Homes in the United States use a variety of techniques for heating and cooling, but a combination of split unit air conditioning and forced air heating is the most common. These systems are popular for their efficiency and because the shared use of duct-work can be highly cost-effective. While most modern furnaces and AC units are reliable, they still require service from time to time.
Understanding how often you should conduct routine repairs can save you money by ensuring that your system lasts for as long as possible. Likewise, recognizing the signs of a system that is becoming a bit long in the tooth can save you from pumping money into equipment that you should replace instead.
Your HVAC system should be checked, cleaned, and serviced about once per year. Many HVAC contractors offer combined service visits so that your air conditioning and heating equipment can be serviced at the same time. Depending on the particular HVAC professional that you work with, this service may be referred to as a tune-up, annual cleaning, check-up, or routine maintenance visit. Whatever they may be called, these yearly service visits are a critical part of keeping your heating and cooling systems functioning correctly.
In general, you shouldn't need to have a maintenance check performed on your HVAC system more than once per year. Many homeowners may opt to have their AC serviced in the spring and their furnace serviced in the winter, but there is nothing wrong with combining both checks into a single visit. Some HVAC contractors will also offer yearly maintenance contracts, in which case you may need to select from certain scheduling options. These contracts are often an excellent way to save some money and ensure that you don't miss an inspection.
Fixing Problems vs. Cutting Your Losses
Although routine inspections can keep your system lasting for as long as possible, all HVAC equipment will fail eventually. Some parts of your system, such as your duct-work, are likely to last for the lifetime of your home. Other components, such as your furnace or your AC's condenser unit, will need to be replaced every ten or fifteen years. As these components age, breakdowns will become more frequent and repairs costlier. For this reason, it is crucial to know the age of the components in your system so that you can make informed choices about repairing vs. replacement.
A good rule of thumb is that major HVAC components require replacement if they are over fifteen years old or if you find that you are conducting significant repairs more than once per year. If your system is out of warranty and parts are breaking down often, then it may be advisable to speak with a contractor about replacement costs. If you expect to spend more on repairs over the next several years than the cost of replacement, then it's time to cut your losses and install a new system.
If you are in need of any residential hvac services, reach out to a local company for your needs.