Category : maintenance

What Happens When You Don’t Maintain Your HVAC System?

HVAC maintenance

At Oliver, we’re always telling our customers how important HVAC maintenance is. A reliable HVAC maintenance plan can keep your unit running smoothly, improve its reliability, and extend its lifespan. Some of our service calls are made because the HVAC unit hasn’t been properly maintained. Here are some things that could happen when you don’t have a maintenance plan:

Improperly Functioning Thermostat

When your thermostat doesn’t function properly, your HVAC unit may not turn on when it’s supposed to or turn off when it’s supposed to. Not only is this bad for the unit, but it also affects the comfort of you and your family.

Dirty Coils

Your HVAC unit’s evaporator coil is located on your indoor unit and works much like a radiator to make sure that the air flowing through your ductwork is heated or cooled properly. A dirty evaporator coil can restrict airflow, which can also dramatically reduce your unit’s efficiency. The dirt can also harbor mold and mildew, giving your indoor air poor quality.

During the summer, your outside HVAC unit’s condenser coil is responsible for eliminating the hot air that is sent to it. The cleaner the coil, the more efficiently it can handle the hot air. If your condenser coil is dirty, your unit’s efficiency can dramatically drop, hiking up your energy bills and reducing the unit’s lifespan.

Dirty Filter

The role of an HVAC air filter is to filter out pollen, allergens, dander, and other airborne particles that can harm your health. A good air filter will give you high-quality indoor air that can not only prevent illnesses but also shorten them. When your air filter is dirty, airborne particles aren’t filtered; instead, they enter your home through your ductwork and are breathed in by you and your family.

Blocked Condenser

Your condenser is one of the most important parts of your HVAC unit. It’s responsible for desuperheating, condensing, and subcooling to make sure the air that flows through your home is the right temperature. A blocked condenser means the heat transfer that usually occurs won’t be able to take place and the condenser’s temperature will rise. When this happens, your HVAC unit won’t operate efficiently and if not taken care of, your condenser could burn out.

Leaks

Leaks in an HVAC unit can be caused by several common scenarios: the drain hole is blocked with dirt or debris, the condenser pump is broken, the seals on your unit aren’t tight, or your hose is clogged or blocked. All of these things can occur if you don’t properly maintain your HVAC unit.

Power Malfunctions

As part of our maintenance plan, we’ll perform an annual 21-point inspection where we’ll make sure that your HVAC unit can power up properly and power down properly. If it can’t, you’ll run into a lot of frustration when your home is too warm or too cool and you can’t run your unit properly in order to adjust the thermostat.

Dirty Blower

The role of your HVAC’s blower is to circulate the warm or cool air throughout your home. When it gets dirty, it requires more energy to operate, which increases your energy bills. If a blower gets dirty enough, it will fail and once it fails, it’s a sign that more problems are to come. If this happens, many HVAC companies recommend replacing your entire HVAC system.


3 Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Your water heater is one of the most important parts of your home – it’s used for everything from showering to doing laundry to washing dishes and more, which is why it’s important to maintain it. Learning how to do simple maintenance on your water heater can extend its lifespan and keep it running smoothly all year long. Here, our water heater experts share some tips:

Checking the Pressure Valve

Whether you have an electric water heater or a gas-powered water heater, you’ll find a safety devices called a temperature and pressure relief valve. It’s important to make sure this valve is operating correctly because if it’s not, it can mean an explosion.

First, turn off the power to the water heater and shut off the cold-water inlet. Next position a bucket of water underneath the valve and pull up the lever. (You should hear a rush of air and see some water vapor.) If water continues to flow out of the valve, drain the tank partway, unscrew the old valve, and replace it with a new one.

Replacing the Anode Rod

A water heater’s anode rod protects the exposed steel of the water heater when the tank is filled through a method called electrolysis. Because the rod protects from rust, it can become coated with calcium carbonate and should be replaced.

Start by connecting a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and open the pressure relief valve and the drain valve. Let a few gallons of water drain out and close the drain valve. Next, look for the hex head of your anode rod on top of the heater or under the top plate. Once you locate it, fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the head and unscrew the rod. Examine it – if it’s less than 1/2 inch thick or covered in calcium carbonate, buy a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, and replace the rod.

Flushing the Tank

As your water heater gets older, sediment will begin to settle in the tank and not only reduce the heater’s efficiency, but clog the lines. This is why you should flush your tank on a regular basis.

First, start by turning off the power to your water heater and shut off the cold-water inlet. Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and make sure the other end of the hose is in an area that won’t be negatively affected by hot water. Open the pressure relief valve, then open the drain valve. Let the tank drain completely and close the relief valve and drain valve. Turn the cold-water inlet back on and open up all hot water spigots in your home to refill.

If you’re uncomfortable working on your water heater, don’t hesitate to call our water heater experts! We can have your heater maintenanced in no time!


Our Most Common FAQs

We Can Answer That!

We know the world of HVAC and plumbing can be a little overwhelming for those who aren’t familiar with it. That’s why at Oliver, we’re happy to answer any questions (short or long) you may have about your home or business’s operations. Here are some of our most common FAQs, answered:

What’s the best air conditioner size for my home?

If the size of your home has changed through an addition or other renovations, or you have made enhancements that affect air flow (such as window or door replacements or changes to your insulation), it may be time to have a professional perform a new Heat Load Calculation on your home to assess the proper size air conditioner. If you are installing one for the first time, a Heat Load Calculation is recommended.

How can I even out the heating and cooling of my home?

You can partially close the registers in the room(s) that are too hot or cold in order to force more airflow into other rooms of your home. (It’s never a good idea, however, to close the registers completely.) Another possible solution is to invest in a furnace equipped with a variable speed blower motor. These furnaces are designed to overcome airflow problems and keep the airflow steady throughout the entire house.

How does an air conditioning system actually work?

An air conditioning system consists of 2 parts: an outdoor unit (where liquid refrigerant is contained) and an indoor coil (where the refrigerant is pumped into). As the air moves across the air conditioning coil, the refrigerant removes the heat and moisture from the air by condensing it on the cold surface of the coil. Thus, an air conditioner not only cools, but also dehumidifies the air.

When should I call a plumber?

This depends on your own skill level and experience in making repairs. If the repair could cause water damage if not performed properly, you may want to call a plumber. It’s also a good idea to call one if you have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately (such as a major leak).

How do plumbers find leaks?

Finding leaks is mainly a visual process: a plumber will inspect all of your pipes for leaks and may use a dye test kit to identify a leak in a toilet. We offer FREE dye test kits as a courtesy to our customers, just give us a call or use the Request Estimate form to let us know you would like one.

If I go away for an extended period of time, what temperature should I set my thermostat to?

We recommend 55 degrees. It’s low enough to save you energy and money but a good temperature to protect your pipes and other vital parts of your structure.

How often do my filters need to be changed?

You should change your standard furnace filter every 6-8 weeks. Use your own judgment as to when to change it, but don’t let the filter get clogged, as this can cut down on the efficiency and/or cause damage to the unit.

What can reduce the air quality in my home?

A wide range of particulate matter can be in your home’s air including dust, pollen, animal hair and dander, dust mites, mold spores, cooking grease, smoke, bacteria, viruses and other respiratory diseases. These types of contaminants won’t affect all people, but they can affect some pretty seriously.

Why should I invest in a maintenance plan?

Our maintenance plans provide peace of mind. When your HVAC system is running at its best, you’ll worry less about major damages or a shortened lifespan. You’ll also get priority service, savings on repairs, and no residential overtime charges.

Which HVAC maintenance plan is right for me?

It depends on the level of protection you’re comfortable with. Most of our customers choose our Gold maintenance plan because there are no charges for covered repairs. If you have new equipment, you may find that the Silver maintenance plan provides you with sufficient coverage.

If there’s a question you have that wasn’t answered here, visit our FAQ page or call our HVAC experts!


10 Reasons to Invest in an HVAC Maintenance Plan

Here at Oliver, we want you to have an HVAC system that’s perfect for your home, but we know it can be a big investment. That’s why we’ve created a variety of HVAC maintenance plans. On a regular basis, our experts will inspect your system and make sure that it’s running smoothly. Here are the top 10 reasons to have an Oliver maintenance plan:

10. Discounts

As a maintenance plan member, you’ll automatically get a 10% (or more) discount on diagnostic fees and any repairs our experts may need to make.

9. Filter Replacement

A clean filter traps dust, dirt, and other allergens better than a dirty filter, so we’ll replace your standard filter to keep your air clean. We can also supply specialty filters to meet your family’s needs.

8. Tune-Ups

With our variety of maintenance plans, you can enjoy a precision heating and/or cooling tune-up that will test your thermostat operation, motor, wiring connections, drainage system, and more.

7. Warranties

No matter what goes wrong, we stand behind our work with a two year Parts & Labor Warranty on every repair.

6. Priority Service

As a maintenance service client, you’ll get priority service over those who don’t have a plan – which means faster repairs.

5. Free Estimates

Need some work done? Our experts will give you a free estimate for equipment replacement and kitchen or bath renovations so you know exactly what you’ll be paying.

4. Equipment Replacement Program

Become a member of our VIP Loyalty Club and you could earn up to $100 every year toward the purchase of a new HVAC system from Oliver.

3. Emergency Service

If you discover a problem with your HVAC system, simply call us. We’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make any repairs or replacements you may need.

2. Annual Inspections

Each year, our experts perform a 21-point heating inspection and 21-point cooling inspection, then make necessary adjustments to ensure everything is running smoothly.

1. Peace of Mind

The #1 reason to have an Oliver HVAC maintenance plan is peace of mind. You’ll be able to sit back and relax, knowing that your system is running at its best and that if anything goes wrong, we’re always here to help.

If you’re interested in an HVAC maintenance plan, click here for more details or give us a call today!


Signs You Should Replace Your Heating System

Unfortunately, heating systems only last so long and there comes a time when you’ll need to replace yours. If your system falls under one of these “if”s, it may be time to call our heating installation experts:

If it’s old and inefficient

Take a moment to determine how old your heating system is. If it’s between 15 and 20 years old, our Oliver heating service experts recommend replacing it. Over time, the efficiency of a system deteriorates and you could actually be paying more money than you need to to heat your home.

If you have humidity problems

Have you noticed that your home’s air is too humid in the summer or too dry in the winter? If so, the problem could be an inadequate heating system. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts. We can tell you whether you should replace your system or not.

If it needs frequent repairs

A heating system that is constantly in need of repairs should be a red flag to homeowners. Constant repairs not only cost you money, but they often mean that your system isn’t doing the best job of heating your home and you’re better off upgrading to a newer one.

If your heating bills are rising

If the price of your heating has stayed relatively the same but your bills have gone up, your heating system is using more energy than it should be. Switch to a more energy efficient system and you’ll be able to save your money.

If some rooms are cold and others are hot

Have you ever walked from one room in your home to another and wondered why the second room is so different in temperature? This is a sign that your heating system isn’t operating at its best and can’t properly distribute warm air to your home’s rooms.

If your heating system is making weird noises

One of the most obvious signs of a heating system that’s on it’s way to failure is one that makes weird noises like pops, rattles, squeals, and more. If you hear weird noises coming from your system, call our heating installation experts today.

If any of these scenarios apply to your heating system, you’re most likely better off upgrading it to a newer model. At Oliver, we carry a wide array of systems and can help you pick the right one to heat your home efficiently and help you save money on your bills.


Schedule Your Inspection Before the Year’s End

Oliver

As 2016 comes to a close, we at Oliver want to remind you – if you haven’t gotten your HVAC unit inspected this year, now is the time to do it. There’s a lot that goes on within your HVAC system and in order to keep it running smoothly, we recommend an inspection at least once per year.

During your inspection, we’ll thoroughly examine your unit and test out its functions to make sure everything is operating correctly. If we find there’s something wrong, we’ll let you know what it is and what your options are. If it’s just a small fix, we can repair it on-site or schedule a repair for the future. If it’s a major issue, however, you may need a new HVAC installation.

If a new installation is the case, we’ll discuss the different types of systems we offer and what your best are for the size of your home, your heating or cooling needs, and your budget.

At Oliver, we know your HVAC system is an investment and you’d like it to last you as long as possible. With yearly inspections, you’ll extend the lifespan of your system and in turn, save money on repair costs. If you still haven’t had your unit inspected, give us a call today to schedule one with an HVAC expert.


Is Your Business Running Efficiently?

commercial-hvac

As an employer, you want your employees to do their best every day of the week, because if they’re efficient, your business is efficient. Have you ever thought about your HVAC system, though? An efficient HVAC system not only means less energy that your business consumes, but it also means lower overall costs. When it comes to HVAC, you should have the same efficiency expectations for it as you do your employees.

Unlike a home HVAC system, a commercial HVAC system is extensive and requires specific knowledge, which is why at Oliver, you can trust us to make sure your HVAC system is running at its peak efficiency. Our commercial HVAC experts are professionally trained and will inspect its many workings to ensure that you’re getting the most from your system. We can help you not only streamline your comfort, but also streamline your operating expenses so that you can focus on your company’s profits.

We know what to look for and what to do to maximize efficiency. For example: did you know that upgrading your HVAC equipment from an 8 SEER rating to a 12 SEER rating can reduce your energy consumption by about 30%? Or that the best kind of thermostat is a programmable thermostat that automatically turns off your heat or air conditioning when no one is in the building? We want to help you save as much energy as possible to reduce both your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bills.

We can also inspect your air duct system to make sure the distribution of your heat or air conditioning is correct. If your duct system is off balance, it could overwork your HVAC system as well as make your employees uncomfortable (and when employees are uncomfortable, they’re not as productive). We’ll balance your system so that your airflow is accurate and everything runs smoothly.

As you may have noticed, there are many details in a commercial HVAC system that need to be addressed in order to ensure its efficiency. If you’d like our experts to inspect yours, give us a call today and set up an appointment.