HVAC systems are used throughout the year. An air conditioner can be expected to last around 12 to 15 years. A furnace usually lasts around 20 years. If you’re in a home long enough, you’ll need to eventually replace the furnace and air conditioner.
Replacing a furnace or air conditioner isn’t inexpensive, so it pays to help them last as long as possible. You can follow these tips, which will help you get as many years out of your HVAC system as possible.
Schedule Maintenance Twice a Year
Your furnace and air conditioner need to be maintained once a year to have the longest lives possible. Having this done by a skilled technician is the single best thing you can do for your HVAC system. You should have your air conditioner inspected, cleaned and tuned up in the spring. Your furnace should get the same service in the early fall.
Technicians will thoroughly inspect your system and lubricate all of its moving parts. They clean the HVAC system, including the condenser and blower. They will check your furnace’s heat exchanger to make sure it isn’t cracked. They will check the refrigerant level in your air conditioner, as well.
HB McClure is an HVAC company that performs regular maintenance for customers in and around Harrisburg, PA. We offer HVAC maintenance agreements so that you don’t need to remember to schedule two visits every year.
Change Filters Regularly
When your furnace and air conditioner are serviced annually, the technician will replace or clean the filter. However, this needs to be done much more often than just once a year. A dirty air filter makes your HVAC system work much harder than it needs to, reducing its lifespan.
Some filters are disposable. Typically, they are either made to last one or three months. Some HVAC systems have filters that are cleaned and reused. You might need to change or clean the filter as often as every month if you have pets.
Get a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
You can use these two types of thermostats to turn your furnace or air conditioner down when you’re away at work or asleep. They then go to your desired temperature when you wake up or arrive home. Your HVAC system won’t run as often and therefore will have a longer lifespan.
Programmable thermostats were once difficult to program. Nowadays, many feature touchscreens that make it much easier to set a schedule. You can have a schedule for weekdays and a different one for weekends. Some will even remind you to change the filter.
Smart thermostats are very easy to use. They sense when your family is awake, asleep or gone for the day and automatically change your home’s temperature. You can also change settings manually by using a mobile app.
Inspect Your Ductwork
About 30% of heated or cooled air leaks out of the average duct. This means that the air ends up in your crawlspace or attic instead of the living area of your home. This makes your air conditioner and furnace work much harder, shortening how long they last.
You should inspect your ductwork once a year. You can open a register and look into it using a flashlight. If you see dust, pest droppings, cobwebs and other debris, your ductwork needs to be cleaned. Many HVAC companies clean ducts.
You should also inspect the outside of your ductwork once a year. You should look for holes, gaps and other problems. Fixing these problems will save you money and help your HVAC system last longer.
Most homes don’t have enough insulation in the attic. Insulation keeps conditioned air in your home instead of it leaving out through the roof. Having enough insulation extends the life of your HVAC system because it doesn’t have to work as hard.
Once your home has enough insulation, check it once a year for issues. Make sure that there aren’t gaps, mold or other problems. Keeping these problems at bay will help your HVAC system work less.
Clean Outdoor Units
Air conditioner units are located outside. This means that they collect dirt, leaves, dust, cobwebs and other things. Yours will be cleaned by a technician during their annual visit. However, AC units need to be cleaned more often than that to last as long as possible.
You should brush everything off the air conditioner. All plants and trees should be at least a foot away from it. This will ensure ample airflow, and the AC unit won’t have to work as hard to cool your home.
Your air conditioner has a drainage tube that serves as an outlet for water. Once a year, you should make sure that nothing is blocking it. If it is blocked, this can result in your air conditioner needing an expensive fix or even breaking down to the point that it needs replacing.
Good air circulation in your home helps reduce the workload on your HVAC system. You should keep interior doors open in your home to promote proper airflow. This includes rooms that don’t get much use.
Vents and registers should be free and clear of anything over them. This includes rugs, drapes and furniture. Ensuring that vents are open and unblocked will make your HVAC system’s job easier.
You should give your furnace and air conditioner some time off. If you’re going to be gone for a vacation, you should turn your HVAC system down as low as possible. If the weather is mild during the summer, try using floor and ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner.
During the summer, use drapes in the daytime so that the sun can’t directly shine into your home. You can open windows during the evening so that a cool breeze can naturally cool your interior spaces.
In the winter, open drapes so that the sun can heat your home. You can also turn down the temperature and instead use a sweater or blanket to stay warm. The less often your furnace is running, the longer it will last.
Use the “Auto” Fan Setting
Your thermostat likely has two fan settings, with one of them being “Auto.” The fan will only operate when your HVAC system is actively heating or cooling your home. Using this setting will extend the life of your HVAC system’s blower.
The other setting is “On.” The HVAC system’s blower will operate continuously. There are some reasons to use this setting. It helps improve your home’s indoor air quality, for instance. However, your HVAC system will have to work harder, and the filter will get dirty more quickly.
Harrisburg HVAC Specialists
HB McClure is an employee-owned company. We perform heating and air conditioning installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance. We also perform plumbing and electrical services and work on propane, ductless mini-split, and geothermal systems. We offer 24-hour emergency services, too.
In addition, we offer a host of other services, including duct cleaning, indoor air filtration, humidity control, and water conditioning. We provide well tanks, pump services, and backup generators, as well. Need bathroom remodeling? We do that too. Please call us today to request an appointment.