Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Do-It-Yourself HVAC - Should I do it?

Putting your feet up in a newly renovated attic space in the summer sounds like a super idea, but the room is like a sauna! What can possibly be done to make the top floor as cool as the first and not cause the utility bills to skyrocket? Well for starters, you can hand pick an efficient system and make sure that ducts are well sealed which is essential to keep every room of the house cool.

Understanding what an efficient HVAC system is and its potential is where the secret lies. HVAC is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. It is the most distorted term in construction and often HVAC is completely misunderstood by consumers and even by seasoned industry professionals. HVAC affects the health of the indoor environment and that of its occupants; the consumption of utilities and thus monthly operating costs, the temperature and humidity of building materials and furnishings. Armed with some good HVAC knowledge for beginners and some help from professionals you can avoid that "swimming with the sharks" type of experience.

So let’s hypothetically say you can go to a Home Depot type distributor of HVAC and procure all the components for a do-it-yourself system….then what? Now you’ve become the defacto mechanical contractor on the site and have to deal with the installation, commissioning and maintenance of the system. Spare yourself the hassle both physically and on the pocket and treat yourself to some serious help. Call a professional or a contractor to do what he does best.

However there are things that you can do as a do-it-yourself maintenance. These actions when done in a timely manner will help keep your home in top condition.
  • Be sure to periodically clean or replace the filters - it's probably time to clean or replace the dust and dirt catcher once in 90 days to prevent you from sneezing your way into winter mornings. A clean filter maximizes your furnace's efficiency and longevity-- and minimizes your energy bills.
  • Keep outdoor units clean – The outdoor unit of your air conditioner contains the compressor, used to generate cooler air in the warm months. Leaves, grass, and other debris are either sucked into the unit or blown in. The accumulated debris can significantly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit and dramatically raise your utility bills.
  • Keeping it clean - A/C or heat pump condensate drains can become clogged, leading to condensate leaks, spillage, or even bacterial hazards in a building. Clogged air conditioner condensate drain lines can form another source of air conditioner or heat pump condensate leakage that can in turn lead to hidden water damage or in some locations an indoor mold, bacterial contamination, mildew, algae and other debris can collect in the condensate pan and drain line.
  • Clean evaporator and condenser coils - Evaporator coils are a place that mold grows best. In addition to constant dampness, the supply side of the coil is in contact with outside air and the dirt that isn’t caught by filters. So once or twice per year be sure to give it a good scrub.
  • Maintaining Your HVAC System - Routine maintenance can lower utility costs, reduce equipment-replacement costs, and keep tenants/occupants happy.
Things inevitably go wrong with heating and AC systems, and sooner or later, your system will probably require a repair. So don’t risk personal intervention, be proactive and follow preventive maintenance but when there is a problem be wise and call in the expert.

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