It's Spring and along with that comes the urge to make everything clean, fresh, and new again. Now is the best time to take care of some often-overlooked household cleaning tasks that can save you big dollars in the future. As a home inspector, I often see that some of the costliest repairs are ones that could easily have been prevented with simple maintenance steps earlier on. Take a look at your home's heating and air conditioning system. When was the last time you had your cooling coils Inspected and cleaned?
Cooling coils, which resemble a car radiator, are typically located on top of or inside the air handling unit in the utility room. These coils take the heat and humidity out of the air and are essentially the connection point between your air conditioning system and the air in your home. Over time, household dust and air contaminants, including fabric particles, skin cells, animal dander and other debris, collect on the coils. While your furnace filter will reduce debris -- assuming you keep the filters clean -- it's impossible to completely eliminate it and what gets through will end up on the coils. When that happens, two problems can arise:
First, the build-up restricts the flow of air through the unit and decreases its ability to effectively remove heat from the air.
Second, it makes the equipment work harder and longer to get air into your house. So the air handler runs and runs, and the unit consumes more energy and produces less cooling.
If your air conditioner is forced to run 25 percent longer to produce the desired results you will shorten its usable life by nearly 25 percent. And the cost of repairing or replacing a faulty heating and cooling unit far exceeds the cost of having the coils cleaned.
While coils may not need to be cleaned annually, they should be inspected every year. The configuration of some units may make it difficult to examine and clean the coils without removing them from the unit and improper cleaning can actually damage the coils.
If you're not even sure what part of the system the coils are, where they're located, or if they've ever been cleaned at all, call a professional to do a system check up and cleaning. It's best to leave the inspection and any necessary cleaning to a trained professional. You shouldn't assume your coils are being cleaned or even inspected regularly just because you have a service contract with a heating and cooling company. Many companies do not include that service as part of their regular maintenance routine.
Check the internet or yellow pages supporting Rochester and Southeastern MN to find qualified technicians in the area. When evaluating a company to inspect and clean your coils, be sure to ask how long the company has been in business, the average experience level of its service people, and what their regular service includes.
By cleaning your cooling and heating systems on a regular basis you can help extend the life of your systems and ensure it's functioning at peak efficiency for years to come, thereby saving you costly maintenance in the future.