The Importance of Heating Preventative Maintenance

Tree LeavesThe upcoming cool weather in Austin provides a wonderful opportunity to save money on your energy bill. This is because we’re soon going to be entering the season, however short it may be, when you’ll be able to turn off your air conditioners and open some windows. You’ll be able to finally be comfortable with the ambient temperature outside instead of constantly having to battle it with 24/7 fan blowing and AC running. But even that won’t last too long.

Eventually, we’ll all have to start turning on our heaters and when we do we want them to work and work well. But many of us haven’t had our heaters on for six, maybe seven or eight months. That’s a lot of idle time. In that time you’d think you’re heater would be just the same as it was when you last turned it on but sadly that’s not often the case. Rust builds, debris gathers, parts get out of place. There’s a lot that can happen to a heater in eight months and if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it and you want to make sure you’re doing all you can to prevent any kind of repairs from being necessary, you’ll take a look at the case for preventative maintenance on your heating system.

The What and the Why

Your heater isn’t indestructible. But it also is pretty hardy. If it’s a good product from a good brand then it’s unlikely that it will have some sort of catastrophic malfunction all at once in the middle of the winter, at least, not out of nowhere. No, problems that can develop with a heater happen much more slowly. They start out as slight misalignments or a small buildup of dust and debris and they snowball from there. What you want to do to avoid repairs is take care of the little tasks that can be done to keep your heater clean and smooth sailing year-round, and the best part is these tasks only really need to be done once or twice a year. This is what preventative maintenance is. It’s taking care of problems while they’re small, or before they even exist, so you save a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.

Heaters go through a lot of use. Just by their nature, they get damaged and faulty over time. Not only that, they become less efficient over time. They lose their heating power and their ability to use the least amount energy. What this means for is that, over time, you’ll being paying more monthly in energy bills as your heating unit gets less and less efficient and you’ll eventually have to shell out for potentially costly repairs as your heater gets worn past the breaking point in one of its many parts.

But there is another way. Instead of going through all that, you can get preventative maintenance. This will keep your heater in tip-top shape year-round, so you get the most out of it, the most efficiency, the most comfort, the most peace of mind. So, what exactly does it mean to get preventative maintenance? Well, the first step is to make a plan.

Reasons to Invest in Preventative Maintenance

In a lot of ways, your heater can be compared to a car. They’re hard-working, complicated machines that we consider essential parts of our life and that we use all year round. They also both can end up costing us a lot of money if they’re not taken care of. You wouldn’t neglect to give your car regular oil changes and belt replacements and tire rotations and then be surprised when your car eventually broke down. It’s the exact same thing with heating. So, you’re convinced, preventative maintenance for your heating unit is a good idea. Where do you start?

A preventative maintenance plan is a list of things that need to be done regularly in order to keep your heater in top shape. It will include a catalog of the parts of your air conditioning system, what maintenance routines they need and how often. The thing about preventative maintenance plans is, they’re not going to be the same for everyone. The two main factors that will determine what kind of preventative maintenance plan you need are the recommended maintenance tasks for each of the pieces of equipment in your specific model of the heater and the environment in which the heater is working. By environment, I mean things like how hot the area is, how cool you keep your home in relation to the outdoor temperature, and how big your house is.

There are two resources you have at your disposal in order to craft a preventative maintenance plan that will work for you. The first is the operational manual of your heating and cooling unit. This manual that came with your heater will contain within it all the recommended maintenance tasks for each piece of equipment, and how often they should be performed. So really, you don’t have to draft up a preventative maintenance plan out of thin air, not at all. It’s all right there in manual. Now, you may be thinking, great, but I have no idea where that operational manual might be. Maybe your heater is a little older and you weren’t the one who originally purchased it. Maybe you inherited it with the house. In that case, the best thing to do is get a replacement manual. To get a replacement, find the model and serial number on your HVAC unit. Then, either call up the manufacturer with that information handy or search online. They should be happy to provide you with the necessary information.

DIY Heater Maintenance

Not everything that will be involved in your preventative maintenance plan is something you need a professional for. That’s not to say that you should try to do the whole thing DIY style. Austin heater repair companies exist for a reason. A lot of these procedures require skill and knowledge not widely available and making mistakes can be costly. Still, there are some things that need to be done regularly in order to keep a healthy air conditioner that you can do yourself with no issues.

Checking the thermostat setting is one of those things. One thing you can do right now, and on a regular basis, is just peer at the settings of your thermostat. Once we get to the point in Austin that you start needing your central heating on a regular basis, make sure the temperature is set at as low a temperature as you can comfortably live in while you’re home. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can take it a step further and also make sure that when you’re away from home, at work, your heating isn’t running at full blast, or perhaps is off completely if it’s not cold enough to warrant its usage day round. This will ensure you’re putting the least amount of pressure on your system and saving the most in electricity costs.

Another basic task that everyone should be doing when it comes to preventative maintenance on your HVAC system is regularly changing your air filters. Most air filters should be changed every two months or so but it depends on a number of factors such as the kind of filters you use. A dirty air filter will cause problems for your heating unit in the long run in addition to causing it to run less efficiently. A trusted heating repair service company can show you how to check and change your air filters, or you can check out our previous tip on the subject!

As far as do-it-yourself maintenance tasks you can get started on right now is replace the humidifier filter and turn on the water to your furnace if your heating system requires it.

Professional Heating Preventative Maintenance

Depending on what kind of heating system you have, its model, how old it is, what manufacturer it comes from, your preventative maintenance plan is going to vary from others. So listing an exhaustive collection of all the things that should be done to keep your air conditioner in its best shape is impossible. But there are a number of things that pretty much everyone’s heaters need done regularly. This can be thought of as a winter preventative maintenance checklist.

By checklist, I mean a list of things which should be included in just about everyone’s preventative maintenance plan. These are things which should be before every winter routinely and which will undoubtedly extend the life and health of your heater if performed regularly.

Energy Star provides, on their website, a preventative maintenance checklist of their own. This is a good place to start, a sort of introductory guide into the kinds of things that you should expect when you get preventative maintenance done. The checklist includes parts lubrication, which means, for moving parts in your heating unit that require lubrication, a lack of lubrication will cause friction that will cause the machine to use more electricity. There will also be a checking of the gas connections. Improperly operating gas or oil connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

It also includes checking electrical connections. This involves measuring voltages and currents on the motors in the system. It will include cleaning the burners. And also checking and adjusting the gas pressure. If gas pressure is too high or too low your unit could have a higher risk of malfunction than a properly maintained unit and when the safety of your home and family is at risk, you can never be too careful.

This is a shortlist of some of the things to expect in a routine maintenance checkup. It’s the simple things like the stuff on this list that can save you from grand repair costs and electricity bills in the future.

Winter Preventative Maintenance and Austin Heating Repair

Heater repair in Austin can get costly. Our heaters work hard to keep out the cold in the depths of fall and winter in Austin, and in doing so, they take a toll. This can often end in malfunctions that can cost you thousands in repair or replacement costs. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a solid preventative maintenance plan you can keep your heater running smoothly and effectively year-round. You’ll cut off issues before they become issues.

If you want to take advantage of a preventative maintenance plan all you need to do is contact a well-regarded Austin heater repair company such as AC Express. At AC Express, we can get you great deals on regular maintenance visits. These involve one of our experienced technicians coming by and performing all the routine maintenance tasks that your specific heating model needs in order to perform at its best. We’ve been performing routine preventative maintenance for people in the Austin area, from way up in Round Rock and Pflugerville, to way down in Manor and Buda, for many years, with many satisfied and regular customers. To get top-quality same-day heater repair or preventative maintenance, call us today!