Temperatures can rise to intolerable levels in Las Vegas during the summer months, making it essential to have a properly functioning HVAC system. In order to expel the extreme heat from your home, your air conditioner has to work harder and undergo extra stress. If it isn’t in good condition, it may struggle to keep your home cool and drive up your energy bills. So, how do you know if your HVAC unit will be able to handle the peak cooling loads during summer?
The best way to find out whether your HVAC system is summer ready is to call in an HVAC technician to perform a thorough diagnosis. The purpose of the diagnosis is to detect existing and potential issues that can cause your equipment to operate at a less than optimal level. In order to ensure that the inspection will be carried out effectively and efficiently, you have to perform a number of tasks to prepare for the process. Follow this guide to get your home ready for an HVAC diagnosis.
Why You Should Get an HVAC Diagnosis
Even if your HVAC unit appears to be running smoothly, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. It may be experiencing some problems that are unnoticeable to the untrained eye. Having your air conditioner inspected by an air-conditioning expert is an important first step to ensure that it will be problem-free and function at its full potential. The following are some reasons why you should get an HVAC diagnosis:
Reduce Breakdowns and Repair Costs
According to HVAC professionals, many costly HVAC repairs could have been avoided if homeowners had decided to have their systems inspected and serviced regularly. A small problem that appears to be negligible may develop into a major complication that can cause your air conditioner to break down. A thorough HVAC inspection will help you detect any problem that can potentially compromise the functionality and performance of your air-conditioner. As a result, your system will be less likely to malfunction or need expensive repairs.
Maximize Your HVAC System’s Lifespan
All HVAC units have a limited service life, which can range from 10 to 20 years. However, if you take the necessary measures to keep your equipment in good condition, you can expect it to serve you well for a longer time. With regular HVAC diagnosis, you will be able to promptly detect and fix problems that can affect the lifespan of your air-conditioner. This will reduce the frequency at which you have to replace your HVAC unit, which leads to substantial savings over the long run.
Increase Energy Efficiency
If its components are struggling, your HVAC system will use up more energy in an effort to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, resulting in higher utility bills. Your bills are likely to continue going up until you fix the problem. An HVAC inspector can help you reduce your energy costs by an average of 15 to 20 percent by detecting faulty components or leaks in your air-conditioning system.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
From clogged filters to dirty cages, your HVAC system can worsen the air quality in your home in many ways. If you don’t inspect your equipment regularly, you’ll allow its components to collect dirt, dust, debris, and grime. So, instead of filtering and cleaning the air you breathe, your air-conditioner will distribute bacteria, mold, and other allergens throughout your home, which can put you and your family members at risk of a variety of health problems. During an HVAC inspection, the technician will identify components in your system that needs cleaning to help you maintain good air quality in your home.
How to Prepare for an HVAC Diagnosis
When an HVAC technician comes to your home to conduct a diagnosis on your air-conditioning system, he or she may have to check components in different parts of your home. If the areas around these components are dirty and cluttered, it can prevent the technician from doing a proper job, which can result in less than desirable results. Take the following measures to prepare your home for a smooth HVAC diagnosis:
Find Out Where Your HVAC Unit Is Located
The first thing you need to do is find out where all the components of your HVAC system are located. The number of components may vary depending on the type of air-conditioner you have. Most systems have two main units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Besides these two units, you also have to know where the evaporator coil, refrigeration lines, and thermostat are located. If you’re using a ducted system, you need to find out the locations of the ducts and vents.
Clean the Area Around Your HVAC Unit
Clean and clear the area around your air-conditioning unit. Furniture, fixtures, and objects that are located too close to the equipment can restrict the HVAC inspector’s movements and prevent him or her from working effectively. Also, water puddles and spills around the unit may result in a slip-and-fall accident. Make sure the area is clean, dry, and free of debris and objects.
If you have an outdoor condenser unit, you need to do the same to the area around it. Clear away leaves, debris, and mulch, and trim back shrubs and trees that are growing too close to the machine. This will ensure that the technician will be able to work as comfortably and quickly as possible.
Clean the Areas Around Vents
Depending on the type of air-conditioning system you have and the problem it’s experiencing, the HVAC inspector may have to check the vents around your home. Remove any objects near the vents, such as clothes and toys, and make sure your furniture isn’t blocking the airflow. If you’re unable to move your furniture away from a vent, let the technician know in advance. He or she will inform you whether or not it’s necessary to move the furniture.
Check the Thermostat
While the HVAC technician will be inspecting the thermostat during the diagnosis, you should see if it’s working before they arrive. Whether or not it’s showing accurate readings, your thermostat can tell the technician a lot about the condition of your HVAC system, which makes the inspection process easier.
Find Out If You Need to Replace the Air Filter
During the inspection, the HVAC technician will be opening up your air-conditioner to check the air filter. While they are doing so, they can also easily replace the filter. Check the filter to see if it needs to be replaced. If it does, let the technician know beforehand, so that they will bring along a new filter.
Turn Your HVAC System Off Until the Technician Arrives
If your HVAC system isn’t in good condition, it can turn into an “ice block” or turn off by itself sporadically if you keep it running for a long time. This makes it difficult or impossible for the technician to diagnose your equipment. For example, you won’t keep driving your car if it’s in bad condition. The same should apply to your HVAC system. So, make sure you give your air-conditioner enough rest before the inspection.
Know the Last Time Your HVAC System Was Serviced or Repaired
If you’re working with a new HVAC contractor, it’s important to let them know the last date of service or repair on your HVAC system. It’ll give the technician a better idea of what to expect during the inspection visit so that they can make a better-informed diagnosis.
Make Sure Your Pets Won’t Get In the Way
If you have pets at home, you need to have a plan to ensure that they won’t cause disturbance or distraction during the HVAC diagnosis. The technician may have to access many areas in and around your home. Even if your pet is especially friendly, it can interfere with the process by blocking the way or getting underfoot. Think ahead of time how you can keep your pet out of the way during the inspection.
Be at Home When the HVAC Inspector Arrives
While you’re waiting for the HVAC inspector to arrive, you may think of making a quick grocery run or paying a friend a short visit. However, it’s better to stay at home until the time of the appointment. If you show up late, it can cause scheduling problems for the technician, especially if they are having a busy day ahead. As a result, they may not be able to focus fully on the job. If you’re significantly late, the technician will have less time to inspect your HVAC system, resulting in a hurried or incomplete inspection process.
Find Out the Cost Before Work Begins
If you tell the HVAC technician to go ahead and inspect your air-conditioner without knowing the cost, you may be surprised when you see the bill. Make sure you know the cost of the HVAC diagnosis, as well as the costs of the maintenance tasks or repairs recommended by the technician. If the total cost of fixing all the problems in your equipment isn’t within your budget, consider speaking with your technician about your financing options.
What to Expect During an HVAC Diagnosis
Depending on how your air conditioner is installed and how things are arranged in your home, there may be other things you need to do to get ready for an HVAC diagnosis. You’ll have a better idea of the preparations you need to make if you know beforehand what will happen during the inspection process. The following is a list of tasks that an HVAC inspector will typically perform:
- Set the thermostat to cooling mode to check your HVAC system’s running conditions.
- Check thermostat settings.
- Check the return air filters to see if they’re clogged.
- Disassemble the outdoor condenser unit to check the contractors, capacitors, connections, and wiring for wear and tear, as well as the overall condition of the equipment.
- Wash the condenser coil with a garden hose to remove dirt and debris that have accumulated on it.
- Check the outdoor disconnect for bad electrical connections and burnt wiring.
- Open the indoor unit and see if the filter is dirty or clogged.
- Check the evaporator coil and drain pan for mold and algae.
- Inspect the capacitors, contactors, relays, and wiring.
- Check if the blower wheel is clean.
- Inspect the indoor disconnect to see if there are poor electrical connections and burnt wiring.
- Check the amperages on the fan motor and compressor.
- Check refrigerant pressure.
- Make sure the vents are clean and undamaged.
- Look for dirt buildup, leaks, holes, and loose joints in the air ducts.
- Check the quality of the installation.
- Fill out a report after completing the diagnosis.
- Provide advice on how to get the HVAC system to function optimally and efficiently.
How to Find the Right HVAC Contractor
The process of diagnosing an air-conditioning system may vary from one contractor to another. If you want to make sure that your air conditioner will be properly and thoroughly inspected, you need to find a reliable service provider. Here are some tips for choosing a good HVAC contractor:
Get Recommendations from Your Neighbors and Friends
One of the best ways to find a reputable HVAC contractor in your area is to get recommendations from your trusted friends and neighbors. Ask them if the companies they recommend can conduct a comprehensive HVAC inspection and deliver good results. These people are unlikely to lead you astray.
Read Online Reviews
Reading online reviews can help you determine if a certain HVAC contractor is worth your consideration. If the company has constantly received positive reviews on reputable sites such as Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Angie’s List, it’s likely a good choice.
Check Out the Company’s Website
You can learn a lot about an HVAC contractor by looking at its website. If the website is informative and helpful, it means that the company is committed to helping its customers solve their air-conditioning problems. Also, look for previous customers’ comments on the quality of work. If there are a lot of positive comments, you should probably call the company to find out about its inspection service.
While it’s an important process, HVAC diagnosis can be difficult and time-consuming. You can help the HVAC technician do a better job by making the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth inspection. If you’re looking for a reputable HVAC contractor in Las Vegas, The Cooling Company may be the right choice for you. We provide a wide range of high-quality HVAC products and services to meet the unique needs of different homeowners, including inspection, maintenance, repair, improvement, and replacement. Call us at (702) 790-8277 to schedule an appointment.