Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, hvac efficiency, HVAC maintenance, hvac service and repair

How Old Is Your HVAC? These Signs Of Age May Shock You.

Exxel Mechanical

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!

Categories Heating & Cooling Systems, hvac efficiency, HVAC replacement, hvac system, hvac westminster md, quality hvac, Uncategorized

Time To Change Your HVAC?

5 Signs Telling You It’s Time

It’s old 

If you’ve clicked on this article, you might be experiencing an issue with the way your HVAC system performs. The first question your HVAC technician will ask during your service call is: How old is your HVAC system?

HVAC systems tend to have a lifespan of between 10-20 years. Systems that have been serviced regularly run longest and most efficiently. However, bear in mind that as a system ages, reduced efficiency and repairs become factors in your decisions moving forward. If your system is older than 10 years and you’re facing many medium-to-large repairs, HVAC replacement might be a better option.

It’s Inefficient 

You might notice your HVAC system’s inefficiency in the running costs, but you can also tell if your HVAC is not working properly by the following:

  • The amount of time the system is running or the fan is blowing 
  • If your system seems to struggle to keep the temperature consistent 
  • Evidence of  increased dust piles
  • A noticeable higher than comfortable humidity level 

While these issues might point to a specific HVAC issue, they can also impact the overall efficiency of your unit’s operation. Depending on the age or severity of the issue, you may find it’s time to replace your HVAC.

Cost to Run: Repairs & Monthly Bills 

Costly repairs or high monthly bills are two big reasons to consider HVAC replacement. Here’s a general rule for making the decision to repair vs. replace:  Replace your HVAC system if the repair costs are more than half of a new system. 

Monthly bills should also stay consistent year to year (while accounting for things like fuel cost increases and inflation). For example, if this summer you notice a substantial increase in your bills compared to last summer, this may indicate that something is going on with your HVAC system. 

To stop habitual repairs and costly monthly bills, replacement might be the way to go.

It’s the Wrong Size 

If your system can’t keep the whole house at a consistent temperature, can’t keep different rooms at the set temperature, or achieves a temperature so quickly that it shuts down mid-cycle, it might be the wrong size unit for your home. 

That’s right! HVAC systems are not one-size-fits-all and having the wrong size unit can lead to inefficient operations. To remedy this situation, you may want to consult an HVAC professional about getting your HVAC system replaced so that it’s the right size for your home. 

There are Odd Noises & Smells in Your House

Grinding, hissing, or clunking noises are not good sounds to hear while enjoying time in your home, especially if they are coming from your HVAC system. Loose or broken parts within  your unit can be to blame, especially with older HVAC systems. 

Burning, sour, or foul smells–also not good to be experiencing in your house–may be coming from your HVAC system if something is wrong. Mold, melting pieces, a fire, or a dead animal in the vents could all be the culprit. 

If you have an older HVAC system or it’s going to take a major repair to fix the sounds or smells coming from your HVAC system, a new HVAC system might be in order. 

Call Us

No matter what issue you’re experiencing, we can figure out the best course of action. At Exxel Mechanical Service, our team is ready to serve you. Call or email us today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.

Categories Uncategorized

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for HVAC Units

You’re smiling because the crocuses are starting to pop up; you’re scheduling a Saturday to clean up those soggy dead leaves; and you’re thinking you need a tanning bed and some lotion before you bust out those arms and legs. 

Spring is here! 

While you get your affairs in order for the warmer weather and tackling spring cleaning, don’t ignore adding “clean HVAC” or “HVAC replacement” to that list. Here are 10 tips for getting your HVAC ready for spring:

1. Clean the outside of the AC unit 

During the fall and winter months, debris like leaves and dirt can gather around the outside of the AC unit. Make sure that between 1-2 feet around the unit is cleared out, including trimming bushes or plants that may have grown too close to the unit. 

2. Clean the accessible parts inside the AC unit 

After ensuring the AC unit is shut off, clean the fins by vacuuming and wiping off any dirt from the fins of the AC fan, and lightly rinsing off the unit with a hose. You can also use this opportunity to check out as much of the unit as you can see, noting anything that looks damaged so that an HVAC professional can check it out during a routine tune up. 

3. Clean or replace the air filters

Here we go again about the air filters! But seriously, cleaning or replacing air filters is step #1 for making your system run more efficiently and providing cleaner air. Air filters should be cleaned or replaced at least yearly. 

4. Clean the air vents throughout the house

Dust can build up in the air vents throughout the winter, so cleaning them before you switch from heat to AC is a great way to make sure your HVAC unit isn’t working too hard and is circulating clean air. Remove the vents’ grills, vacuum the grills, wash the grills, and vacuum inside the wall vent as much as possible. 

5. Clean the AC coils 

Refrigerator coils can collect dust, making them less efficient. Take some time to carefully clean them off as spring comes around. You can search on the internet for instructions, or you can let your HVAC professional take care of this chore. 

6. Have the ducts cleaned

While this isn’t necessarily a yearly job (once every three to five years is sufficient), you might consider adding duct cleaning every spring to keep your HVAC system efficient and your air as clean as possible. If you live with someone with allergies or asthma, cleaning the ducts can be helpful for alleviating their symptoms. 

7. Dust the house

Dust, pet dander, and other allergens can all collect in the house. Additionally, spring brings its own allergens, the most significant being pollen. Pollen will try to sneak into your home, worsening allergies for those affected and clinging to the dust. Cleaning your home of dust where it has collected in corners, on ceiling fan fins, and in other hard-to-reach places is a good move to get ready for spring. 

8. Get rid of “things” 

Another part of your spring cleaning that’s also directly related to helping your HVAC system run well is getting rid of excess furniture or clutter. Extra stuff, especially clutter blocking vents, reduces air flow and spreads dust in the house. If possible, clear out the areas in front of or on top of air vents so that your HVAC system can run more efficiently. 

9. Seal windows & clean window treatments 

Vacuuming and re-sealing your windows is a spring cleaning task that will also help an HVAC system efficiency in time for warmer weather. Vacuuming and beating the dust out of window treatments will greatly reduce dust buildup in the house.

10. Have an HVAC professional clean & tune up all the rest

HVAC repairs or tune-ups are smart to schedule in the fall and in the spring. While you might do a great job of cleaning everything you have access to, there are some internal pieces and parts to your HVAC system you can’t reach. Having a professional come to clean your system will leave you satisfied knowing your system is running as smoothly as it should be, and it’s ready to cool your home as the warmer months approach. 

Call us 

Whether it’s HVAC repair, HVAC cleaning, or HVAC replacement, Exxel Mechanical Services is ready to help you get ready for spring! We serve a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland in Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick, Maryland. Call us and see why our reputation precedes us! Call or email Exxel Mechanical Services today at (443) 821-1040 or bob@exxelmechanical.com. It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.