Do you have a secret HVAC problem waiting to happen?
So the lady on the phone was desperate. Their tenant complained that hot air was coming out of the air vents, and blowing warmth into the living room on the hottest day of the year so far. Was the condenser broken? Would they need a new system? How would they ever afford this? She was panicked, and we agreed to send someone out to the house as soon as possible. As a long-term customer, the woman was very nice on the phone, but I knew from experience she would quickly dissolve into outright panic if the problem turned out to be expensive. Luckily, our most experienced technician was available for the call. I prepped him on the importance of being absolutely thorough when he went out to her house. There would be no room for anything but total clarity with this valued client.
A few hours later, I got another call from our customer. In contrast to her short, clipped tones earlier, now she sounded happy and relaxed. He had fixed everything, she said, for little more than the cost of the actual service call and inspection. She didn’t know how he did it, but he fixed both the condenser and the compressor, and now her tenant was enjoying cool, clean air despite the heat outside.
What the heck happened? I wondered. I waited until my technician was back in the office to ask. “What did you do?” I said, curious as to what the problem really was, and how he’d managed to fix it in just under an hour.
He smiled, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “Clogged filter. Just swapped it out, and it was fine.”
Yep, that would do it! I know it’s hard to believe, but did you know a clogged air filter could result not only in dirty air, but hot instead of cold air blowing into your home? This case was extreme, but probably the temps in her home had been off for a while as the air filter got dirtier and dirtier. How much had she paid in extra energy costs by lowering the thermostat to compensate for this clogged filter? By the time we’d changed it, the system didn’t work at all, but I’m sure she’d been lowering the ambient temperature for weeks to make it cooler, as the air flow got worse and worse. Luckily, we’d caught it before the rest of the system started to break down too. New air filters are relatively cheap, and we were able to swap it out quickly. But I reflected on the energy waste and the expense of this minor problem. How much had it really cost her?
Don’t make this mistake. Check your air filter regularly to make sure it’s clean and clear. If you have a pleated air filter, examine it every month, as they tend to get even dirtier. But don’t spend money on heating and cooling when you don’t have to. Regular maintenance and simple upkeep will always keep your energy bills the lowest they can be throughout the year.
Regular HVAC maintenance can save you big money in energy bills and by avoiding system problems later. Call Air-Tro today at (626) 357-3535.