Your HVAC system plays a vital role in keeping your home comfortable. It serves to look after it to make sure that your home stays safe and fully covered by your insurance, as a poorly maintained HVAC system can lead to severe problems that can damage your home with electrical fires or water damage.

Learn how to manage over your home’s central heating and cooling systems, as well as the factors that will determine whether your insurance policy covers HVAC problems.

What are the most common HVAC problems that can put my home at risk?

Overheating and melting wires can cause electrical fires. Ensure that you give wires plenty of room to breathe and let off heat without coming into contact with flammable materials. An HVAC technician should also inspect your system’s cables and electrical connections to look for any damaged components that need replacing.

Furnaces can leak dangerous carbon monoxide, which can be lethal in large amounts, and clogged exhaust systems or blocked vents can also trap harmful gases in your home. Inspect your outdoor vents, install carbon monoxide alarms, and have a professional inspect your furnace for gas leaks.

A dirty condenser or evaporator coils cause inefficiency in your system too. Excess debris in your HVAC system, whether from dirty filters or coils, can lead to higher energy bills and breakdowns. You can clean outdoor air conditioner coils with a hose after turning off your air condenser’s power supply, but keeping your indoor evaporator coil clean and as dust-free as possible is also essential for both furnace and air conditioner maintenance.

Rusted air conditioner coils can leak, causing long-term water damage to the area surrounding your AC unit. Inspect and clean drainage systems with water mixed with vinegar or bleach to avoid leaks, clogs, mould, and bacteria build-up.

What else can I do to maintain my HVAC system?

Inspect your air filter once a month to improve the air quality and efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. If it looks discoloured or clogged with debris, change it. Even if your air filter looks clean, you should change it once every six months at least. Also, ensure that you match the direction of your system’s airflow with the arrow on your replaceable filter.

  • If the thermostat temperature doesn’t match your home’s temperature, check your owner’s manual to see if you can diagnose the issue or call a technician for further investigation.
  • Make sure that your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels are maintained. Continually needing a top-up on refrigerant is a sign that you need to check for leaks!
  • HVAC systems are a complicated component of your home’s infrastructure. HVAC maintenance is best left to the professionals for quick and safe repairs.
  • System ignition problems require investigation of parts of your furnace that process potentially dangerous gas and electrical elements.
  • A technician can ensure that your evaporator drain lines, drain pan, heat exchanger, and collector box are all leak-free.

Mechanical components like belts, bearings, and motors should be inspected and serviced at least once a year. Sometimes unusual noises coming from your furnace or air conditioning unit can warn that a mechanical failure is imminent.

In addition to problems with the breaker itself, clogged air filters, dirty coils, and leaks, can cause blown fuses and trip circuit breakers. If you don’t trust your ability to investigate electrical issues, your HVAC technician can help.

Will my home insurance policy pay for HVAC system repairs or replacement?

Like with all insurance matters, the answer to this question depends on the type of home insurance coverage you have and the circumstances that caused the damage to your HVAC system. All-risk home insurance policies will cover damage to your home and property (including external AC units) from perils that aren’t explicitly excluded—but that doesn’t include wear and tear.

For example, suppose heavy rains flood your basement and damage your furnace. In that case, you’ll only be covered for its replacement if you have overland flood insurance included in your policy. The same applies to events such as a fire, wind or hail storm damage, falling trees, theft, vandalism, if you have the appropriate types of coverage. On the other hand, if your HVAC system malfunctions due to its age or a lack of maintenance, your home insurance policy won’t pay out to have it repaired or replaced.

You may also be wondering, “What about insurance if my HVAC system malfunctions and damages part of my home?” As with the scenario discussed above, you will probably have to pay for the damages if your HVAC system does not receive adequate yearly maintenance.

The difference is that wear and tear are part of the home owner’s maintenance responsibilities, which make them preventable. Suppose your claim adjuster determines that your HVAC malfunction was sudden and accidental. In that case, you are more likely to be covered by your home insurance policy. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurer for coverage specifics.

Maintaining your HVAC system and scheduling regular professional inspections is crucial to ensure your home’s safety and the effectiveness of your home insurance policy coverage. Scheduling HVAC inspections twice a year in the spring and fall will give you peace of mind. It will also help you avoid the need for emergency service calls during the extreme temperatures of summer and winter.

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