Maintenance Series: Keep Your Cool All Summer

Now is a great time to perform the semi-annual maintenance of your HVAC system to make sure that your system is ready for the upcoming summer months.  I recommend that you obtain a contract with an HVAC specialist for this maintenance, which is generally done in March/April (to prepare for the summer months) and then again inAugust/September (to prepare for the winter months).  Take care of your HVAC and it will take care of you when you need it most.

Proper HVAC system maintenance includes checking, cleaning, and replacing filters, making sure that system fluid levels are appropriate, and making sure that the system electronics, thermostats, fans, ductwork are all in efficient, working order.  Another advantage to having an annual contract is that you get priority treatment for emergency maintenance.  That is an exceptionally good thing to have when your system malfunctions during extremely hot (or very cold) weather.

Don’t forget that maintaining your system not only helps assure peak cooling performance over the summer, but also helps assure a longer system life to avoid premature replacement.  The cost of energy is expected to continue rising at a higher rate, and a new system is already expensive enough if you’ve purchased one lately. Spend a little now or spend a lot later on.

At Helfrich-Associates, we are often hired to specify new HVAC systems after they have been damaged by structure fires.  The most common damage (even for small fires) is smoke and ash that can affect the ductwork and the air-handling systems (fans).  If you’ve had a fire, contact us if you’re looking for expert advice to make sure the job is done right the first time.

After a fire, specialty restoration companies will determine if a system can be cleaned and deodorized, or if the system should be replaced.  If a new system is warranted, Title 24 HVAC requirements will apply to the design and installation of the new system.  The key elements of this requirement for the fire repair projects that we are involved with include:

  • Window energy efficiency
  • Sizing of the HVAC system
  • Duct testing to ensure no air leakage

The many new energy efficiency requirements and how to implement them best can be confusing  after a disaster or if you’re restoring an old house or planning to expand the size of your current home.  For example, do you need dual systems or will one system be adequate.  As structural engineers with design-build experience, we can help you make the right decisions to make sure the solution is just right to meet your needs.

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