Repair or Replace? HVAC Inspection is the First Step to Preparing for a Comfortable Summer
As homeowners, we don’t often think about our HVAC systems until we need them. Preventative maintenance may be a no brainer for our automobiles but we often neglect tune-ups for this critical home equipment until it’s too late, as anyone who’s returned home to a frigid or sweltering home will readily tell you. This negligence is especially true in the summer, when the days warm steadily before that first jolt of uncomfortable heat taxes the air conditioning unit for the first time. Suddenly, our forgotten AC units are asked to produce and push cooler air throughout our homes. And, as you would suspect, the first heatwave of summer is not a great time to call an overtaxed HVAC company already cranking in high gear to fix or worse, replace, all those other exhausted units. No, the best way to schedule an inspection and maintenance appointment is in fact right now.
With average high temperatures in the 90’s, residents of the Sacramento Valley and surrounding communities are certainly experienced with summer heat. Fortunately, whether you live in the Capital Region, Stockton, Modesto or Vacaville, Bell Brothers has provided HVAC maintenance and installations. Since 1991, Kenny and Jerry Bell have earned their reputation as “The No Surprise Guys” by eliminating all hidden fees in conjunction with exceptional service. Customers have clearly taken notice, Bell Brothers has grown into a 200-employee business offering all components of home maintenance, including insulation, plumbing, windows and sewers in addition to comprehensive heating and cooling services.
The Elk Grove natives have also created The Bell Brothers Blog, a go-to resource of information for anyone interested in the details of home maintenance. A recent entry, “11 Best HVAC System Upgrades and Modifications” details every element of an efficient and healthy system from filters to UV light to air scrubbers. If some of these concepts sound foreign to you relax, a Bell Brothers technician will walk you through all the ways to improve your home air environment as part of a routine HVAC inspection.
Sometimes a home HVAC system requires more than a HEPA filter or air ionizer replacement. Regular inspection and maintenance can help alleviate surprise costs or worse, a full replacement at the worst possible time. There are several indicators it may be time to replace your AC unit. Most air conditioners last about 15 years however, like many cars at 100,000 miles, homeowners often face more expensive repairs beginning after ten years. Accordingly, if your unit still uses R22 Freon you should consider switching to a less expensive, more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Your energy bills may have also started to rise significantly, a bottom-line sign your unit is losing efficiency as it struggles to cool your home. Given the significant evolution in just the past few years of highly efficient AC units, it may ultimately save you money to replace your AC system sooner than later. Of course, you should also consider replacement in the face of any expensive repair. A technician can walk you through an equation (Basically, cost of repair multiplied by age of unit minus the cost of new AC unit.) to provide the best perspective for your decision. Frequent breakdowns are another indication it may be time to replace rather than repair, again!
Naturally, cost and comfort are the two main factors to consider when deciding to repair or replace your AC system. Ryan Mark, a Bell Brothers service technician, considers this question constantly when servicing customers. In the summer, however, his primary goal is to provide swift comfort to clients, often at the worst possible time, a sweltering day.
“A lot of the time my workday consists of going out when it’s extremely hot outside and fixing people’s air conditioners,” he explains. “Our goal is to get them online as soon possible. You see [the customers] and they are super stressed out, oh man it is 110 degrees outside and 90 degrees inside the house, and we’re sweating inside, just to get them some temporary cooling so they have one less thing to stress about throughout the summertime.”
Like all Bell Brothers technicians, Ryan believes its best to provide more information, not less for his clients so they can best understand each component of the situation without any cost or parts surprises. “Ryan came to our home to look at our 30-year old system, which was a mess,” recalls Ken Buck, a mechanical engineer. “He asked if it was okay for him to explain to me how the gas system worked and what the problems were…Ryan was great at being a ‘teacher’ as well as our service tech.”
Kenny and Jerry Bell learned the value of such high-quality service watching their father, a local dentist, interact with his patients. The boys would go to their dad’s office before school to empty wastebaskets and other small tasks. They also witnessed their father taking the time to explain the exact dental situation and solution to each patient, an invaluable lesson in building doctor-patient honesty that translated easily into business-client trust. They “tested” this philosophy when they opened Pizza Bell in the 1980s, their first enterprise, promising to give customers 100% satisfaction every time. This remains the core value at Bell Brothers HVAC almost three decades later. Visit the Bell Brothers website to learn more and schedule your HVAC inspection, before the summer heats up.