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Annual HVAC Maintenance: An Easy Way to Ensure Long System Life

Your A/C or furnace might be running, but it may not be performing well. The HVAC system is like any other complex equipment that you use and rely upon, such as your car or truck. The vehicle may run without tune-ups and oil changes, but it won’t be reliable or safe. In addition, you’ll be spending time and money filling up the gas tank a whole lot more often than if you had gotten those tune-ups. You’ll eventually cause internal damage to your car if you neglect it for too long. You need annual HVAC system maintenance for the same reasons.

Your home heating and cooling system is a big investment, so you naturally want to make use of it as long as possible. Many people overlook one simple yet important factor for extending the life of your home comfort system: maintaintenance. You can put off replacing it for many years by keeping your home comfort system healthy with annual HVAC system maintenance. HVAC maintenance is especially important in our climate here in the Chicago area, since most of us rely on our home comfort systems year round.

Ignoring Annual HVAC System Maintenance Can Compromise Your Comfort – and Your Budget

Until something goes wrong – like when the A/C doesn't cool or the heater doesn’t heat – the home comfort system is out of sight and out of mind for most home owners. Lack of maintenance can result in the ultimate inconvenience (and cost), though, when your heating and cooling system suddenly stops working. 

In peak season, like midsummer or the depths of winter, it can take extra time and way too much money to get a system breakdown repaired (and even more to have it replaced if necessary.) To make matters worse, the temperature extremes in the Chicago area can actually be dangerous for seniors, children, and pets. In order to prevent a system breakdown and keep them safe, you need annual HVAC system maintenance.

It's Easy to Keep Your HVAC System in Top Shape

All in all, it pays to keep your HVAC system in good shape – and it’s not even difficult. Learn about system maintenance and spend your money on travel, or something you really enjoy, instead of on a new heating and cooling system. Keeping your furnace and air conditioner in top shape will pay you dividends for years to come, with fewer repairs and lower energy bills. Semi-annual HVAC system maintenance also ensures optimized system performance to keep your home comfortable.

Let’s Not Forget Safety

Besides the expense and inconvenience of a malfunctioning A/C and furnace, HVAC maintenance is important for your home and family’s safety. Neglected home comfort systems can be dangerous.

  • Natural gas fueled heating systems can leak without any noticeable signs. Unburned natural gas has an odor, but you may not smell the gas in a remote part of the house. Moreover, you may not notice a gas leak if you are sleeping or when you are not at home. Accumulated natural gas can be easily ignited, resulting in an explosion or fire.
  • CO (carbon monoxide) is a flammable, odorless and colorless gas that can kill when inhaled in an enclosed space. CO can be given off by incomplete combustion from malfunctioning gas appliances. Any combustion home appliance, along with your furnace, can give off CO if not properly vented to the outdoors.
  • Electrical heating and air conditioning systems can develop wiring problems or short circuits that can cause a fire. NOTE: It’s crucial to have regularly tested, properly installed smoke detectors and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms in your home to alert you to these types of emergencies.

Ensure Your Home Comfort with Basic DIY HVAC Maintenance

The most crucial and easiest maintenance activity that you should take care of on a regular basis is replacing the HVAC air filter. The air filter protects your HVAC equipment from accumulating dust inside its working parts. The filter also improves your home's Indoor Air Quality. Change the filter monthly in peak season or whenever it appears dirty. Your HVAC technician can show you how to do this on the next professional maintenance visit. Have your professional tune-up done semi-annually.

The filter change takes only a minute or two of your time. If you want to devote a little more time to maintaining your system, you can hose off your outdoor unit and clear foliage and debris from around it.

Annual HVAC System Maintenance Enhances Performance, Comfort and Safety

Professional heating and cooling system maintenance is extremely convenient and cost effective. HVAC maintenance is ideally scheduled in the spring and fall before the seasons of heavy use begin. Here in Chicagoland, most residents make use of both systems, to improve home comfort year round. Your HVAC contractor will handle the following upkeep and inspection tasks during maintenance visits:

Whole-system Annual HVAC System Maintenance

  • Check thermostat function and settings: This ensures that the system keeps you comfortable when you’re at home and saves energy when you’re away and/or asleep.
  • Inspect and tighten electrical connections.
  • Measure and check motor voltage and current.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Friction leads to shortened system life by making equipment work harder and also decreases efficiency, causing higher energy bills.
  • Verify that controls work properly for safe operation, including startup, running/cycling and shutoff functions as part of your semi annual HVAC system maintenance.  

Heating Maintenance

  • Inspect furnace gas or oil connections.
  • Check gas pressure and burner combustion.
  • Inspect the heat exchanger, which helps keep harmful combustion byproducts out of your home’s air supply.
  • Check for worn parts and replace if necessary.
  • Ask for a duct inspection if your technician doesn’t suggest it to discover any leaks, which account for a huge amount of energy waste in homes across the US.

Cooling Maintenance

  • Clean the cooling coils: Both evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils must be cleaned. Dirty coils can lower your central A/C’s ability to cool and cause it to run longer cycles. Mold grows on evaporator coils, and occasionally on condenser coils, if not regularly cleaned.
  • Inspect your central A/C condensate drain and clear any clog, which can add to home humidity levels.
  • Check refrigerant level and adjust as needed. Refrigerant pressure must be correct (not too high or too low) for optimal system function.
  • Clean blower assembly and adjust as needed for ample airflow and greater comfort.

Armed with this information, you can understand the importance of annual HVAC system maintenance. Perhaps the best part is that your HVAC professional takes care of most of the work! Contact us at so we can help you find a skilled and experienced HVAC contractor here in Chicagoland, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Our expert home comfort contractors are quality focused, professionally certified and adhere to the highest standards for customer service. 


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