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Central HVAC systems use ductwork and mechanical blowers to deliver heating and cooling across a home’s primary living areas. Refrigerant-based systems, such as heat pumps and air conditioners, use pressurized gas that raises or lowers the temperature by absorbing heat. Their principal components include the evaporator coil, compressor, condenser coil, and blower. Furnaces generate heat by burning fuel, such as oil, propane, or natural gas. Energy from the burners is captured by a heat exchanger, and a flue exhausts combustion byproducts outdoors. Nowadays, homeowners can choose between dual-fuel systems, ductless heat pumps, and variable-speed models that provide enhanced comfort and efficiency.
Central heating and cooling systems should be serviced annually in the spring and fall. Air conditioners should be inspected every spring; furnaces should be tuned up in the fall, and heat pumps need to be serviced twice per year. Scheduling maintenance early in the season can help homeowners prevent breakdowns and avoid the rush.
Preventive maintenance for HVAC equipment is just as important as an oil change for a car. Regular service visits increase the system’s efficiency, prevent unnecessary wear and tear, and detect problems before they worsen. For optimal results, technicians inspect all electrical and mechanical components. This type of maintenance extends the system’s lifespan, prevents safety hazards, and helps homeowners enjoy long- and short-term savings.
HVAC maintenance helps landlords retain quality tenants and control their ownership costs. For best results, centralized and decentralized heating and cooling systems should be serviced in the spring and fall. Technicians can lubricate moving parts, measure refrigerant levels, clean the coils, and check the belts and bearings. Landlords should also consider supplying new air filters to tenants to prevent unnecessary wear and tear, and unit breakdowns related to restricted airflow.
Heating and cooling systems contain hundreds of parts, which means that almost anything can go wrong. Some warning signs are obvious. For example, if the air conditioner is blowing hot air or if the furnace won’t shut off, it’s time to call a professional. Other malfunctions can cause subtle decreases in comfort and efficiency. Regardless of the problem, responding quickly is generally the best way to avoid more significant repairs and expenses. Homeowners can protect themselves by recognizing the following warning signs:
Yes, many home warranty companies pay for HVAC repairs. This type of coverage may be standard or included as an optional add-on. In most cases, homeowners are responsible for an initial service fee. If the unit cannot be repaired, the company may pay for a replacement.
While most homeowners only recoup 35% to 50% of their installation costs, a new HVAC system can be a major selling point that attracts potential buyers and results in a faster sale. The benefits depend on the local climate, the type of market, and the condition of the existing system. Aging or poorly maintained equipment may encourage buyers to submit lower offers, especially if problems are revealed during an inspection.
HVAC service contracts are agreements made between a customer and HVAC service provider at the time of HVAC installation for repairs that cover regular tune-ups and maintenance. Some of the benefits of an HVAC service contract include:
Some homeowners don't see the value in service agreements because they're essentially insurance policies—the cost of additional repairs and service isn't always higher than the annual fees.
An HVAC services technician can handle anything related to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, related electrical needs, and often, refrigeration. Their most common responsibilities include: