When Should I Call A Professional for My Heating and Air Conditioner Inspection & Repair
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
As with any major appliance, vehicle, or other valuable items in your life, maintenance is critical in maintaining efficiency and life-span of your air conditioning system. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and adequate repairs when necessary can help your air conditioning system work to its maximum efficiency and purpose.
A few maintenance and repair jobs can be done yourself, with the help of some thorough instructions and a few tools. Other situations require hiring a skilled professional, but when should you contact a contractor versus when to do the work yourself?
Regular and thorough inspections are one of the most important parts of maintaining your air conditioning system. HVAC inspections should be performed twice a year. The changing of the seasons is usually the best reminder to inspect and service your heating and heating and air conditioning system.
Here are some specific areas to inspect and what is required when calling a professional:
Filters: Most individuals know that filters should be changed every month or so, depending on the HVAC system and the type of filters used. Approximately twice per year or more often, depending on whether or not they become visibly dirty or compacted, the ventilation ducts and vents should be vacuumed and cleaned out. It is generally ok to use household cleaning products, or a 1:1 mixture of water and white vinegar does the job well. Be sure that all of the components are completely dry before replacing the filters and vent covers.
Air Vents: Check all vents around the house for signs of damage, and thoroughly clean them.
Ducts: Your air conditioning system may have a lot of exposed ductwork, so periodically inspect all of the ducts for signs of wear and tear, dents, and loose fittings. Keep a lookout also for signs that air is escaping in any way, such as dirt streaks near seams or elbows. If you notice a lot of problems with the ductwork, it is a wise idea to call an HVAC professional to help identify and repair all of the issues.
Furnace: Carefully, turn on the furnace and look at the flame. It should burn blue and steady. If the fire is flickering and is red or orange, this could mean it is not working correctly. If this is occurring, call an HVAC technician to make the necessary repairs to the furnace.
Thermostat: If possible, open the thermostat and check for dust, which can cause it to lose function over time. Clean out any hair, dust particles, or other debris with a cotton swab or soft brush.
Compressors: While you should always keep a watch on your outdoor air compressor to keep it free from grass or weeds, leaves, branches, sticks, and other debris, you should carefully check it at least twice a year. Specifically, look for dents in the cooling fins, and if possible, take the cover off to check the blades for any damage. If the fan blades are bent or damaged in any way, you should call a professional HVAC technician. It isn't safe to replace the blades yourself.
Generally, several of these inspections can be made yourself, without the help of a professional. Most of what needs examination are, and you can make safe calculations about whether things look okay or not. If you are unsure, or if you notice any of the specified issues mentioned above, call a professional to help you.