One of the most common HVAC issues that will cause a system to fail, or work less efficiently, is a dirty air filter. The reason that dirty filters cause such issues for HVAC systems is simple – imagine trying to force air through thick, caked on layers of dust versus a clean filter. The build-up of dust, pet dander, smoke and other particulates will make the filter less permeable, causing the HVAC system to have to work harder to force air through it.
Changing the air filter on your HVAC system regularly is a fairly inexpensive way of keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. But deviating from that schedule will often to lead very costly repairs that could have been easily prevented with the proper maintenance.
When do I change my filter?
Your HVAC air filter should be changed on a fairly regular schedule, depending on your situation. Here’s a basic outline of the correct frequency to change the HVAC filter in your home:
Every 6-12 months: Single occupant, no pets or allergies
Every 90 days: “Average” sized suburban home (2-4 adults, 2-5 children)
Every 60 days: “Average” home with one pet (cat or dog)
Every 20-45 days: Average home with more than one pet or residents with allergies
HVAC filters, like the units they live in, come in a variety of sizes. The most important – and first – step is identifying the correct dimensions of your air filter.
Once you determine the correct size, it’s important to understand MERV ratings. MERV is an acronym that stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value”, and is the standard rating system used by HVAC professionals. MERV ratings range from 1 – 20, but for a residential system, you should only be concerned with 1 – 16.
In a nutshell, the MERV rating is based on the amount and kind of particulates that a filter can filter out, so being aware of the kind of particulates in your home is an important part of choosing the right filter for your home. The more particulates and allergens that are in your home, the higher the MERV rating on your filter should be.
Sometimes it isn’t the HVAC unit causing issues at all. If your A/C doesn’t work when you turn it on at the start of the warm season, go check your circuit breaker. If the issue is in fact a tripped circuit, simply switch the circuit back on, and you’re good to go! If the issue persists, it might be time to call an electrician.
Air conditioning units have coils that do need routine cleaning and maintenance. Most units have an indoor evaporator coil and a condenser coil outside. The outside coil can easily become dirty being exposed to the elements. Little things like grass clippings, twigs and leaves can weasel their way into your outside unit, which can also affect the coils.
If you have dirty coils, it’s time to call an HVAC expert. Don’t try to clean the coils yourself. There are very delicate and intricate systems in play, and even the most basic routine cleaning should be left to the HVAC pros.
Ducts can become clogged with debris due to build-up caused by not changing your air filter regularly. Ducts may also become separated, allowing cool air to escape, and causing your HVAC system to run inefficiently. Go ahead and call the HVAC professional to handle these kids of repairs.
Malfunctioning Thermostat: Most newer thermostats, or smart thermostats, typically don’t have seasonal issues. But if you’re still using an old and outdated thermostat, this could be causing your A/C unit to not run efficiently.
Before calling an HVAC professional to replace your thermostat, double check to make sure it is in the proper mode: either heating or cooling. If you still have your thermostat set to “Heat” from last winter, go ahead and switch it to “Cool”. Problem solved! However, if you are in the correct mode, and your HVAC system is still struggling, it’s definitely time to call an HVAC professional to come replace your old, outdated thermostat, and bring you into modern times.
Keeping Your Cool During the Hot Season
As summer approaches, and temperatures are on the rise, many households will be needing to schedule routine maintenance on their HVAC systems. When the phones heat up at your HVAC business, who is taking those calls?
Whether you’re out on a service call, up in someone’s attic, or driving from one call to the next, you can’t always answer your phone. Stop missing out on valuable calls that will lead to more business – and more money – in your pocket!
With VoiceNation’s 24/7 HVAC live answering service, you’ll never miss a call again. Our friendly live operators will make sure each call you receive is answered and properly handled to maximize your efficiency and help grow your business.
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