Here’s a shocking statistic that you may have realized last year when you opened your first summer utility bill: Running your air conditioner can increase the bill by as much as 50 percent. Fifty percent. That’s a lot, especially when you consider that in many cases, this devastating increase could have been avoided. Every spring you see HVAC contractors outside people’s homes in your neighborhood for their annual maintenance check, and every year you think, “What a waste of money.” It’s not. Here’s why.
Avoids the Recipe for Disaster
Running your unit each summer without maintenance is a recipe for disaster. As with any piece of machinery, working parts wear down, and they do so prematurely if they aren’t cleaned and oiled per the manufacturer’s instructions. During the off-season, dirt, dust, grime, and even mold and mildew build up inside your air conditioning unit and its drains, and all of this must be cleaned out and your unit “lubed and oiled,” if you will, to ensure it operates efficiently during the summer’s first heat wave.
Taking everything apart, cleaning, and checking it helps the technician isolate any current or potential problem. The technician will test all parts to make certain they operate as they should. If something is wrong, the technician can repair air conditioner equipment before the mercury rises. Imagine the first hot day of summer. You and the kids are miserable. You walk over to the thermostat, switch the setting to cool, and turn it on. Nothing happens. Annual spring maintenance helps you avoid this disaster and whiny children.
Grime Doesn’t Just Build Up in the Unit
Dirt, dust, grime, mold, and mildew don’t just build up inside the unit during the fall, winter, and spring. They also build up in your air ducts and vents, even if you do have central heating and air and you run your heater during the cooler months. During a spring maintenance visit, the technician will check your entire HVAC system, and that includes the ventilation, which is the “V” in HVAC. He will clean your air ducts, your vents, and change all air filters. This keeps the indoor air fresh all summer long while the AC is keeping it cool.
This is particularly important if you or someone in your home suffers from respiratory issues. Indoor ventilation, when not maintained properly, can actually make people sick. In workplaces, this is called “sick building syndrome.” When the circulating air inside a building is contaminated, it can spread illness and cause allergies, asthma, and other respiratory discomforts. It can also bring on headaches and make people irritable and tired. If mold or mildew resides in your air ducts, the illness could be more severe, especially for those immune-compromised.
Lowers Your Utility Bills
Another benefit of your AC’s annual maintenance visit is it makes certain that everything is in tip-top working order. This saves you money on your summer energy bills. If any part of your air conditioner does not run efficiently, the unit will have to work harder to keep your home cool. If you have leaks in your air ducts, the unit will have to work harder. If your vents and air filters are clogged, your unit will have to work harder. You want everything to run as efficiently as possible.
When the air conditioner motor and blower turn on, they should easily begin to cool and circulate air, but they only way they can do so is through clear air ducts, air filters, and vents. If anything stops the ease of airflow, the unit will have to run longer and use more energy to cool the indoor temperature to its set level. Should the unit work too hard, it may overheat and breakdown. Annual maintenance ensures everything is working a top efficiency, which will reduce your AC costs in the summer.