Buying a home comes with a lot of obligations and responsibilities. Not only do you take on a mortgage, taxes and utilities cost, you also have to remember that there will be constant upkeep on your New Jersey home. You will need to constantly make sure your house is updated and all your equipment functions within your home properly. Things like water heater and HVAC equipment maintenance which stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning” might not be particularly engaging and fun, but it’s an important part of keeping your home running correctly.
As a homeowner in southern or northern New Jersey you should be proactive about any type of maintenance on your home. The regular maintenance you do on your furnace, air conditioner and water heater as a homeowner is considered preventative. You are looking to keep your equipment running to its full potential, while eliminating future breakdowns. These are some of the future issues that good and seasonal maintenance can help prevent: leaks, corrosion, issues with distributing hot or cold air, clogged filters and dirty coils and/or a total breakdown of your system in the dead of winter or summer. If any of these problems occur, it can be very pricey to fix. Why wouldn’t you do everything you can to make your heating and cooling system and your water heater work more efficient and last longer. This is not just “I’ll do it when I get to it”, this is a seasonal service, just like maintaining your car.
Here is some basic information to put a maintenance plan into place for your home.
Common HVAC and Water Heater problems
There are a lot of problems that can go wrong with your HVAC system and water heater. Some of these issues are more common than others and it is important to know what you may be up against.
Here are three common HVAC and water heater problems to remember while you decide on what maintenance plan you want to establish.
All HVAC connectors and drain lines have the ability to develop leaks. These leaks force your system to run harder than it should, and could ultimately lead to you having to replace one or more components. This can also cause extensive damage to the structural integrity of your home. Keep an eye out for leaks from refrigerant lines as well as leaks from the AC condensate line, heat exchanger and water heaters.
Dirt and debris
All components of your HVAC system should always be free of debris. This includes your furnace, electrical box, water heater and condenser. Debris and dirt can cause your system to work inefficiently as well as pump dust and allergens into your home, reducing your indoor air quality, the flow of air and potentially clogging the whole system.
Whenever you combine wiring with moisture you have the potential for corrosion. Corrosion, which generally happens on any wires or terminals related to your HVAC system, can cause your heating or cooling system to turn on and off on its own. This in turn will make your system work harder and less efficiently.
***Being aware of these potential issues and maintaining your equipment according to the manufacturer’s specification will also help keep you equipment parts warranty intact.
Types of HVAC maintenance tasks you can handle
Different maintenance tasks can be done by you and others should only be done by a professional. Put these two together and you will extend the efficiency and longevity of your HVAC equipment and water heater.
Here is some information that will help you get a do-to list together. These are standard HVAC maintenance tasks that you’ll want to undergo each year. Adhering to this list will help you keep your HVAC equipment in strong working order, and will also help identify potential problems before it becomes an expensive repair.
Things you can handle yourself right now
Make sure that these tasks are always followed to alleviate potential and avoidable issues with your HVAC system:
- Check the area around all indoor and outdoor components of your HVAC system and make sure they are free of debris, including boxes, grass, leaves, furniture, paints and stains and any flammable items or liquid.
- Make sure there is at least two feet of cleared space around all HVAC system components.
- Be sure to have high-efficiency air filters on hand so that you have them ready when you need them. If you don’t have a high-efficiency filter in place already, make sure you replace your next filter with one, to help your indoor air quality and help prevent allergens from getting into your living space.
Things you should do once a month
- Inspect your air conditioner refrigerant lines for leaks. These two lines, which are typically copper, connect your outdoor air conditioner to your system’s indoor evaporator coil.
Things you should do once a season
- Replace the air filter every 60 – 90 days or per instructions.
- If you have a humidifier, replace the filter and turn water back on in the fall.
Things you should do once a year
- Go through your home and replace the batteries in all of your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors
- Look at your outdoor AC unit and ensure that, in addition to being free of debris, the unit is standing on level ground.
If you follow this list and make sure to do the right tasks at the right times, your HVAC system should run well for a long time. The life expectancy of an HVAC system is about 10 – 15 years—and with preventative maintenance you can expect yours to last longer and remain efficient.
Do I need a professional to come in to do maintanence?
Even though you can handle most of the easy HVAC maintenance tasks on your own, your heating and cooling system is very complex, and some issues might not be apparent to you. It’s a good idea to sign up for a HVAC maintenance plan and bring in a pro to do the more complex maintenance. A good maintenance plan will have a professional come to your home twice a year to ensure your system is working properly and efficiently. Again this is about preventative maintenance. If you pay a little now, you can avoid costly repairs later. This will also give you some piece of mind in the long run.
Preventive Maintenance Costs
A preventive maintenance plan usually costs about $200 a year. Some companies, such as Allied Experts in Cherry Hill, NJ, offer three different levels of maintenance programs. These range from basic to one that cover parts and labor. Ask about any discounts that might be available with some maintenance plans. Some HVAC companies also offer annual contracts, where you pay a set fee to have someone come out twice a year. Some also allow you to pay on a monthly basis to help offset a large payment.
How much does it cost to repair your HVAC systems?
Repairs is where things start to get pricey. According to Homeguide.com, HVAC repairs cost between $150 and $450 on average with most homeowners spending $319 on AC simple repairs, and $268 on simple furnace repairs. HVAC contractors charge an hourly rate of $100 to $150 with a minimum service call fee of $75 to $200, and this can be more if it’s an emergency.
Here are some general repair costs according to HVAC.com:
These do not include labor costs:
Repair blower motor: $150
Replacement blower motor: $450
Thermostat replacement: $50 to $200+
Replacement ignitor: $300 to $400
Repair flame sensor: $80
Replacement flame sensor: $250
Repair heat exchanger: $100
Replacement heat exchanger: $500 to $1,200
Repair pressure sensor/circuit board: $50
Replacement pressure sensor/circuit board: $350
Replace gas valve: $150
Replacement smart valve: $750
Replacement draft inducer: $150 to $450
Keep in mind that these costs are averages, and that your exact costs will vary depending on your system’s type, size, age, where you reside and the HVAC contractor you chose.
These are repair costs.
Now think about how much it would cost to replace your whole HVAC system. Just the thought should make you want to invest in a maintenance plan.
Call Allied Experts at 856-528-2822 or visit our website at alliedexperts.com to review our ACES maintenance plans. You will be happy that you took this step to maintaining your HVAC and water heater equipment.