Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, HVAC replacement

When is the best time of year to replace my HVAC system?

We suggest you not break up with your sweetheart before Valentine’s Day. We also think getting a flat tire the night before a road trip is ill-advised. 

And to anyone going through HVAC system issues in the dead of summer or winter, we obviously do not recommend an HVAC system replacement during those times of year. You’ll not only be in dire need of said HVAC system; but also HVAC companies are at their busiest during these times. 

Of course you can’t always choose when you’ll have to replace your HVAC system. But, if you’re taking the proper maintenance measures, (link to how to avoid emergency HVAC repair article) you’ll know what shape your HVAC system is in, and hopefully avoid an emergency repair or replacement. 

Do I need to replace my HVAC system?

HVAC systems typically need to be replaced between 10 and 20 years old. With regular maintenance you can extend the life of your HVAC system, but it’s also true that older systems are simply less efficient and may be costing you more to run. If your energy bills are high, you are continuing to put money into your system with repairs, or you’re facing an especially expensive repair, these may be signs it’s time to replace your entire system.

What time of year should I replace my HVAC system?

If you’ve reached a juncture where your HVAC system has been needing many repairs recently, or you know it’s old and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, it’s best to plan ahead. An HVAC replacement in early or mid-fall, when temperatures are moderate and you’re less likely to need your HVAC system, is ideal. Additionally, by planning ahead, you won’t be in a desperate situation when working with different companies and getting quotes. 

Schedule a visit with one of our professionals or call for a quote! 

If you give us a call, we can help you get some clarity on your situation by sending one of our professionals at Exxel Mechanical to check out your system. They can advise if you need a full replacement or if there is a simpler repair that can extend the life of your system. If you already know your system needs to be replaced, we’ll be happy to give you a quote or schedule a time– perhaps in the fall or spring– to get that entire system overhaul you need.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

5 Benefits of Having Your HVAC System Serviced Every Year

The heating and air conditioning systems in your home are a critical part of how you stay comfortable and safe throughout the snowy winters and hot summers. Without a properly functioning HVAC system, you could be wasting money, putting yourself in danger of extended HVAC downtime and be unnecessarily uncomfortable in your own home. Exxel Mechanical Services provides homeowners with expert HVAC preventative maintenance and service that comes with many different benefits. What are some of the benefits of having your HVAC system serviced?

1.    Lower Energy Bills

One of the biggest benefits of having your HVAC system serviced is lower energy bills. A steep energy bill or one that suddenly spikes is often a sign that you need to complete repairs or have maintenance performed. When an HVAC system is not running efficiently, it can cost you a great deal over the course of the year. Preventative maintenance helps to catch problems before you might notice them yourself and avoid wasting unnecessary energy at your home.

2.    Fewer Repairs

An HVAC system that is properly maintained will help you to avoid both minor and major repairs. One of the most expensive things that can happen to you is your air conditioner suddenly breaking down during a heat wave or your heater breaking in the middle of a snowstorm. Serious, emergency repairs can cost far more than ongoing preventative maintenance. Investing in having your HVAC system serviced will mean catching many problems before they are allowed to fester and cost you more in the end.

3.    Prolonged Lifespan

HVAC systems are a serious investment, even if you chose a more affordable option. One of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your heating or air conditioning system and ensure that your investment goes as far as possible is by having your HVAC system serviced. A system that is in good repair and cleaned regularly will run as efficiently as it is capable of, which can prevent serious issues that might cause the entire system to malfunction and shut down.

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4.    Safety Matters

Tragically, some homes catch on fire and have serious accidents due to heating systems that are broken or in disrepair every year. Beyond physical damage to the home, furnaces can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in rare cases. One of the most important roles that the trustworthy technicians at Exxel Mechanical Services can provide is serving as a safety inspector to make sure that your unit is safe and not a health hazard. Regardless of what type of HVAC system you have, using a carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector near your unit is a must. You should also rely on regular appointments to have your HVAC system serviced to catch smaller safety issues that could turn into serious hazards.

5.    Preserve Your Warranty Protection

Did you know that some HVAC manufacturers require proof that you did due diligence in maintaining the unit before they will allow repair claims to be submitted in accordance with the warranty? The manufacturer wants to know that you made an honest effort to take preventative care of the unit before they foot the bill for the issue. If you want to make sure that your warranty remains active for as long as possible, you should have your HVAC system serviced. It’s always important to read your warranty and understand the specific terms so that you know what your obligation might be under the warranty.

What Things Does a Tune-Up Include?

Exxel Mechanical Services offers a comprehensive tune-up that can pinpoint issues and ensure that everything is working smoothly. Depending on the type of system that you own, the steps that are taken could vary a great deal. Some of the services that you might receive during a tune-up include:

  • Lubricating the motors, gears and other parts
  • Cleaning the outdoor coils
  • Removing any debris from the exterior of the unit
  • Changing and cleaning filters
  • Inspecting ventilation systems and ductwork for signs of leakage
  • Testing all electrical connections
  • Testing temperature control and airflow throughout the interior of your home
  • Checking refrigerant levels
  • Troubleshooting any refrigerant leaks
  • Inspecting the interior and exterior units
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger
  • Checking all connections on gas and oil lines
  • Testing carbon monoxide levels
  • Inspecting and clean the burner
  • Testing the ignition system
  • Testing the exhaust system
  • Verifying and alter the gas pressure as needed
  • Examining the thermostat to ensure efficacy and recalibrating it to ensure accuracy
  • Evaluating the pilot and gas pressure in your furnace system
  • Completing a written assessment documenting any issues and recommending any necessary repairs
  • Checking the clearance around the exterior and interior equipment
  • Assessing all safety controls
  • Measuring voltage and amperage
  • Examining and clean the flower
  • Examining and clean the condenser and evaporator coils
  • Discussing any concerns that you have noticed and come up with a plan to prevent issues in the future
  • Providing maintenance documentation that you can use if you do need to make a claim against the warranty on your HVAC system
  • Scheduling regular service reminders that will make sure that you never forget when you need to have your HVAC system serviced again

Where Can I Find a Company to Get My HVAC System Serviced?

Exxel Mechanical Services is here to support all of our residential and commercial clients and keep their HVAC systems in excellent condition. We are a leader in helping homeowners who want to keep their HVAC systems in peak condition, improve their energy efficiency and prevent future costly issues. If you are interested in learning more about our maintenance, were are always here to help. We are always available to help assess your system, provide you with a free quote or come out to restore your heat or air conditioning in the event of an emergency. To learn more or get a free quote, call us at 443-821-1040 or email us at bob@exxelmechanical.com. We look forward to keeping your family comfortable.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

7 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System

Even with proper care and maintenance, every HVAC system will eventually need to be replaced. Old or damaged systems can lead to serious problems for homeowners including poor indoor air quality, increased energy bills and decreased reliability during the winter and summer months. If you are not sure whether or not you need to replace your HVAC system, here are some of the signs you need to look for.

1. Your HVAC System Is Over a Decade Old

In general, you should replace your HVAC system every ten to fifteen years. Heating systems and air conditioners are designed to be durable and long-lasting. While minor components should be replaced more frequently, major components wearing down after a decade can lead to costly repairs that make replacing the entire unit a better use of your money. Sometimes replacing one major component now will only temporarily fix the issue and another major component might fail only months down the road.

Are you not sure how old your HVAC system is? Check the indoor and outdoor unit to see if there is a manufacture date printed on the label. This date will tell you when the unit was created, so if the date is 10-12 years in the past, you should plan on potentially replacing it soon.

2. Repairs Exceed 50% of the Cost of a New Unit

For both air conditioning units and heating units, once repairs will cost over half of the price of a new unit, it’s a good idea to replace your HVAC system. It is normal to have small repairs over the lifespan of a heating or cooling unit, but as major pieces start to fail and you find yourself spending a great deal to fix them, you can find yourself spending more on repairs over the course of a couple of years than you would on a new unit. The money that you spend today to temporarily fix things could get your HVAC system working now, but there’s no guarantee that another critical and costly part won’t fail tomorrow.

3. Your Home Can’t Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

Old heating and cooling units often have trouble getting a home to a consistent temperature and keeping it there. This can have a variety of causes, including a broken thermostat component, clogged filters, motor damage or duct damage. Exxel Mechanical Services can troubleshoot the problem with your HVAC system and recommend repairs. Depending on the amount of repairs needed, it could be a more cost-effective route to replace your HVAC system. New systems are designed to heat homes efficiently and maintain the same comfortable temperature in every room.

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4. Your Energy Bills Are Climbing

There will always be slight variation month to month in energy costs as temperatures change and inclement weather occurs. However, you should see comparable energy bills from year to year when looking at ranges in the same temperature. If your bills are climbing year after year or suddenly spike, it’s a sign that your HVAC system might be losing its efficacy. As systems age, the parts inside of them can require more energy to do the same amount of work that they were doing before. Over time, this problem can snowball and lead to more and more energy being used. Particularly if you don’t have your system maintained on an annual basis, this might mean it is time to replace your HVAC system.

5. Poor Air Quality

The air quality in our homes is critical to our health and safety, particularly if you are working from home. The HVAC system goes beyond keeping you comfortable and also works to move air throughout your home. If you have a properly functioning HVAC system in good condition, it should improve your indoor air quality by filtering out dust and other debris. If your home has more dust than usual, you have odd smells coming out of your HVAC system or you find that the air is not as fresh as it should be, it’s a sign you should call Exxel Mechanical Services.

6. Freon Refrigerant

Older air conditioning systems might still need to be charged with R-22 refrigerant, which is also known as Freon. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the sale and import of any air conditioner and heat pump systems that were pre-charged with R-22. Because R-22 is toxic to the environment, there have been increasing regulations around selling and producing it. Today’s systems do not rely on Freon for the most part, and the supply is dwindling and very costly. Most modern refrigerants are priced around $15 per pound, but the cost of Freon including labor can be $80-100. If your system still relies on Freon, Exxel Mechanical Services is happy to help you weigh the benefits of choosing to replace your HVAC system with something new.

7. Strange Noises

Another one of the big signs that you might need to replace your HVAC system is a furnace that makes strange noises. Whether you hear popping, banging, clanging or rattling, something might be wrong. In many cases, older furnaces make strange noises like these near the end of their lifespans. Additionally, the blower turning on and off often or blowing out cold air could signify that there are age-related issues present. Your heating system and air conditioner should be able to fully turn off before they kick on again later.

Call Exxel Mechanical Services to Replace Your HVAC System

Exxel Mechanical Services is here to support all of our residential and commercial clients and keep their HVAC systems in excellent condition. We can help if you need repairs or to replace your HVAC system. We are always available to help assess your system, provide you with a free quote or come out to restore your heat or air conditioning in the event of an emergency. To learn more or get a free quote, call us at 443-821-1040 or email us at bob@exxelmechanical.com. We look forward to keeping your family comfortable.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

Our 8 Best Tips to Winterize Your Home

Winter is here, snow is perpetually in the forecast and every morning many of us have to break out the ice scraper before heading to the office. While Exxel Mechanical Services customers have warm, cozy homes thanks to our quality heating maintenance, installation and repair services, many also want to maximize their energy savings. The best way to get the most from your heating system this winter is by taking the time to winterize your home.

1.    Fill Up Cracks and Holes

Take a walk around the exterior of your home and look for cracks, holes and open seams. These are commonly found around windows, doors, where the siding overlaps the foundation and hose bibs. These small cracks can allow cold air into the home and lead to drafts. Filling them in with expanding foam sealant or good quality caulk can plug up the hole, prevent pests from entering your home and keep cold air out.

2.    Replace the Weather Stripping

Check the weather stripping around each exterior door at your house to see that it is intact and in good condition. If you do not annually check the weather stripping, there’s a good chance that it will be missing entirely, ripped, crushed or damaged. To winterize your home, you should replace the weather stripping. Once you do this, close the door and take a look under it. If you can see light from the outside coming in, you should plan on installing a door sweep or raising the threshold to stop cold winter air from creeping inside.

3.    Change the Furnace Filter

During the winter when your furnace sees a lot of use, you should plan on changing the furnace filter every two months, especially if you have pets or are working from home. A dirty and clogged furnace filter prevents proper airflow and makes your furnace work harder to heat your home. If you are not sure how to change your filter, ask your technician from Exxel Mechanical Services during your pre-winter preventative maintenance visit to winterize your home and HVAC system.

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4.    Use a Programmable Thermostat

Most of us keep regular schedules and start work, exercise, leave the house, eat meals and do other tasks at the same time every day. If your family has a regular schedule, a programmable thermostat is a wonderful way to winterize your home and avoid wasting energy. Every day, you can program the thermostat to change temperatures at different times of day based on activities. If everyone leaves the house by 9:30 in the morning, you can have it turn down to a lower temperature for the workday. If the first person home arrives at 4:30, you can schedule the heat to turn on at 4:00 so it will be warm by the time they get home. Many programmable thermostats also have vacation and weekend settings to give you plenty of options.

5.    Install Electrical Outlet Gaskets

Take a moment to place your hand near each of the electric outlets in your home. Does it feel colder? A surprising amount of chilly air can enter the home through the area around electrical outlets. Foam-rubber outlet gaskets are very affordable and easy to install. They can rapidly seal up the drafty area and winterize your home.

6.    Use an HVAC Maintenance Plan

One of the best investments that you can make as you winterize your home is an HVAC maintenance plan. Exxel Mechanical Services offers exclusive maintenance agreements that can provide regular care for your heat pump, boiler, air conditioning system, furnace and other HVAC system components. We have two different plans depending on your specific needs.

Silver Plan

Our silver plan includes:

  • Annual inspection of your HVAC system
  • Thorough assessment of your existing equipment with suggested repairs or improvements to increase energy efficiency and system longevity
  • Waived diagnostic fees for issues with your system in between your service visits
  • 25% discount on repair services

This plan is perfect for homeowners with HVAC systems that are between two and eight years old.

Gold Plan

Our gold maintenance package is packed with the same great features of the silver plan, but it adds additional protection. The gold plan includes:

  • Annual inspection of your HVAC system
  • Thorough assessment of your existing equipment with suggested repairs or improvements to increase energy efficiency and system longevity
  • Waived diagnostic fees for issues with your system in between your service visits
  • Free labor and component costs
  • 25% discount on repair services (for exempt parts)

7.    Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes prevents heat loss and saves on your energy bills. Adding pipe insulation will keep water inside of your pipes hot so that the water heater and boiler do not need to use extra energy to heat the water. By adding insulation, you will also be able to enjoy hot water the moment that you turn on the shower or faucet instead of waiting. You can purchase insulated wraps to place around the pipes or foam-rubber sleeves that can be slipped on the pipe depending on your budget and the location of the pipes.

8.    Test Your Detectors

Finally, you should always make testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors part of your annual routine to winterize your home. Residential fires are most common during the winter months, so having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries is critical to protect your family.

7.    Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes prevents heat loss and saves on your energy bills. Adding pipe insulation will keep water inside of your pipes hot so that the water heater and boiler do not need to use extra energy to heat the water. By adding insulation, you will also be able to enjoy hot water the moment that you turn on the shower or faucet instead of waiting. You can purchase insulated wraps to place around the pipes or foam-rubber sleeves that can be slipped on the pipe depending on your budget and the location of the pipes.

8.    Test Your Detectors

Finally, you should always make testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors part of your annual routine to winterize your home. Residential fires are most common during the winter months, so having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries is critical to protect your family.

Winterize Your Home with Help from Exxel Mechanical Services

Exxel Mechanical Services is here to support all of our residential and commercial clients and keep their HVAC systems in excellent condition. We are always available to help assess your system, provide you with a free quote or come out to restore your heat or air conditioning in the event of an emergency. To learn more or get a free quote, call us at 443-821-1040 or email us at bob@exxelmechanical.com. We look forward to keeping your family comfortable.

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems

How Can I Help my HVAC System Keep Up with the Forecast?

There’s already been a bit of snow in Maryland and the temperatures just keep dropping. Can your HVAC system keep up? And how will that impact your winter heating bills?

Check out these 4 smart HVAC usage tips to help you conserve your money and stay warm all winter long!

Don’t Overtax Your Heating System

You may be wondering if your furnace is working when you come in from the cold and the inside of your home doesn’t seem warm. Instead of immediately turning up the heat, be patient. While there’s no problem in increasing the temperature of your home, you should avoid massive increases and instead try to keep the heat flow as consistent as possible. If you feel the heat, your unit is working.

Many people tend to overtax their HVAC system in colder temperatures. This causes the internal mechanisms to wear out and ultimately break, which can result in costly heating repairs. Heavy furnace usage (beyond what’s necessary) also drives up your gas and electricity costs.

Insulate Your Home

Remember, the furnace works partially by keeping cold air out, but this work is negated by vents or gaps that allow drafts in the home. Your furnace works harder to compensate for drafts that bring the frigid air indoors.

The more your heater has to fight the elements, the more power it drains. You can eliminate these costs by safely insulating key areas. For example, taping gaps in the window frame or simply covering the bottom of the front door are great ways to keep the cold air out.

You can apply similar measures to other air vents as long as these areas don’t generate heat or risk catching fire. This simple, smart HVAC usage step helps your furnace use less energy while also keeping your home warmer. No more having to turn up the heat!

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 Dress for the Season

One of the simplest and easiest ways to promote smart usage of your HVAC system in the winter is to simply dress warmly! Besides saving on energy costs, you’ll probably be more comfortable too.

Of course, you don’t have to wear a coat in the house — (if you do, call us!) — but wearing two layers of warm clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt and a cozy sweater, will help your body create more friction and warm you naturally.

Using hand warmers and heating pads while you work at the computer or enjoy family movie night can be an inexpensive way to beat the cold without having to overtax your HVAC system. When you do go out, you will want to layer up and dress for colder conditions so that when you return home, your core body temperature can readjust more quickly without having to turn the furnace up!

HVAC Maintenance is Key

In addition to the other power saving strategies, keeping your HVAC unit and furnace well-maintained is the best way to stay ahead of a cold forecast. Your HVAC system is the primary source for heating and cooling your home, so ultimately, you need it to last and perform effectively.

Regular maintenance is the most cost-effective and proactive step to guarantee the safety and sustainability of your HVAC system. This is even more critical in the months leading up to periods of intense weather!

Our certified professionals at Exxel Mechanical Services will ensure that your HVAC system is equipped to keep the house warm without compromising functionality. Our maintenance saves you money, time, and energy costs in the long run by helping you avoid costly damages or the need to replace the unit(s). Exxel also specializes in assessing your energy use and home layout to provide the best solutions for HVAC performance and energy-saving strategies.

Contact Exxel Mechanical Services Today

Are you experiencing furnace and HVAC problems or are you concerned about the upcoming winter weather? We offer free consultations to examine your HVAC system and give you the best options for quality performance. Did we mention we also have flexible maintenance plans? Give us a call at (443) 821-1040 to get started!