Spring Is Sprung:  Will Your HVAC Survive Summer? 

Who doesn’t love Spring in Southern California? Early March cool turns warmer and brings colorful bulbs to bloom, tea in a rose garden, a winery tasting before lunch, family get-togethers, and so on. The beauty of nature at this time of year is enough to distract anyone, but don’t forget about your Spring Cleaning.  Be sure your list includes looking at your Helfrich Associates annual home maintenance calendar.

In April, we recommend homeowners schedule a semi-annual HVAC maintenance appointment. Call your favorite HVAC firm, set up or renew a maintenance contract and schedule a service call.  These contracts typically include two inspections and seasonal maintenance (Spring and late Summer). Why two inspections?  Your HVAC system is really two systems in one (heating and air conditioning).

Your Spring-cleaning HVAC service call helps prepare your air conditioner for the hot summer months ahead from May through September.  It’s time to change your air filters, check thermostats and compressor electronics, inspect ducts for dust and find any coolant gas leaks that reduce efficiency or condenser fluid leaks that could damage your ceiling or roof.

Take care of your HVAC now when it matters, and you’ll be sitting and sipping something cool all summer long. Another advantage to an annual contract is that you often get priority treatment for emergency repairs. Summer is when everyone calls who didn’t pay for Spring maintenance, and then the appointment times are longer because the repairs are more complex and you’re left sweating it out.

Don’t forget that maintaining your system not only helps assure peak cooling performance over the summer (lower utility bills), but also helps assure a longer system life to avoid premature replacement.  The cost of energy is now rising due to inflation at a higher rate than in recent memory, and a new system is already more expensive after Covid if you’ve looked into purchasing one lately. Spend a little now or spend a lot later on.

At Helfrich-Associates, we are often asked to specify new HVAC systems after catastrophic events or failures such as fires, roof or ceiling sags or ceiling condensation fluid leaks. The most common damage (even for small fires) is smoke and ash that can affect the ductwork and the air-handling systems (fans).  We know where to look so that you’re sure everything is fixed right the first time. Our structural engineering expertise can help your find the most effective and economical solution to a number of common home repair issues.

If you’ve had a fire, the roof is sagging, or the ceiling shows water marks, now is definitely the best time to call Helfrich Associates before you purchase a new roof, ceiling or HVAC system.  Many times homeowner insurance companies ask us to consult in these unfortunate situations. For example, we consider whether smoke remediation included the ductwork, if the new system is installed to the current building codes for your electrical panel, if your roof or attic ceiling structure will bear the load of the specified new system and the effectiveness of cost trade-offs.

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