If we could suggest only two times of year to check on the quality of your HVAC unit, it would be the months leading up to summer and winter.
Why? Summer and winter are when we face the hottest and coldest temperatures of the year, the times of year in which we want to know without a doubt that our heating and cooling system is working properly.
The first step is determining the age of your HVAC unit.
How to determine your HVAC unit’s age
Time to say, “Out with the old and in with the new,” perhaps.
Most HVAC units maintain their quality for 10 to 15 years, so if you’re wondering about the manufacturing date of your unit, you can peek at the branded nameplate on the side of the unit. If you don’t see it, you can also try Googling the serial number or calling the manufacturer directly.
While knowing the exact age of your unit may be beneficial, the number of years it will last depends on how often you personally service it; how well you support its function by doing things like regularly changing the air filters and cleaning leaves out of the fan after a storm; and how often you have it serviced by a technician.
If you’re curious whether you should service or replace your HVAC unit, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1) Has your utility bill increased in recent months? If so, this could mean that your air filters need to be replaced or that you have loose air vents. On the other hand, you may be facing some electrical issues, making your unit less effective. The older your unit, the more effort it must put toward achieving the same results.
2) Have you found yourself calling a technician more times than normal this year? A good rule of thumb when it comes to servicing your HVAC unit is to get it checked right before it’s extremely hot (summer) or frigidly cold (winter). If you’ve already had multiple technician visits in the last year or so, it might be time to replace.
3) Are there any funny smells or noises coming from your unit? If your unit sounds like creaking floors in an old house, or if you smell weird, moldy, or burning odors, your HVAC unit is likely to blame.
If you answered “no” to all three questions, then you have a quality HVAC unit on your hands! If not, then we suggest having your unit serviced. The sooner you can get it serviced, the more cost efficient the process will be in the long run.
At any point, if you find yourself with concerns or questions about your unit, don’t hesitate to give us a call here at Exxel Mechanical Services. While we service a great many HVAC systems in Maryland, our knowledge extends well beyond our state!
How to use a SEER rating to find the age of your HVAC unit
You may know how old your unit is based on the manufacturing date, but just how old are we talking in terms of quality? The best way to find out is by calculating the SEER rating, otherwise known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. More specifically, it is the ratio of cooling output throughout the cooling season.
Generally, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your unit should perform. A higher SEER rating is typically about a 16, whereas a lower rating is 13, which indicates a less expensive and less efficient unit. This rating is the federal minimum to be sold. Some manufacturers will list this number along with the manufacturing date.
Keep in mind that the more up-to-date and efficient your unit is, the less costly it will be to run. Whether AC or other types of equipment, the longer you run any kind of machine, the more energy and/or power it takes to operate at its optimal level. However, when comparing an old unit to a new unit, the new unit will produce more energy for less money because it is more efficient.
How to make your HVAC unit last longer
Just as you could say a 50-year-old man has the athletic tendencies of a 35-year-old man, you can say a 15-year-old unit acts the same as a 12-year-old unit. You can apply age to the unit.
There are several factors that can shorten or lengthen your unit’s lifespan, such as how often you run the unit, the temperature at which you run it, and even the number of times you turn it on and off in a day.
When it comes to recommending how to exceed the typical lifespan of your HVAC unit safely and efficiently, we like to explain that there are ways to prevent large or continuous repairs, as well as ways to support the overall function of your system.
Let’s start with preventive maintenance.
The two best things you can do to ensure an efficiently run unit this season are to call a technician to check for damage, errors, or other issues, and to replace your air filter(s) at least every 1-3 months. Doing both can prevent future high-cost repairs.
Keep your eyes open for certain changes in and around your house:
- Accumulation of dust could simply mean you need to change the filter, but if humidity is present, it’s best to call your technician.
- A room that won’t properly cool or heat is usually a red flag for poor insulation, a damaged thermostat reading, or a clogged filter.
- Poor efficiency after an intense storm could indicate a leaf and debris pile up in the unit, preventing the fan from working correctly.
If, while you keep your eyes peeled for changes, you find yourself in need of a group of dependable, HVAC experts to respond to any repair, service, maintenance, or installation issues, look no further than our HVAC team in Westminster, MD. We’d be happy to help.
Stay cool, everyone!