Frederick Air, Inc
3 King Avenue
Frederick, MD 21701
Phone: (301) 663-0300
Business Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Evening and Weekends Available by Appointment
Need a Service Call or New System Installation?
We want to make it affordable and easy to have your HVAC equipment serviced or repaired. Should you need a new AC installation or a new heater, we'll work with you to stay within your budget.
Our knowledgeable staff is ready with the latest information about programs that you can take advantage of to save you money on new heating and cooling equipment for your home.
Call us today to discuss our flexible financing options. Keep your system running in tip-top condition and stay cool and comfortable all year long.
Be sure to print out our Internet coupons where you can find money-saving discounts on products and services.
24 Hour Service
Our friendly technicians are available 24 hours a day for your emergency service needs. Simply give Frederick Air, Inc a call, day or night, and let one of our technicians help you with your problem. We are always here to assist you.
How to Prepare Your HVAC System for the Next Season
Frederick Air | September 19, 2017
A mid-season breakdown of the HVAC system can be a big disaster. Besides the inconvenience and discomfort, you are likely to pay a premium for emergency repairs. Heating and cooling systems need regular maintenance and pre-season inspections. The best time to do this is a few weeks before the onset of summer or winter. To ensure trouble-free performance, you need a combination of simple do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance and expert servicing.
Check the filters
Air filters reduce the amount of dust and other contaminants in your home and protect the HVAC system. Filters get clogged up with use and should be replaced on time. A clogged filter obstructs airflow and makes the system work harder. Poor airflow results in inefficient operation, wasted energy and increased risk of a major breakdown. According to experts, replacing air filters in time can save up to 15 percent of your energy bills. Dirty filters may also release trapped dust into your home and increase the risk of health problems like allergy and asthma.
Most air filters last for about three months, but this can vary. When it comes to filter life, go by the manufacturer's guidelines or your HVAC contractor's advice. Replace a filter if it is close to, or beyond, the end of its useful life. Always use an OEM or compatible filter and follow the manufacturer's instructions for filter replacement.
Check the thermostat
The thermostat is like the steering wheel of your HVAC system, and just as it's hard to keep a car on the road if the steering wheel misbehaves, a faulty HVAC system will not be able to maintain the intended temperature. A malfunctioning thermostat can also make the system shut down and restart frequently, resulting in inefficiency and high energy bills.
With age, thermostats also tend to get inaccurate. If your thermostat is inaccurate, your HVAC contractor should be able to recalibrate it. If it old or faulty, it's better to replace it with a programmable thermostat.
Thermostat technology has evolved over time, and newer models offer better features that save more energy. A programmable thermostat allows you to change the temperature or turn the system on or off according to a preset schedule. For example, you can reduce the heat at night when everyone is under blankets, or turn off the AC when no one is at home. Most programmable thermostats have a separate settings for summer and winter. Ensure that you select the right program for the upcoming season. If you have a battery-powered thermostat, change the battery if required.
Check the outdoor unit
If your HVAC system has an outdoor unit, it must be clean and the area around it must be clear. Dirt on the unit prevents efficient heat exchange. Plant growth or junk piled near it can obstruct air circulation, resulting in poor performance and increased risk of pest infestation.
Remove weeds, trim bushes and prune branches that may impede airflow. Switch off the system and wipe the coils and other surfaces with a wet cloth to remove any accumulated dust or dirt. If you see any signs of pests, such as food, droppings or nests, remove them. Remember to have the system checked again for further signs during the pre-season inspection.
Check the ducts and chimneys
As air is forced through the ducts, the inner surfaces gather dust. If there is a lot of dust, it will eventually find its way into your home. With time and use, ducts can begin to leak as their joints become loose or develop gaps, allowing conditioned air to escape. Cracks or gaps in external ducts will also give an easy entry for insects, birds and rodents.
Get the ducts cleaned and have them checked for pest infestations every year. It is also important to check the chimney for soot buildup that can cause a chimney fire and obstructions that can restrict airflow and increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and highly toxic gas which kills over 400 people every year.
Clean the vents
Dust accumulated on vents can be easily removed using a vacuum cleaner. Clean both intake and outlet vents. If you suspect that the airflow is blocked, look for obstructions. If there is no airflow from an outlet, despite a clear duct and vent, get it checked as soon as possible. To ensure good air circulation, vents should not be blocked by furniture. Blocked vents or poor airflow can make the compressor trip or overheat the furnace.
Check the insulation
Good isolation between indoor and outdoor air reduces energy consumption and improves performance. Poorly insulated homes increase the load on HVAC systems, which not only take longer to heat or cool, but also consume up to 15 percent more energy.
Use weatherstripping and caulking on doors and windows to prevent leaks. This is an easy and economical method to improve insulation. Check the areas around the doors and windows for drafts. If you find air escaping or entering the home through the edges, seal it using weatherstripping. Check the crawl spaces and the attic for leaks or poor insulation, and get it fixed.
Call your contractor for service
A pre-season inspection and tune-up by a technician ensures that the system is ready for the upcoming season. It's best to do this in spring and fall. Most contractors will be busy during the summer and winter. If the system has to be shut down for repairs, it is better to do it when the weather is comfortable.
Before the inspection, inform your HVAC technician about any known issues like pest infestations, duct leakages, insulation problems, abnormal noises and blocked ducts or air vents. Your technician will examine the entire system and do the necessary maintenance or repairs. Expect the technician to check the following:
- Thermostat condition and calibration.
- Risk of carbon monoxide.
- The condition of the compressor or furnace, depending on the upcoming season.
- Filters and water panels.
- Duct condition, duct blockages, leaks and signs of pest infestation.
- Electrical connections, motors, fans and other moving parts.
If heating or cooling is critical during a season, get your HVAC system checked well before it starts. Keeping the system in good condition requires both routine maintenance and professional service. This ensures efficient operation and reduces the chances of a mid-season breakdown or costly repairs.
Give us a call at 301-663-0300 if you have any questions about your HVAC system.