HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to the systems that regulate and move heated and cooled air throughout buildings and other structures, from homes to offices and even submarines. Although there are many options when it comes to HVAC systems, they all work similarly, taking in fresh air and using a mechanical ventilation system to heat or cool a structure to a desired temperature. HVAC units also can control humidity levels and improve air quality through air cleaners that capture bacteria, spores, and virus-sized particles.
Just like your car, a home’s heating system, as well as its central air conditioning unit, has a range of electrical and mechanical components that can wear down or break if you don’t follow your equipment manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. The manufacturer can also void your long-term warranty if you are negligent with equipment maintenance.
Generally speaking, HVAC systems should be serviced once a year to ensure your equipment is operating safely and efficiently. Please review your owner’s manual for more specific maintenance guidelines.
Benefits of Annual HVAC Maintenance
Getting yearly tune-ups on your home comfort equipment is the most important thing you can do to ensure your equipment runs as efficiently as possible. Here are the key benefits of getting annual service done on your HVAC system.
Improved system efficiency, which can lower your annual home energy expenses by 10% or more.
A longer life span for your furnace, boiler, central air system, heat pump or water heater.
Better for the planet: equipment that runs at top efficiency will emit fewer emissions.
A tune-up allows the technician from your service company to spot minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, a burner that needs adjustment, etc.) Problems tend to pop up during the worst times—such as when your furnace conks out during single-digit temperatures or when your air conditioning system shuts down in the middle of a heat wave.
Staying in compliance with your warranty: manufacturers generally require you to get regular HVAC service. If you skip a tune-up and your equipment breaks down, you could end up paying the total cost of repair.
Do You Need Off-Season Heating Repairs?
Let’s shift the focus to identify certain problems you may be noticing with your heating oil system. By the way, certain system problems can be traced back to a lack of maintenance.
If you noticed any problems with your heating system this past winter, please don’t ignore it. These are most likely “red flags” alerting you to the need for professional service.
Here are some examples.
Oil odors. If your heating oil system is working properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could be caused by a leak, burner troubles, a heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. You should schedule service as soon as possible to correct this situation.
Smoky odors when your burner is operating. If a fireplace or exhaust fan is running at the same time as your burner, this can result in a smoky odor because a backdraft is pulling flue gases through the exhaust system and into the home. If you actually see smoke coming from your heating system, shut it down immediately and call for service.
Unusual Noises from Your Heating System
Here are a few sounds and the possible cause. Note: a correct diagnosis can only be made with an onsite visit by a licensed service technician.
Banging, whistling, howling, or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow, or a build-up of sludge.
Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear a burner turn on, but if it makes a loud boom, also known as a “hard start,” this means the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced and adjusted as soon as possible.
Straining sound from the fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line. Sometimes, a build-up of sludge in your heating oil tank leads to your fuel lines getting obstructed.
If you have been experiencing these problems or need to schedule annual maintenance, please reach out to your New Jersey full-service heating oil company.