Examining the Real Cost of HVAC Repair
The Real Cost of HVAC Repair
A new heating, ventilation, and air conditioner (HVAC) system is installed as a state-of-the-art mechanical system, and it is in its best condition ever. The lifespan of HVAC components is about 15 years for air conditioning and 20 years for heater mechanisms.
Between installation and replacement, there is a sliding scale of expected actions and reactions, maintenance, and repairs. Since about 8 billion HVAC systems are currently in use, these expectations are based on lots of maintenance and HVAC repair experience. Let’s look at what normally happens.
The two nemeses of HVAC systems are dirt and use.
- Airborne particles surround us, both inside and outside of the home. They go everywhere! We have special functions in our lungs to remove these particles, so it stands to reason that the heating, ventilation, and cooling systems will need to handle dust and dirt in the air.
- The act of turning an electrical device on and off is minutely violent. Very thin wires are minding their own business when suddenly electrons come rushing through and force things to move, heat, and create light. During a heating or cooling season, the system usually cycles on and off four to five times per hour. These minute violences take their toll on electrical parts.
When we catch a whiff of pepper, it causes us to sneeze or cough, but an HVAC system does not have a way to remove dust, dirt, or pollen. For this reason, manufacturers, HVAC Repair contractors, and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tell homeowners they need to complete preventative maintenance inspections annually. Maintenance combats the two nemeses of the HVAC system.
Homeowners should complete the most important maintenance task on the list. The air filter is constantly collecting dust and needs to be changed at least once every three months. However, with or without regular maintenance, dust and use still take their toll on the system. Problems are rather predictable, based on repair records. Over time, the repairs come in rather foreseeable patterns.
Common HVAC Repair Issues
- Electrical Controls. Contactors and capacitors that are responsible for turning large components, like compressor motors and blower motors, on and off are susceptible to wear. In the useful life of an air conditioner, these parts are often replaced at least once.
- Large Components. Two major parts are particularly susceptible to dust: blower and compressor motors. When a filter clogs, the amount of air getting pulled through the filter is greatly reduced. That means the blower motor must work harder to push/pull air across the evaporator coil. It is a bit like sailing a ship while dragging an anchor.
The outdoor condenser unit receives the heat from inside the house and MUST disperse it rather quickly. A central fan pulls an incredible amount of air across a network of tubes and fins that give maximum surface space for cooling. However, when dust, leaves, and grass clippings clog the network, the gas inside the tubes stays too hot and causes the compressor to overheat. This is not good at all.
- Coolant Leaks. The cooling functions when a refrigerant gas is repeatedly compressed and released inside a sealed network. As you might expect, the gas is under significant pressure, so if even an incredibly small hole or crack develops, the gas leaks out. Not good!
Common Heater Repairs
Some electrical controls used for air conditioning also regulate and control the heater/furnace. The information above applies to the heating system as well. Natural gas-powered heaters might also experience the following problems.
- Flame Sensors. A sensor remains in contact with the flame, and as a result, soot or carbon builds up on the sensor. Other sensors experience expansion and contraction with every ignition.
- Burners and Heat Exchangers. A byproduct of burning natural gas is water vapor and furnace parts made of iron that are susceptible to rust building up. Rust is corrosion, so the metal is growing thinner as the rust grows thicker. Cleaning the rust away is only a part of maintenance. Ensuring the corrosion hasn’t created leaks is also necessary since leaks allow deadly gases to enter the home.
The good news is that maintenance inhibits dust and use from causing major problems but detects minor problems early. Unfortunately, the system will need to be replaced. The good news is that regular maintenance can extend the useful life of an HVAC system by at least 5 years.
Need Help Sorting Out the Costs of HVAC Repair?
Schedule your HVAC Repair consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Repair technicians put their experience to work for you.