2 Key Factors that Affect HVAC Efficiency & Be Sure Maintenance Includes Them

Published on: July 31, 2012

HVAC efficiency is on the minds of many homeowners these days. Because most of the fuel costs for the home are associated with the air conditioning system, people are looking into ways to ensure that their heating and air conditioning systems are energy efficient. One way to ensure that your heating and air conditioning system are energy efficient is to have the system regularly maintained by an HVAC service company. Regular system maintenance is important not only for energy efficiency, but it is important to keep your system performing well.


Regular heating and air conditioning maintenance should be performed at least twice per year. Have your furnace or heat pump checked prior to the winter to make sure that all components are functioning well and no major repairs are looming. Have your air conditioning system checked in the spring, just before the cooling season begins, to ensure that your air conditioner is able to withstand the hot summer season. During regular maintenance, the HVAC technician will not only check the major components to ensure that all parts are in working order, but the technician will also replace refrigerant and lubricate moving parts, if needed. The technician will make sure that the air flow to and from your system is sufficient and the technician may also inspect system parts, such as the drip pans and blower fans.


Regular system maintenance is important to make sure that the system is ready for the heating or cooling season. However, regular system maintenance is also important to make sure the system is as energy efficient as possible. Two key factors that affect the energy efficiency of a heating and air conditioning system should always be included in a maintenance tune-up or inspection. These two key factors are:


1.) During an HVAC maintenance visit, the heating and air conditioning technician will inspect components of the system. The technician will examine the switches, the duct system, the vents, along with all components of the heating and air conditioning system. All components of the system should be inspected to ensure that the system will continue to perform well during the heating or cooling season. The technician will examine the drain pan, vents and ducts for leaks or contaminants, such as mold.


If the technician discovers problems with the ventilation system, such as leaks in the ductwork or broken seals around vents, he or she will recommend that these issues be immediately repaired. Leaks, cracks and broken seals will greatly reduce the energy efficiency of the unit. The less energy efficiency the unit, the more money you will pay in fuel costs to run the unit. In addition, if mold or mildew is found around the vents or in the ductwork, not only will the system be less energy efficient, the air quality of the home will be reduced, as well.


The heating and air conditioning professional will also check the individual components of the unit. These components include the air handler, system fans, the blower, the AC’s condenser and compressor, and the evaporator unit. By inspecting these system parts, the technician will note any damage to the components and will recommend a course of action to ensure that your system does not fail during the months of high demand.


If your unit is an older model, the technician will also apply lubricant to moving parts. Newer systems generally do not require this step. However, both older and newer systems may need the refrigerant recharged. If so, the technician will also perform this maintenance task. The switches in the system will also be checked to ensure that all are in proper working order. Maintenance check-ups are critical to ensure that your heating and air conditioning system continues to perform well during times of heavy usage.


2.) During a maintenance visit, the technician will also test the air flow into and out of the unit, and he or she will perform tests, such as “wet bulb” and “dry bulb” evaluations. Air flow is essential to the energy efficiency of the unit. If air is not properly flowing into the system, the system will not efficiently heat or cool the air being circulated throughout the home. The technician will also make sure that the system, as well as the vents, are not blocked. Blocked intake vents will reduce the efficiency of the unit.


HVAC technicians use the “wet bulb” and “dry bulb” evaluations to estimate the cooling and heating efficiency of the unit. These readings will indicate that the heating and cooling system is adequately conditioning the air. Technicians will likely perform additional tasks to make sure your system performs well and that no major repairs will be required in the near future. However, regular maintenance will also ensure that the indoor air quality is not adversely affected by the heating and air conditioning system.