If an HVAC system doesn’t receive regular maintenance via a tune-up, it will likely become less efficient over time. There’s also a possibility that minor problems won’t be identified and fixed early on if the system isn’t inspected. Before the summer and winter seasons, an HVAC tune-up is highly recommended to reduce the risk of the system breaking down when you most need it. During an HVAC tune-up, there’s an extensive list of components that are checked.
Why Your HVAC System Requires a Tune-up
HVAC systems are positioned in walls, below floors, and behind ceilings, which makes them easy to forget about. However, not maintaining your system on a regular basis increases the possibility of a malfunction and reduces the system’s lifespan.
Even if your HVAC unit comes with a high efficiency rating, this efficiency will drop if it isn’t maintained. By scheduling a regular HVAC tune-up, you can reduce your monthly heating and cooling costs, avoid expensive repairs, and extend the system’s longevity.
HVAC Tune-up Checklist
When you schedule tune-up services from an HVAC technician, they will perform a comprehensive cleaning and visual inspection. If there are significant problems in the unit, you’ll be notified before any repair work begins. The type of work that an HVAC technician does during a tune-up depends on the component that’s being inspected.
Refrigerant Lines and Insulation are Checked
During an HVAC tune-up, the refrigerant lines in your HVAC system will be inspected for signs of wear and tear. Damage to this component is common because of how easy it is for debris to impact it. When mowing, a rock can ricochet off the mower blade and hit the refrigerator line, which leads to a leak. If a high amount of refrigerant leaks out of the system, the unit won’t blow out cool air.
The refrigerant line insulation will also be looked at. If the line isn’t properly insulated, it can condense, which will result in water dripping. If this issue takes place in the indoor unit, mold may develop.
Indoor and Outdoor Coils are Inspected
An essential aspect of a tune-up involves inspecting the indoor coil and outdoor coil to make sure that they are free of debris and dirt. In the indoor unit, dust and dirt being present on the coil will make the system less efficient. This problem most commonly occurs when filters aren’t replaced. The outdoor unit is comprised of multiple coils that house a compressor and fan. It’s possible for dirt to accumulate around the outdoor coils.
Filters and Blower Motors are Examined
The HVAC technician will take a look at the filter in your HVAC system to determine if you’re using the right one and if it needs to be changed. If you aren’t using a specialized filter that’s designed to last longer, your filter should be replaced every three months or so.
As for the blower motor, it will be examined to identify if dust and dirt have caused the fan to be less effective. The blower motor is responsible for helping air circulate throughout your home. It begins by suctioning air through the air filter before pushing chilled air into the vents. If a filter is dirty, the blower motor may overheat.
Overflow Safety Switch and Motor Capacitors are Tested
Your indoor unit will consist of an overflow safety switch, which is tasked with turning your system off in the event that the condensation line is clogged or water isn’t draining correctly. If the safety switch is faulty, a leak may occur. The HVAC technician will make sure that the overflow safety switch functions properly during a tune-up.
The motor capacitors in the HVAC unit will also be tested. There are typically three small capacitors in a single HVAC unit. If one of these components fails, the entire system could begin to malfunction.
Disconnect Box and Air Handler are Inspected for Damage
During a tune-up, the air handler will be checked to ensure that it’s sealed. If too much air is leaking, unit efficiency will be lower than it should be. The system will then work harder in order to compensate.
The disconnect box that’s found in an HVAC system is a type of safety shutoff box that immediately cuts off the electricity that’s sent to the unit. During the tune-up, this box will be inspected to make sure that there aren’t any burnt wires as a result of poor contact. Every connection must be tight. If wires are hanging, this issue will need to be fixed. Once the inspection has occurred, the box will be sealed with a silicone substance on the sides and top.
Indoor Thermostat is Calibrated
The thermostat that’s attached to your AC system controls how often your unit turns on and when it turns off. Even if the actual unit is working well, a damaged thermostat would make it impossible for the system to be controlled.
Unlike television sets, air conditioners don’t have a button on the unit that will turn it on, which is why the thermostat needs to be running at all times. The HVAC technician will check the batteries to determine if new ones are needed. All wires in the thermostat will be inspected as well. The final step is for the thermostat to be calibrated.
Fan Blade and Electrical Components are Examined
If rodents or bugs get into the home or the outdoor unit, the electrical compartments in an HVAC unit can be damaged. While these pests can cause damage to practically any component, the issues are typically relegated to the wires.
The fan blade will also be inspected to make sure that the proper balance is maintained. Although rare, it’s possible for the condensing fan motor to suddenly stop, which will lead to the blades that are on top of the motor getting out of balance.
When this occurs, the unit will begin to shake more often than usual, which can result in cracked components. Once components are damaged, unit efficiency will worsen. It’s also possible that the system could become noisier.
HVAC Unit Amperage is Measured
If too much amperage is being drawn by the HVAC system, there may be issues with the motor, compressor, or air flow. Measuring the amps allows you to determine what condition the components are in.
Let’s say that the compressor is at maximum amperage. In this scenario, it’s likely that the compressor is working harder than it should be, which is an indication that something’s wrong with the HVAC unit. This issue could also impact the unit’s motor. The amount of amperage that’s drawn should always be below the values that are displayed on the component’s label.
If you want to make sure that your HVAC system runs properly for years to come, our HVAC technicians at Friar's Heating and Air are capable of providing your unit with a full tune-up that includes every item in this checklist. The HVAC services we provide for San Diego, CA, residents will accommodate all of your maintenance, repair, and installation needs. A selection of solar and indoor air quality services are also available at Friar's Heating and Air. Contact us today to learn about our special offers or request a tune-up.