Why Proper HVAC Maintenance Is So Important

a large clock on a brick wall

When it comes to HVAC systems, almost every house in the United States is bound to have one. The HVAC system is actually a collection of other utilities within the property. The heating system, composed of a furnace that heats up water and sends it along pipework into radiators that are located in various rooms around the home. There’s also ventilation, which recycles the air via vents and ducts, ensuring that clean air is constantly present whilst used air is exiled from the property. The last component is the air conditioner. At face value, most air conditioning units are considered to be only relevant for cooling the house, taking in the warm air within the property, and cooling it down to do so. In actual fact, an air conditioning unit is intended to also keep the air dry too, preventing humidity levels from the building and providing security against damp, mold, or mildew. Modern air conditioning units can even have a heat pump fitted in order to provide additional warm air into the house’s atmosphere, taking some of the workloads from the furnace and heating systems, as well as adding ventilation by recycling air from outside the property.

Together, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems form the HVAC system within the home, and are vital in keeping the air in each room clean, temperate (i.e. not too warm or cold), and moderately dry. When one component fails, the whole system starts to deteriorate, and this is where further problems can arise. If you already suffer from insomnia and count on sleep aids, like melatonin, chamomile, or magnesium, to get you through the night, the last thing you need at bedtime is for thoughts of a malfunctioning HVAC system to keep you from relaxing.

Heating System Problems

Whilst HVAC systems have multiple features meant to purify and cleanse the air, there is only one constant feature that will heat the home: the furnace. The furnace is a water boiler or heater that is the center of every heating system. Although AC units can be modified to have a heat pump added, these are only designed to bolster the effects of the furnace, not replace it entirely. The HVAC system is in use all year round and, while airflow and indoor air quality are always important, it all starts with the heating.

Problems that stem from a furnace can usually be identified by the noise that it makes. For example, grinding noises usually indicate a problem with the fan wheel (air within the boiler is also circulated), or the mounting bolts. Squealing usually emanates from a dry fan belt, whilst loud rumbling with no heat suggests an issue with the burner or ignition. These noises are sure to impact your sleep quality, not to mention your indoor air quality, even if you don’t have a sleep disorder. Regardless of what noise you hear, regular maintenance will avoid almost every problem, but should one arise, then calling out an engineer should be your first decision. Fixing these parts of an HVAC within the home is not to be tried by anyone other than a professional. If you have to call one out, remember to follow CDC guidelines for outside repair workers entering the home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last thing you need is more viruses entering the air if your air system is malfunctioning anyway.

Ventilation Problems

Ventilation systems are really the unsung heroes of the HVAC within the home. They are also the easiest of components to spot a problem with, as well as the easiest to maintain. There are actually four types of ventilation in the home, but all require the same approach. Simply put, the vents in the home should be kept clear and unblocked so nothing impedes airflow. Nothing should be placed in front of them and nor should they be obstructed.

Air Conditioner Problems

The relationship between heating and air conditioning systems is almost symbiotic. If there is a fault with one, it tends to lead to a fault with the other as it overcompensates for the issue. Air conditioning units are designed to keep the air dry and filter out excess moisture. If there is a leak with the pipework, then the AC unit will work harder and use more energy to remove the water from the air. However, if the AC breaks under the strain, then that moisture in the air will be heated, leading to humidity. The presence of humid indoor air leads to higher energy bills and poor health.

You could reach for the best natural supplements for sleep, like melatonin, chamomile tea, or other over-the-counter sleep aids and tablets, if the indoor air quality is disrupting your slumber, but these sleep supplements will only get you so far. Humid air is uncomfortable to live in and is a breeding ground for virus and bacterial growth. Again, maintenance will prevent problems from arising, but should you need repair, only have it looked at by professionals.

Ebonie Barden works across OI's platforms and deparments, developing content that reflects our readers' inquiries and needs in order to best engage and serve our diverse audiences on the topics that matter.

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