In order to get the best performance from your HVAC system, it is important to take care of it year-round. Obviously, this means getting regular maintenance, tune-ups, and repair service by trained professionals when needed. Piedmont Sheet Metal in Winston-Salem, NC, has been servicing and installing HVAC systems for 90 years and can help keep yours up and running no matter what the season.
Maintenance—What Needs to Be Done, and When?
It is highly recommended that you have your HVAC equipment serviced in the spring/summer and again in the fall/winter season. Diann Calcutt, Residential Service Dispatcher with Piedmont Steel Metal, said, “Regular maintenance of your HVAC system maximizes your system’s efficiency, which can improve your utility bills and minimize the number of emergency service calls by revealing potential problems that can be corrected inexpensively prior to causing major repairs. We recommend having a regular maintenance program, wherein each system is checked seasonally, including an overall inspection. At that time, lubricant and refrigerant levels are checked, filters are changed, drain lines are cleared, and any adjustments are made to keep your system running at its best.” However, not all HVAC systems require the same maintenance.
“Different systems require different maintenance. For example, even though heat pumps run throughout the year, it’s important in the fall season to check electric heaters on the indoor unit to make sure they are turning on and off properly, and all electrical components on the outdoor unit. Gas units need to be checked for leaks; older units are checked for CO leaks along with all safety concerns. Oil furnaces need new oil nozzles; oil filters, as well as their limits and safety, are to be checked in addition to any adjustments to blower belts,” commented Jeff Cook, Residential Service Manager with Piedmont Sheet Metal. While getting your HVAC checked by the professionals at Piedmont Sheet Metal is recommended, there are also some things you can do yourself.
“Keep your outdoor unit free and clear of any debris, limbs, and grass clippings. A steady temperature for the thermostat is best, because moving the temperature up and down constantly is very hard on a system. If you have an oil furnace, make sure your tank has the proper amount of oil in it to start the unit up. Regular filter changes are important, especially if you have pets inside,” Diann stated. Beyond regular maintenance, many homeowners with systems over 10 years old are faced with what to do, now that R-22, an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) refrigerant often used in air-conditioning equipment, is being phased out by the EPA due to it depleting the ozone layer, beginning January 2020, after which it will no longer be produced or imported. Only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies of R-22 will be available.
“Homeowners will still be able to have their equipment containing R-22 serviced, but as the supply becomes more limited, the costs to service systems with R-22 may rise. Our vendors have stockpiled R-22 in preparation for this phasing-out process, so we hope to continue to take care of our customers using R-22,” commented Jeff.
Do I Have to Get a New System?
As the US phases out R-22, you will need to make informed choices when servicing, repairing, or replacing an existing air conditioning unit. EPA has banned the manufacture of new equipment that contains R-22. The lengthy phase-out period allows you to replace your AC equipment that contains R-22 as you normally would when it’s old, inefficient, or ineffective. Depending on the system, an alternative refrigerant can be used as an R-22 replacement; older equipment may be able to be retro-fitted to make it compatible with R-410A, a non-ozone depleting HFC refrigerant.
“Choosing to repair any system with more than ten years of service on it is a gamble at best. Most manufacturers offer ten-year warranties on their products when properly registered, covering parts only, not labor or refrigerant. Changing a compressor can cost upwards of $2500 or more, depending on capacity and holding charge. It’s wise to get quotes on repairs and replacement before committing to either, and weigh your options against your budget,” said David Cook, Residential Estimator with Piedmont Sheet Metal. Of course, today’s systems are more energy-efficient, saving you money over time.
Should you decide on a new system or updates to your existing one, Piedmont Sheet Metal custom fabricates ductwork to each home.
“It isn’t always feasible to install completely new ductwork, but our systems are designed to meet the energy code in place at the time of installation. The better your air distribution, the better and more efficient the system will operate,” Todd Willard, Residential Estimator with Piedmont Sheet Metal commented.
Having been in business since 1928, Piedmont Sheet Metal has continually been trusted by their customers to address industry changes and answer challenges, finding the best options for them.
Piedmont Sheet Metal is located at 801 N. Broad Street, Winston-Salem, NC. For more information or for a consultation, visit www.piedmontsm.com or call 336-724-7439. Financing is also available for new equipment installs.