HVAC 101: Tips for prolonging the life of your system
Author: Special To C2 Magazine
As the temperatures in the Lowcountry start creeping up, so do the chances of having an issue with your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) system. In this semi-tropical environment, your system works overtime May-September to keep you cool.
The HVAC system uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. On average, 44 percent of your utility bill goes toward heating and cooling. With new HVAC installations costing homeowners at least $5,000, it pays to keep yours in good condition to prolong its life. With proper maintenance and care you can get the most out of yours, which should typically last between 10 and 15 years.
Give your unit some down time
It may be easier said than done in the summer months, but the more timeouts you can give your air conditioning, the longer it will last whether it’s a decade old or brand new. Take advantage of cooler days by opening windows and doors. When the temps heat up, turn on ceiling fans and hang heavy drapes to block out the sun.
Shade is good
Keep the unit cool by planting hedges or small trees that will prevent the sun from beating on it. This not only reduces how hard it has to work, but also helps its exterior components last longer. However, you should take care to avoid planting things so close that they could deposit debris on or in the unit.
Do it yourself
Change the unit’s filters every one to three months, depending on how often you use it. Clean filters allow better cooling and airflow and place less strain on the air conditioner.
No brainer alert
Don’t block the vents. If you place furniture over them, you will experience poor circulation of cooled air and most likely run your air conditioner more than necessary.
Insulate gaps and seams in your ductwork. Applying a strip of duct tape to the duct joints keeps cool air from being lost before it gets someplace useful.
Minimize how much you need to use your air conditioner by employing other cooling methods. Make use of blinds and blackout curtains to keep the sun out. Ceiling fans are also helpful.
The Golden Rule
Have your air conditioning unit inspected regularly by a professional. They can usually catch problems before they become serious and require replacement. By having a professional perform tune-ups and make small repairs, your unit could well outlive its expected life.
Here are a few local companies who have been doing just that for quite some time:
EAC Heating & Air
Owners: Martin Jones, Pat Epperson Sr. and Patrick Epperson Jr.
76 Beach City Rd., Suite A
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Superior Heating & Air
Owner: Dave Miller
(843) 682-COOL (2665)
Hahn’s Air Specialist
Owner: David Hahn
DYESS HEATING & AIR
365 Red Cedar, Suite # 604
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 681-4949 (HHI)
Or Bluffton (843) 815-4500
Owner: Mike Covert
7 Estate Drive
Bluffton, SC 29910