3 Things that happen when you DON’T maintain your HVAC system

You’ve probably heard it a lot. “Your HVAC system and your car have a lot of similarities”. Why do people so often make this comparison? Well because your car and your HVAC system have one very big thing in common, they both NEED proper maintenance! Think about it, you’d never drive your car 100,000 miles without getting it inspected and having your oil change. Same goes for your Air Conditioner and Furnace. Think about those hot summer days and brutally cold winter nights. Your system is getting quite a workout! By properly maintaining your system, you are actively protecting your home and family’s investment. So what happens when you DON’T maintain that investment?

  1. You are practically ensuring premature equipment failure. We hear it a lot from customers “But getting maintenance done on a system that’s working properly is expensive and what’s the point?”. If you let your system run day after day and season after season without having it looked at, the only warning you will have if something is wrong is minutes or hours before the system shuts down and you are stuck without any working heat or air. A good system can last anywhere from 10-15 years and without proper maintenance, you could significantly cut down on it’s life which ends up being more expensive for you and your family.
  2. Your system isn’t running at it’s highest efficiency. The short answer, it’s costing you more money. When one of our technicians comes to your home, they run through our 16 point inspection plan to make sure every nook and cranny of your system is performing at peak efficiency. That leads to your system heating up or cooling down your home in less time which means less expense!
  3. Breakdowns WILL happen. Much like premature equipment failure, breakdowns can be expensive! Not only can they be expensive and inconvenient, but the worst time to have a system breakdown is when you need it most, in the dead of winter. Most companies will guarantee that with regular and proper maintenance from a trusted contractor, you will NOT see a breakdown all season. We often receive calls from people who are upset that their system is failing them and when we ask when the last time they have their furnace looked at we get the same response, “Um, never?”. Bottom line? Maintenance prevents breakdowns!

If you want to know more about what Cottam can do for the comfort of your home going into this winter season, give us a call! (800) 734-8367 or visit us online at http://www.cottamhvac.com!


Back to Cool: 10 Ways to Prep Your Home for Lower Temps


You can shut your windows against the cold, but unless they’re properly sealed, they won’t keep it out. Weatherproofed windows offer more than just personal comfort—they’re a sure way to lower winter energy costs as well. To seal your windows, apply weatherstripping around the edges. For extra protection against the cold, consider coating the panes with insulating film to keep the cool air out and the warm air in.

Get Your Ducts in a Row

If you’re living with leaky ductwork, you might as well just put a hole through your wallet. Improperly sealed ducts can lead to the loss of as much as 30 percent of the heated air that passes through, which means that you may be paying for a whole lot more heat than you’re getting. Before you switch on the furnace this fall, take some time to identify any leaks in your ductwork. Call in a pro to test your system and make any necessary repairs. A little investment now can save you money and energy later.

Get Insulated

Everyone knows the secret to staying warm is bundling up. The same goes for your house: It needs adequate insulation to help it keep out cold air. Perform a basic check of your attic insulation to make sure you have enough. The amount of insulation your home needs will depend on the region in which you live and your home’s heating system. Consult a local expert, or refer to an online insulation map to help you determine whether or not to add more insulation to your home this fall.

Check the Fireplace

A crackling fire is a welcome sight when the temperature drops, but it’s best to kindle one only in a well-maintained fireplace. Before you light up this year, consider having the chimney professionally cleaned to remove built-up creosote and ash from the interior walls and venting portion of the chimney. As well, check the exterior of the chimney for cracks, and make repairs to the masonry using the appropriate materials. If necessary, add or replace the chimney cap to keep out branches, debris, or unwanted visitors of the four-legged or winged varieties.

Service the Furnace

A furnace will usually last between 15 and 20 years. If yours is getting up there in age, it may be wise to replace it now rather than risk a breakdown in the depths of winter. Look for an Energy Star-rated model that will run more efficiently, saving you money on utility bills in the process. Another bonus: You may qualify for up to $500 in tax credits if you upgrade to an energy-efficient unit, which could be a real boon come tax season.

Clear the Air

Perhaps the simplest and most budget-friendly thing you can do to prepare for cooler temps: Change your furnace filter. A dirty, clogged filter makes your system work harder to push air through, thereby overworking your system and driving up your bills. Change your air filters monthly to keep your furnace—and your wallet—happy.

Swap Your Fabrics

Cozy up to cooler temperatures by switching out your bedding and window treatments. Strip your bed of cool-weather linens, and break out the flannel sheets, wool blankets, and down comforters. Similarly, if your windows have been dressed with sun-loving sheers all summer long, consider switching to a thicker material that will do a better job of blocking the cold—think duck cloth, velvet, and other heavy textiles.

Prep Your Radiator

When not in use, a hot-water radiator will fill with air, and that can cause problems when you switch it on after months of inactivity. Before turning on your system for the season, bleed the lines of any air. To do so, switch on the heat and the radiator. Locate the vent at the top of the radiator, unscrew it, and let the hot steam escape. Once the trapped air is gone, water will begin to drip out of the radiator. Catch the water with a cup, and screw the vent cap back into place.

Drain Your Water Lines

Just as you need to bleed your radiator pipes of air, you need to bleed your backyard pipes of water. Autumn is the perfect time to drain a sprinkler system of standing water, which can burst pipes as it freezes and expands. Using either a manual or automatic drain valve or compressed air, remove the water from the pipes. When spring arrives, you’ll have no trouble getting things flowing again to keep your garden green all summer long.

Pack Up the Patio

Time to put outdoor furniture back indoors—for now. Wipe down plastic patio furniture, rub wicker with tung oil, and check metal chairs and tables for signs of rust. After the furniture is clean and dry, fold it up and place it in the garage, shed, or basement to overwinter. If you don’t have space to store patio furniture indoors, consider purchasing all-season covers made of vinyl or plastic that can provide a modest amount of protection from winter rain and sun.