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How to Make an HVAC Repair and Maintenance Schedule

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Making an HVAC Repair and Maintenance Schedule

In the heat of summer or the winter freeze, it's easy to take central heating and cooling for granted.  As stable as most HVAC (heat, ventilation, air conditioning) systems appear, many critical problems can plague your HVAC system. Although some problems happen more than others, each can be a big headache. Here are three problems to look out for:

Wire And Line Corrosion

Your air conditioner condenser and fan live outside - and it's not always watertight. Corrosion on electrical terminals, fans, or motors can cause your system to shut down. If your AC condenser fan seizes up from corrosion over the winter, it could be trouble when you first attempt to run air conditioning in the summer.

Air conditioners rely on fans to keep the condenser cool and remove heat from the humming unit outside your house. When your AC fan freezes up, running the AC unit for a long time can burn out the condenser--an expensive item to replace.

Making an HVAC Repair and Maintenance Schedule

Corrosion can happen when any wiring is exposed to moisture inside or outside of the home. Small, inexpensive Bluetooth humidity and temperature monitors can be used to alert you to potentially damaging conditions wherever vital HVAC wiring exists.

Leaks And Drips

Wherever there is a drain line or connector, there could be leaks. Leaks most commonly occur around air conditioning components both in and outside the home. But if you have a central humidifier or dehumidifier, leaks can develop along drainage lines.

For the Air conditioner, leaks along refrigerant lines are a common HVAC problem.  The AC unit may gurgle or hiss, and it may also begin to blow warm air or smell sweet. Whenever leaks occur, the HVAC system works less efficiently. If refrigerant isn't circulating, then the system will operate longer and work harder to produce the expected cold temperature. When leaks happen along condensate lines, this can lead to corrosion along pipes and wires. Check your refrigerant lines, heat exchanger lines, and AC condensate lines regularly.

Dirt, Dust, And  Debris

When a system depends on fans, ducts, and vents to move air, it is vital to keep the intake and output areas clear of dust and debris. While you"re at it, unscrew the vent covers to make sure nothing is blocking the vent further down. The HVAC system should have clean filters (changed at 3-4 month intervals) to maintain air quality.

Dirt and debris can also do damage outside short out important electrical components like AC capacitors. If debris outside jams up a condenser fan, that can cause major, expensive damage to your AC unit. Take care to ensure that branches, shrubs, mulch, and trash, stay clear from your outdoor AC unit.   

HVAC Maintenance To-Dos

To keep your HVAC system running smoothly, you’ll need a plan. Here’s a timeline breakdown of typical HVAC maintenance tasks to complete every year. By setting a maintenance schedule, you’re building awareness about how your home functions - which could save you a lot of money in catastrophic repairs.

Do Today: Easy Preventative Maintenence

  • Make Space: Clear a two-foot area around the major visible indoor and outdoor HVAC components (AC and heater)
    • Inside: move furniture, loose blankets or drapes, and storage items from vents and main heater
    • Outside: move or trim overgrown plants, move debris, yard, and sports equipment
  • Replace Air Filters:
    • Buy new high-efficiency filters (if you’re out)
    • Change out your air filter if you haven’t in a while (or ever)

Do Every Month:

Check for Leaks: Look at your AC refrigerant and condenser lines.

Do Every Three Months (Seasonal)

  • Replace your air filter
  • If you have a furnace humidifier, turn off its water in the summer
  • Turn on the humidifier water source and replace the filter every fall
  • If you live in a 4-season location:
    • Every fall: Cover your AC unit with a tarp or cover (whenever you stop using AC)
    • Every Spring: Remove the AC unit cover

Yearly HVAC Maintenance

  • Lubricate HVAC motor and inspect fan. Replace the belt if it's squeaking or not running well.
  • Check your AC unit outside. How does it look?
    • Is the AC unit on a level surface?
    • Does the AC fan move freely?
    • Is it the AC unit clear of debris?
  • Clean your AC drain line with bleach water to prevent clogs

Preventative maintenance is vital in any system with moving parts. You change the oil in your car to keep things working smoothly and to learn about other possible issues. Your HVAC system is no different. Experts suggest that the main HVAC components will last somewhere between 10 and 25 years. With regular preventative AC and heater maintenance, you should be able to detect the first signs of trouble before a large, expensive replacement causes systemic damage.

A preventative maintenance schedule is a vital step in keeping your home feeling comfortable. But what should you do when there’s a REAL problem with your HVAC system?

Should I Hire an HVAC Technician?

Many typical HVAC issues can be addressed with DIY skills. But if you find some heating and cooling elements to be too complex for your liking, there are professionals to help. HVAC technicians will have the correct tools and knowledge to troubleshoot your issue more quickly than most people can on their own.

Many people have scheduled HVAC checkups once a year or every other year. If you have an older HVAC system, it could be wise to have an HVAC professional go over your systems every spring and fall. 

HVAC Maintenance and Repairs

Preventative maintenance doesn’t cost a lot.

Air filters: $5-35/each

Bleach to clean drain lines: $5

Professional HVAC Service

A professional HVAC service call costs, on average, between $50 and $100. These are minimum "house call" costs. Some HVAC companies and big utility companies offer regular maintenance and service contracts for yearly or biannual service. HVAC insurance plans may also be a worthwhile expense if you are concerned about a big HVAC repair bill. These insurance plans are billed monthly or yearly; costs vary ($10-$40 a month).

Here are average repair and replacement costs for your HVAC system.

Heat System Repair and Replacement Costs:


Air Conditioner Repair and Replacement Costs:

Heat System Part Estimated Cost   AC System Part Estimated Cost
Blower motor (Repair) $150   Condensate drain tube (Replace) $20
Blower motor (Replace) $450   Condensate drain pump (Replace) $240 to $450
Thermostat (Replace)

$50 to $200+

  Drain pans  (Replace) $250 to $575
Furnace ignitor (Replace)

$300 to $400

  Flush drain line $75 to $250
Flame sensor (Repair) $80   Recharge refrigerant $250 to $750
Flame sensor (Replace)


  Refrigerant leak (Repair) $200 to $1,500
Heat exchanger (Repair)


  AC compressor (Replace) $1900
Heat exchanger (Replace)

$500 to $1,200


AC outdoor fan motor (Replace)

$200 to $650

Pressure sensor/circuit board (Repair)



Breakers, relays, or fuses (Replace)

$75 to $290

Gas valve (Replace)



Condenser coil (Replace)

$1,900 to $2,900

Smart valve (Replace)



AC outdoor fan motor (Replace)

$200 to $650

Draft inducer (Replace)

 $150 to $450


AC outdoor fan motor (Replace)

$200 to $650


These average replace and repair estimates are just that—estimates based on averages. Older or more obscure HVAC systems could be more costly to repair. But repair is almost always more financially sound than a complete HVAC system replacement, which can range between $6,000 and $15,000 on average (systems for large homes can cost much more).

So when should you call a professional HVAC repair company? Here are some signs that repair might be warranted

  • Split temperature (warm on one level - cold on another)
  • Poor airflow
  • The system turns on and off without reason
  • Fan system only blows warm air
  • Fan blows weakly
  • Energy bills are increasing unexpectedly
  • Loud operating volume or strange noises from the HVAC system

Your HVAC unit is important for you and your family. Prevent catastrophes and take necessary measures to stay safe and comfortable.

Source: HVAC.com

Myles Compton  Posted by Myles Compton on October 28, 2020

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