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The cold weather is upon us, and while winters here are usually mild, with the most chance of rain and snow not hitting Charleston, SC, until late December, if you’ve got an HVAC system installed, then you might face some issues that result in AC repair.
Many people incorrectly assume that AC repair is less likely in winter because you’re most often using your heating system to blow warm air. However, if you’ve got an HVAC system installed and a prolonged cold front hits SC, you may start to see your HVAC unit struggle to handle the strain of running for more extended periods at a time. If you haven’t noticed your HVAC system struggling to cope with heating your home, your first clue could be when that expensive energy bill arrives a month later. Running an inefficient system can be quite a costly mistake and one that we hope to help you prevent by detailing some of the most common best practices for avoiding costly errors that lead to repairs.
Ideally, you will have had your furnace, heat pump, or HVAC system tuned-up well before the weather changes. Otherwise, you may find yourself on a waiting list with a ton of other people when you need your HVAC working the most. To avoid major AC repair and increase efficiency:
Clear indoor and outdoor obstructions. All components should be checked periodically to make sure they’re free from obstructions. Blocked ducts mean the AC unit has to work harder to maintain the expected airflow throughout your home. Depending on where your outdoor condenser is located, you might find that leaves, falling ice, or frost could be the cause of obstruction. If you regularly see ice or frost, leaves, and other debris making their way into your condenser unit, think about safe ways to cover it during winter to prevent this from occurring. Breathable material is a must; otherwise, when you start to run your condenser on the other side of winter, you could see mold penetrating your unit and home. Indoor obstructions can be caused by clogged filters and dust and debris built up in the internal duct system. Duct cleaning exercises performed by an AC repair professional can highlight and clear any obstructions, even ones that you were unaware of, and should form part of annual maintenance.
Don’t ignore annual maintenance. There are numerous reasons that HVAC companies recommend spending a little money each year on a yearly maintenance plan. It can help you avoid a costly AC repair bill and full replacements caused by wear and tear that could have been fixed much earlier. Regular maintenance also helps to extend equipment life and maintain its efficiency throughout the year. Ignoring annual maintenance tasks until the following year can potentially lead to an AC breakdown and subsequent repair requirements that can be much more expensive than the initial maintenance bill.
Check appliances near the thermostat. If you’ve got a heater, lamp, TV, or another heat-emitting device near the thermostat, you may find the extra heat can throw your thermostat off by a few degrees. If the thermostat thinks the room temperature is higher than it actually is, you’ll no doubt notice the drop most in winter; when you want your home to be warmer. Ideally, keep your thermostat away from heat-generating objects so that it can record the most accurate temperatures.
Check and change fan rotation. If you’ve got ceiling fans installed in your Charleston home that work in conjunction with your HVAC system to circulate air, it can help to set fans to clockwise rotation in winter as this helps to create an updraft that forces warm air downwards. In the summer, you obviously want cooled air shifting downwards and warm air drifting upwards, so the opposite rotation should be set.
Change filters as often as needed. One of the leading causes of AC repair is neglected filters. Unfortunately, there’s no concrete timeframe for filter changes, as it depends on the type, filter manufacturer, and other factors. SC homes that have pets or smokers will likely need to change filters more often than homes without.
If you’re looking to upgrade, do duct research. When it comes to HVAC systems, there are many different types of ducts that you could install. If you pick one with the wrong sized air ducts, you could find your HVAC overworks, requiring more AC repair and maintenance throughout the year. Correctly-sized air ducts are not the only consideration; you’ll also need to consider the construction material best suited to your needs. Most commonly, you’ll see sheet metal, fiberglass lined, fiberboard, or flex duct systems installed in SC homes, and the right one for you depends on individual requirements. Fiberboard duct systems, for instance, provide better acoustic insulation and have thermal benefits. Flex duct systems feature flexible plastic covers shaped over metal coils, and they’re one of the most inexpensive and easy to install designs available.
If you find yourself waiting for AC repair every year in Charleston, SC, it may be a sign that your equipment needs an upgrade. Maybe you’ve added an extension to your home, and your system is struggling to cope with increased demand. Perhaps it can just be as simple as your 10-year-old HVAC needs an overhaul as energy-efficiency technology has moved on quite a bit over the last decade. No heating, ventilation, or air conditioning equipment is designed to last forever, after all. The need for AC repair is increasingly likely, the more your unit ages.
At Carney & Son 72 Degrees Air Conditioning and Heating, expertise is available year-round to help you get to the bottom of your pesky HVAC issues, even during the coldest, busiest months. As a locally-owned company, we really do know what it takes to install, maintain, and repair all AC units in the Greater Charleston area, and we’re proud to serve our local communities with a wide variety of services. No project is too big or too small for our resident HVAC repair experts. Whether you need a full unit replacement or a minor repair, call us, and we’ll help.