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Brown Mechanical Stresses Importance of Seasonal Servicing for Air Conditioners

May 04, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Everyone knows it’s essential to change the oil in their vehicle.

Not everyone realizes the importance of servicing their home’s air conditioner on an annual basis.

The benefits of both maintenance measures are much the same — ranging from improved performance to extended lifespan.

“It’s the very same concept,” said Jacqueline Corkle, office manager for Brown Mechanical Services Ltd. and their team of plumbing, heating and air conditioning specialists throughout the Okanagan from Vernon to Penticton and beyond. “I always equate it to a car. If you do not go and get your oil changed every ‘X’ amount of kilometres, you will not get the longevity out of your car. You just simply won’t. And if you don’t ever do it, your car’s engine will seize and you will ultimately have to purchase a new car. That is the one example that I feel 100 per cent of the population understands.”

As for how that analogy applies to air conditioning units, Corkle continued: “They all need to be cleaned and serviced regularly. Not just for better efficiency and to make it function properly every season, but it extends the life — and it can extend it by up to half if you do an annual service. You could add half the lifespan of whatever particular unit you have.”

Much like changing oil in a vehicle, this type of servicing is proactive and preventative while providing peace of mind.

“Doing an annual service for less than $130, the amount of money you will save yourself in the long term is exponential,” Corkle said. “Otherwise, you will not get the longevity out of your unit that you spent a lot of money installing in the first place. And the servicing prevents you from having to purchase an expensive unit prematurely.

“We do have our core clientele who have been doing their annual service with us for 20-plus years. They keep coming back because they see the benefits of annual servicing.”

However, the majority of people don’t know the importance or don’t prioritize until it is too late. Asked what percentage of the population is aware that they need to service their air conditioners annually, Corkle responded: “Extremely low. Homeowners, I would estimate 40 per cent (know of the need) and 20 of those 40 actually have annual servicing done.”

There can be consequences and complications from failing to service an air conditioning unit — and those tend to happen at the worst times.

“It always happens that way — seems as if, without fail, it’s a Sunday or a long weekend and 35-degrees outside when you’re A/C breaks down,” Corkle said with a half-hearted laugh. “If you do have your unit serviced annually, it will prevent this from happening — and you’re not creating a potential emergency for yourself, which can be very stressful and costly.”

So, what does this servicing entail? It is quite extensive — yet relatively inexpensive.

“Generally speaking, it’s a call-out fee, one hour (of labour), a new filter, inspection of the fan, oil the bearings, and check all the electrical components,” Corkle said. “In some cases, there are condensate pumps that need to be cleaned out before they potentially flood an area due to blockage.”

That sounds similar to the car tune-ups that take place twice a year. With air conditioners, it is only required once a year — preferably prior to turning on the unit for the first time in the spring.

“This is the time — people should be on it right now,” Corkle said of beating the rush rather than waiting for the first heat wave in the same sense as waiting for the first snowfall to put on winter tires. “Do it now while we can get you in, because in July when you suddenly decide to do it, it might be a week before we can get to you. Because at that time — in June, July and August — we go by priority. That is how we run our operation.”

Servicing can also improve air quality and air flow, which is essential in the present with more people working from home and spending time indoors.

“If annual services are not performed, your air quality may not be as good in the home. And the pollutants that are in your house can be far worse than what’s outside if it’s not filtered correctly,” Corkle said. “Air flow within the house and through your ducting, the potential is there to have pet dander, allergens, mold spores and environmental pollutants, which are bad right now. A lot of people have hay fever, for example, then the minute they turn their air conditioning or furnace on, it simply blows all of it around your home — creating very poor indoor air quality."


“Because of the COVID-19 virus right now — especially for people who are immunocompromised — it is extremely important to service your air conditioning and furnace annually.”

The assessment of air quality and extent of action can vary from one home to the next — and one household to the next.

“It is based on what your needs are,” Corkle said. “Poor air quality comes in different forms. It’s not just pollutants in the air but can also be caused by air moisture levels in the home. We do have different levels of filters and various air quality products — like humidifiers and dehumidifiers — that can help the individual homeowner with their needs.”

Vernon Mechanical Services

Brown Mechanical Services’ head office is based in Vernon, located at 1001 Kalamalka Lake Road, and open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and to book appointments, visit their website at brown-mechanical.ca, contact them by phone at 250-545-4211 or by email at info@brown-mechanical.ca.

Penticton and Summerland Mechanical Services

Brown Mechanical has specialists in Penticton (250-492-3133) and Summerland (250-494-3133), who can also be reached by email at info@brown-mechanical.ca. For more information and to book appointments, visit their website at brown-mechanical.ca.

 

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