HVAC services are essential to the proper functioning of any home. Over 78,000 air conditioning related business operate in the U.S. and his highly fragmented, giving homeowners thousands of companies to choose from. Given that 56% of the energy costs in a typical American home are dedicated to heating and cooling, it is essential that homeowners choose a quality HVAC contractor and maintain their equipment frequently. Still, many homeowners aren’t sure what HVAC even is, much less how to properly maintain the systems incorporated into their homes. Here, we’ll give an overview of HVAC, along with an HVAC installation checklist and an HVAC maintenance checklist.
What is HVAC, Anyway?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and it refers to the technology of indoor environmental comfort. HVAC specialists focus on heating systems, air quality systems, air conditioning, and sometimes even electric generators. They types of systems included are varied, including furnaces and boilers, central air, and room specific A/C units, though only 22.7% of homes in the U.S. utilize room specific air conditioning. Most opt for central air conditioning which circulates the air in an entire building, providing clean, allergy free air.
HVAC Installation Checklist
Especially for non experts, evaluating the capabilities of different HVAC companies can be incredibly difficult. Make sure the contractor does all of the following things:
- Reviews the load calculation for your home with you
- Reviews the condition of your duct system or furnace/boiler venting system
- Ensures that the unit is electrically safe
- Tests the thermostat
- Provides a copy of an HVAC installation checklist with a record of all measurements
- Tests the firing rate and venting system of a new furnace or boiler, or
- Measures and documents the airflow and refrigerant charge of A/C or heat pumps
It is also important to consider the following variables: references, technician skill level, availability of Energy Star equipment, maintenance programs, professionalism, and the possession of proper permits.
HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Maintaining your HVAC equipment is integral to the prevention of future problems and costs. Annual check ups from a contractor are recommended before the beginning of the major heating and cooling seasons. A typical check up should include:
- Check thermostat settings
- Tighten all electrical connections
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Check and inspect the condensate drain
- Check controls of the system
- For cooling systems:
- Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils
- Check central conditioner’s refrigerant level
- Clean and adjust blower components
- For heating systems, check:
- Gas or oil connections
- Gas pressure
- Burner combustion
- Heat exchanger
Neglecting the maintenance of HVAC equipment can not only create further problems and costs, but create dangerous environments in the home. Be sure to have your equipment checked before it is put int regular, intense use.