Ongoing, seasonal maintenance of your air handler before you get into the heavy use system is crucial to ensuring that home stays comfortable during the colder winter months by avoiding untimely breakdowns. It can also save you money every month on your utility bills, avoid costly emergency repair calls, and protect your long term investment by extending the life of your HVAC system. In addition to saving you money, maintaining your air handler can help keep the air inside your home free of unwanted pollutants.
One of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air quality is dirty coils in your air handler. As air moves through your system from outside, it can deposit dust, pollen, and other pollutants onto your coils. Over time these contaminants reduce the ability of your coils to heat or cool the air the moves over them. They also can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, this mold and bacteria then gets picked up and spread around your home as the air handler kicks on to heat or cool your home.
Cleaning those coils during seasonal maintenance can keep them working at peak efficiency to heat the air coming into your home. Over time the pollutants that build up on your coils can reduce the efficiency of your system by more than 25%, leaving top performance of your system at 75%. That significant reduction in efficiency can be caused by as little as 1/24” of dust or dirt on the coils. Newer systems are not immune to the need for careful maintenance and cleaning, they are often more vulnerable to problems caused by dirty coils as they operate at significantly increased pressures. In addition to the reduction in efficiency, the dirty coils deliver air that is up to 5o cooler than the system was designed to deliver; increasing the length of time that the system must run in order to reach the programmed temperature. Starting on a seasonal maintenance plan, as recommended by your technician, can help you significantly increase the lifetime of your HVAC system.
Your air handler has a variety of different moving parts, including fans, bearings, and belts. In order to keep these things working in top order, a professional needs to come in and ensure that the system is level, free of blockages and head off problems while they are still minor, before they become major issues resulting in costly emergency repair calls. It’s much better to catch a frayed belt before it snaps and have it replaced. If a belt snaps, not only will the air handler be offline, but there is also the potential that it damages other critical components which then also need to be replaced, turning an easy, preventable maintenance item into a costly repair.
In short, one of the best things you can do to extend the life of your air handler and keep your home comfortable during the cold season is the have seasonal maintenance performed on your air handler. Seasonal maintenance often will pay for itself in lower utility bills and emergency repairs calls that you won’t have to make.