HVAC systems?
Once a year? Twice a year? More often? Less often?
It probably won't surprise you to hear there are different opinions on this popular topic. Some experts believe that home air conditioning and heating systems always require their own separate preventative maintenance service.
But not all families can afford two maintenance appointments for the HVAC systems per year, especially after the lockdown year we have just gone through!
What if your household budget can only stretch to cover one annual preventative maintenance and safety inspection for your HVAC systems? Will this be enough? Learn what our experts recommend.
Shared HVAC Systems Components Do Double Duty
For example, both your home air conditioning and furnace take their orders from a shared thermostat.
Both your heating and air conditioning rely on a shared condenser to change the temperature of incoming air. Both use the same condensation lines and the same air handler (air filter, blower motor, fan) to send the air out into the ducts.
Speaking of ducts, both HVAC systems also rely on the same air duct system (ducts, air registers, exhaust vents) to distribute the warm or cool air to each room in your home or workplace.
What does this mean in terms of the maintenance required for your HVAC systems?
It means that these components are pulling double duty. They are working hard all year long to keep you comfortably cool or warm as the weather dictates.
In some cases, and especially if you have an older home air conditioning and heating system, this may mean you need to schedule twice-annual preventative maintenance service and safety inspections for older electrical wiring, pilot lights, heating burners and ignition systems.
For newer systems, you may be able to get away with a once-annual maintenance service and safety inspection.
HVAC Components Specific to Home Air Conditioning or Furnace Use
Air Conditioning ONLY Components
- Evaporator coil.
Furnace ONLY Components
- Heat exchangers.
- Pilot light or ignition switch.
Because these components are not in use all year long, they typically won't endure as much wear and tear as the shared components we just discussed.
However, because these components are only needed during the summer or winter, you won't necessarily have any advance warning if key parts require maintenance, either.
This is where scheduling once or twice-annual HVAC maintenance can get tricky.
You don't want to risk a sudden heating or cooling outage at the height of the cold or warm season. But you also don't want to pay for more preventative maintenance than you actually need.
When to Schedule Twice a Year HVAC Systems Preventative Maintenance
These are the three main reasons we typically recommend scheduling separate preventative maintenance and safety inspections for your home air conditioning and furnace.
1. Your HVAC system is still under warranty.
If your HVAC system components (air conditioner, furnace) are still under manufacturer warranty, failing to schedule routine preventative maintenance for each component may result in voiding the warranty.
Be sure to read your HVAC warranty to find out if this applies to you.
2. You have an older HVAC system.
Energy Star states that the typical home air conditioning system will last about 10 years and the typical furnace or boiler will last 15 years.
If your AC unit is five years or older and your furnace or boiler is 7 years or older, scheduling more frequent preventative maintenance may prevent a much more expensive repair or outage and actually save you money.
3. You use your air conditioner or furnace/boiler a lot.
Any HVAC system that experiences heavy use, whether seasonally or year-round, is going to endure more wear and tear.
For example, if you use your furnace or heating boiler heavily during the winter, this component may benefit from more frequent preventative maintenance to avoid expensive repairs or a sudden outage.
When to Schedule Once a Year HVAC Preventative Maintenance
These are the two reasons we sometimes recommend a single annual preventative HVAC maintenance and safety inspection service call.
1. Your HVAC system is still in overall good condition.
A newer HVAC system that is running well, experiencing moderate annual use and delivering good energy efficiency may only need a once-annual maintenance checkup.
Older systems that have been flawlessly maintained and experience moderate seasonal use may also do just fine with annual maintenance.
2. You are willing to rotate your annual maintenance service annually.
Let's say your home maintenance budget is best served by scheduling a single annual HVAC preventative maintenance service.
But you still want to be sure you are catching any repair issues while they are still minor.
Here, what we recommend is to schedule a late summer maintenance appointment for both your AC and furnace one year, and then the next year schedule a late spring maintenance appointment.
This way, each component will be checked before and after their highest-use period at least once per year.
Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric Is Your Muskoka, Gravenhurst HVAC Systems Expert
Looking for local HVAC contractors in Gravenhurst, Ontario? Our experienced, professional and prompt service technicians are expertly trained to install, maintain, inspect, repair and replace all makes and models of HVAC equipment, including Central Air, A Ductless Air Conditioner system, gas furnaces, boilers, geothermal HVAC and more.
NOTE: Save even more when you opt into our popular Comfort Maintenance Plan!
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