How Often Do HVAC Systems Need Maintenance?

When it comes to HVAC systems, do you go by the philosophy “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” or “service your HVAC like it was your car”? Is it a waste of funds to have a maintenance plan? How often should I get my HVAC unit serviced?

Manufacturers and utility companies recommend having your HVAC system serviced by a professional once or twice a year. Older systems need more frequent attention to reduce failures. Climates that require heavier use to keep your home comfortable will wear your system quicker. Aged and heavy-use systems need to be serviced twice a year. Newer and low-to-moderate use systems are fine with just one maintenance per year.

Why is it recommended to have these regular HVAC maintenance routines? And should I opt for a cheaper annual tune-up? Or a complete maintenance twice a year? Let’s dig in and see what’s best for you…

Why regular servicing of heating and cooling system is recommended

There are many reasons why it’s recommended to service your HVAC system. You will lower your energy bills, help your system to last longer, and minimize expensive emergency calls. Most of all, you will know that your system is ready to take on even the most challenging of hot and cold days.

For a detailed look at our article, Why Have an HVAC Maintenance Plan (link to article). It dives deeper into all the benefits you get by regularly servicing your HVAC unit.

Should I service my HVAC system once or twice a year?

There are two major factors to deciding three frequency of servicing your HVAC unit:

  1. How much stress does my HVAC system get?
  2. How much stress can my HVAC system take?

How much stress does my heating and cooling system get?

One of the biggest factors in how much stress your system gets is the difference between the ambient temperature outside your house and the temperature you want your house to be. This represents how much work your system has to do to reach your desired comfort level.

And yes, it’s greatly dependent on your climate. Cold and hot climates stress the HVAC system more than temperate zones. Here in Halifax Virginia, we do see seasonal stressing of both heating and cooling systems. It not as bad as a couple of hours from here, once you get up into the mountains. But it is considerably more stress than places like the beaches of San Diego, where you could live comfortably without any HVAC at all. In our climate, many people only need a once-per-year HVAC maintenance.

If you don’t get regular maintenance, your system sees additional stress. This is because dirty filters, cooling fins and coils, and other parts make the system work much harder to do its job.

How much stress can my HVAC take?

The biggest factor here is the age of your unit. Most HVAC units are rated to last 10-15 years. As they wear, they become more fragile. Kind of like when we get more “mature,” we start needing more regular doctor checkups to keep us as healthy as possible.

There are other factors with how much stress it can take. Cheaper brands and entry-level models simply aren't built to handle the same stress as higher quality units. You may save yourself some cash up-front. But you may pay for it through either breakdowns and early replacements, or through maintenance costs. If you have a cheaper model HVAC unit, consider upping your maintenance to make sure it lasts as long as possible.

What level of HVAC maintenance plan should I get?

There are many options out there for HVAC service agreements. Some vary by frequency and some by the level of service. Here's how you can decide which maintenance plans best fits your needs…

A system that is less than five years old can run through thick and thin. Its parts are newer and less prone to failure. It does need an annual checkup and light maintenance. But it typically does not require a heavy maintenance, rebuild, or bi-annual servicing.

When your system is in the middle of its life-cycle, it needs a little more attention. Instead of a basic 21-point inspection, the entire system should be checked. A complete system cleaning is recommended.

Once your system is older than a decade, it's time to treat it more gingerly. That's when we recommend going to our twice-per-year Fantastic Maintenance. Keeping it in tip-top shape right before the heating season and the cooling season will help you feel secure that it will not fail when you need it most. This is when you also want to make sure all its parts are in good order, including the electrical system and attic or basement units.

Some HVAC companies will simply try to sell you the top-tier plan. Our motto is “Making Comfort Affordable.” For us at Solutions Heating and Cooling, it's not about selling you the most expensive plan. It's about providing you what you legitimately need.

In the end, overcharging you, or selling you what you don’t need isn’t going to make you happy. That’s why we don’t do that. It’s no wonder we have to best reputation in the southern Virginia regions of Danville, Halifax, South Boston, and Chase City.

Click here and see which HVAC service plan best fits your needs (link to maintenance service page)

Give us a call at (434) 222-0541.

Brianna or Jennifer will be glad to help you out.