House & Home

Tidying up for fall? Don't forget HVAC

A visual inspection, cleaning and minor repair tune up for your HVAC system typically costs less than $90, just twice a year in fall and Spring, but gives enormous value to your family's comfort and peace of mind.

Posted Updated

Temperatures are dropping along with the leaves this month, and many homes are getting ready for cold winter weather. October is usually when homeowners turn on their furnaces for the first time, to ward off chilly fall evenings, and every year, my company sees a corresponding rise in calls for HVAC systems that aren’t heating homes well, or (worse yet) are refusing to heat at all.

Just Like Your Car, HVAC Systems Need Regular Maintenance

Most homeowners don’t think twice about performing regular maintenance on their car, doing oil changes or tune-ups every 2-3 months. And yet, when it comes to their homes, they neglect to perform regular and inexpensive maintenance on key systems like the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. A visual inspection, cleaning and minor repair tune up for your HVAC system typically costs less than $90, just twice a year in fall and Spring, but gives enormous value to your family’s comfort and peace of mind.

Keep a Reliably Comfortable Home

Your HVAC unit is the single most important system when it comes to your family’s comfort. Although we typically take it for granted that the furnace will kick in when the temperature drops, anyone who has suddenly had their furnace die out on a cold winter day can tell you that scrambling for an emergency HVAC repair service while the family is layering on sweaters in the living room is a terrible experience.

Regular fall and Spring tune-ups for your HVAC units can not only alert you to potential problems well in advance but also ensure that your system is working at peak efficiency, eliminating cold spots and giving you better air distribution throughout the home. The result - your family is kept warm and comfortable no matter how chilly it gets outside.

Protect Your Biggest Financial Investment

Your home is generally your most significant financial asset, and HVAC systems can cost $10,000 or more to replace. It makes good financial sense to maintain your systems with bi-annual tune-ups, ensure that you’re protecting your long-term investment and making sure this expensive system has a maximum lifespan for your home.

Perhaps more importantly, HVAC systems are the biggest energy consumers in your home, accounting for up to 50% of your total energy expenditures. Aside from the potential long-term costs of replacing a poorly maintained system, inefficient systems also cost you more each month to run. The smart homeowner monitors energy usage on a monthly basis to compare to previous years. It’s not uncommon for our customers to report 10-15% savings on their gas or electricity bills after they’ve had an HVAC tune-up performed.

More Than Comfort, More Than Savings

Aside from the improvements to your comfort and monthly savings that an HVAC tune-up can offer, there’s a wider benefit that my Green Horizon customers sometimes forget – an efficient home is better for our community.

All energy produced in North Carolina, in fact around the world, comes with an environmental cost or “carbon footprint”. Although utility companies like Duke Energy are making great leaps in producing lower pollution sources of energy like solar and wind power, it make sense to reduce our personal energy consumption at the home level first, as the easiest and most effective step to improving our environment. A well-maintained HVAC unit consumes less energy and has a longer lifetime before it has to be replaced, making it a green solution for everyone.

Don’t Put It Off

Whether you’re getting ready to book your regular fall maintenance or you’re just realizing now that it’s long overdue, use the season’s changing as a reminder to have your system serviced. It will pay off over the short and long term. You should also be on the look-out for incentives or rebates for HVAC maintenance. Progress Energy customers can get up to $90 back if they use an approved contractor to perform a spring or fall tune-up.

Bobby Ferrel is co-founder of Green Horizon, with offices in the Triangle and Charlotte, offering home owners and builders a one-stop shop for energy efficiency and green building.
Services include home performance assessments, weatherization, closed crawl spaces, all types of insulation, HVAC and geothermal installation and maintenance.
Reach Bobby directly at or visit him online at