As cool fall weather brings welcome relief to North Texans still shaking off the effects of the heat wave of 2006, a heating and air conditioning expert advises homeowners that now is the time to have their HVAC systems inspected for excessive wear and damage caused by constant summer use.
Homeowners should think of their central air conditioning and heating as a single system, not separate ones, says Bill Stevens, president of Berkey’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. “There are many common parts used for both heating and cooling,” Stevens said. “Foremost is the blower, which runs year around. The summer heat is behind us and winter hasn’t arrived yet, which makes this the best time to safety check your heating system and fine tune it for optimum performance.”
Stevens says this also is a good time to consider the overall air quality in the home, including temperature, air filtration and humidity. Temperature and filtration are part of all central systems, but not all homes have adequate humidity controls. Air conditioners remove humidity to help cool the house in summer, but humidity is needed and desirable for heating homes in winter.
“When your heater runs in cool weather the humidity in your home can go as low as two percent, which makes Death Valley seem topical,” Stevens said. “Humidifiers can reduce the cost of heating a home in fall and winter and make you more comfortable because the humidity holds in the heat. Also you won’t be always waking up with a dry throat or hands.”
Comfort is one reason to maintain HVAC systems properly; safety is another. Loose electrical connections can cause serious problems; carbon monoxide leaks can cause illness or even be fatal. Heating and air conditioning experts advise annual fall and spring inspections of home HVAC systems to facilitate good air quality and keep all components operating safely and efficiently. Fall inspections should include these actions:
- Adjust blower
- Monitor furnace cycle
- Check and test safety controls
- Adjust gas pressure
- Clean heat exchangers and burners
- Check for cracked heat exchanger
- Monitor flue draft for safe operation
- Adjust heat anticipator settings
- Check and adjust pilot operation
- Adjust air flow for proper temperature use
- Lubricate moving parts
- Check and tighten all electrical connections
- Monitor voltage and amperage draw on all motors
- Clean and adjust thermostat
Most HVAC companies offer seasonal inspection and tune up packages that not only ensure safe, efficient operation, but also provide discounted prices on parts and labor when repairs are required.