Every new homeowner’s first instinct is to pop open the champagne and celebrate one of the biggest milestones of their lives. That euphoria lasts until they encounter their first over-flowing toilet, blown electrical breaker, busted pipe, or a broken heating and air conditioning system. There’s never a good time to have your HVAC breakdown – especially not during a Texas summer. These complex pieces of technology can be hard to understand and are easily taken for granted until it is too late. An HVAC unit can last for several decades, but only if it is well maintained. Follow these tips and you could be living in comfort for years to come. What Are SEER Ratings?
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is attached to every unit. These ratings are government mandated and help buyers determine the energy efficiency level of their HVAC. The minimum SEER rating allowed on air conditioners is 13 but can go all the way up to 21. The higher the rating, the higher the efficiency, and the lower your energy bills will be. Older homes that have not been updated may have an HVAC with a lower SEER rating than 13, since the lifespan of a single unit can be up to 20 years. On the plus side, most SEER rated HVACs come with energy tax credits.
Know Before You Buy
When looking for their dream home, first time home buyers should consider location, price, aesthetics and the quality of the equipment in the home. Buyers often overlook the type and condition of the HVAC. Buyers should ask the current homeowner or realtor:
- Does the unit come with a warranty?
- When was the last service date?
- What is the SEER rating, and do the current owners still have the manual?
These questions will help you determine the health of the unit and how well it has been maintained. The last thing you want is for it to die when you need it the most. Be forewarned about homes that come with “builder” model HVAC systems, because this term indicates that the HVAC installed might be of the lowest possible market quality.
Regularly Change Filters
This is probably the most common advice for first time homeowners, but its importance cannot be overstated. HVAC filters help to remove dust, pollen and dander from your home, while also ensuring your air conditioner’s ability to run efficiently. Filters should be changed at a minimum of 4 times a year, or more often if you suffer from asthma or allergies. When buying a filter look for the MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value) which has a rating of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most efficient.
Keep the Outside Unit Clean
Once a month, homeowners should make an effort to clean the outside unit of debris, leaves, dirt or packed snow. When doing so, remember to turn off the unit and gently remove debris from inside. Any dirt, leaves or branches stuck around the outside grill can be removed with a water hose as long as you stay away from the electrical components. Bushes, trees and vegetation that shade the HVAC can help it run up to 10% more efficiently, but surrounding greenery should be kept at a distance to prevent the HVAC from overworking.
Find a Trustworthy Technician
A well-maintained HVAC requires seasonal visits from a highly-trained HVAC professional to prevent any emergency calls in the middle of the night because of a broken unit. Seasonal visits can also prevent costly repairs or even a more expensive replacement. Homeowners should do their research, read reviews, and talk to a trustworthy technician before hiring a contractor. A job done right the first time will save you money, time, and give you peace of mind.
Statewide and Trane air conditioners provide Texas residents with the highest-quality service and equipment for their homes. For a free quote on this service, visit us online or call 800-731-0197.