CAS Award for Best of Essex 2018 in the areas of Air Conditioning & Heating

Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

Feb 7, 2019 | Cooling, Heating

You may be wondering how to extend the life of your HVAC system. It runs year-round, day and night, and at that pace, it won’t last forever. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 12 to 15 years, and furnaces usually last about 20. If you stay in one home for long enough, system replacement is inevitable.

It’s also one of the more expensive home maintenance tasks you’re likely to face as a homeowner.  You’re going to want to delay that inevitability as long as possible.  Replacing a broken HVAC system isn’t one of those jobs you can put off until a rainy day.  It’s essential to have a plan to replace your system before it breaks down for good.

Working with your current HVAC heating and air conditioning system

If you’re good to your HVAC system, it will be good to you. It’s not unheard of for air conditioners and furnaces to last for many years beyond their average lifespans. But even a long system life can come with its own costs.

As your equipment ages, even if it’s well cared for, it will suffer reduced energy efficiency. This will cause your utility bills to creep up gradually. And individual parts will all meet their maker at some point, so you’re likely to spend more on emergency repairs once your system reaches its golden years.

What’s more, while your system is giving you all those years of excellent service, HVAC technology is always on the march. By the time you’re ready for replacement, the latest HVAC systems will inevitably be more efficient than your old system was when it was brand new.  The difference could be significant.

CAS’s seven critical tips to extend the life of your HVAC system:

  1. CAS is your local heating and cooling specialist and offers the Home Comfort Club, so go ahead, schedule two tune-ups per year.

HVAC systems aren’t particularly high maintenance, but routine heating & air conditioning services are still essential. Your air conditioner and furnace should both be inspected, cleaned and tuned up every year. It’s best to schedule your A/C service in spring.  An A/C tune up in spring means that your system will be optimized for efficiency the first day you need it. A furnace tune-up is best done in the late summer or early fall.    If a severe problem is discovered, you can deal with it before it comes time to switch systems.  Having both services done in the course of the year will provide you with a better heating and air conditioning experience.

CAS offers the Home Comfort Club to protect your most valuable assets with tune-ups that include a thorough inspection and lubrication of all moving parts.  Other Home Comfort Club tasks include cleaning the condenser, clearing buildup out of the condensate drain tube, checking refrigerant levels and replacing filters.  We also check the heat exchanger for cracks and other tasks that make your system safer, more efficient and longer-lasting.

  1. Change the filter regularly.

Though your HVAC technician will check your filters during your twice-annual checkups.  This task is really up to the homeowner the rest of the time. Most homeowners use disposable 30-day fiberglass filters or 3-month pleated filters, and these should be checked regularly. If they’re seriously dirty, they should be replaced, even if it’s ahead of schedule.

A dirty air filter means that your HVAC system has to work harder to circulate air throughout your home. This can be especially taxing on the fan, but the whole system can suffer when it can barely breathe.

  1. Get a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats, the latest in thermostat technology, are easy to program and control from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. Some models can even learn your HVAC habits and schedule, so they can make energy-saving adjustments without any additional programming at all.

Best of all,  if you choose wisely, your smart thermostat can qualify for a BGE rebate.  The BGE Energy Star rebate can kick-start your savings!  When it’s easier to micromanage your thermostat settings, it’s easier to use your system less. That will make it last longer.

  1. Use the “auto” fan setting.

Most HVAC systems have two fan settings. “Auto” instructs the fan to run only when the system is actively heating or cooling.  “On” instructs the fan to run continuously. Some systems have dual-speed fans, which allow for a slower, more energy-efficient fan setting between heating and cooling cycles.

There are benefits to using the “on” setting. If you use a supplemental heat source such as a woodstove, keeping the fan in the “on” setting will help to circulate the warmth throughout the house.  Keeping the fan in the “on” setting also helps the filter trap more dust.  In homes with people who have respiratory sensitivities or allergies, it can improve air quality. A major disadvantage is that it forces the system to work harder, and that shaves time off of its life. It also leads to filters that clog up faster.  If you don’t change them regularly, you could be taxing your system.

  1. Check up on your condenser.

Somewhere outside your home is your air conditioner’s condenser, which is built to stand up to the elements. It can, however, become damaged from hail or windblown debris from severe storms. Every once in a while, and especially after every significant storm, look over your condenser for signs of damage.

While you’re at it, be sure to clear away any accumulation of leaves or weeds on or around the condenser. If vegetation is growing right next to the unit, cut it down. Your condenser needs room to breathe, too.

If you have male dogs, you should consider putting a low fence a foot or two around the condenser to prevent them from peeing on it.  Pet urine can severely damage your unit in a hurry, which can mean that it will need to be replaced prematurely.

  1. Upgrade your insulation.

The less often your HVAC system runs, the longer it will last. And in the struggle to keep your treated air inside your home, insulation is your best friend.

The most important place to check for sufficient insulation is in your attic. The Environmental Protection Agency’s insulation climate map recommends that attics in our area be insulated with R38 – R60 insulation, with R30 – R38 in cathedral ceilings.

If you have insufficient insulation throughout your home, it may also be worthwhile to insulate your basement or add more insulation into wall cavities.  The EPA insulation guide for our area recommends insulating with R13 – R15 in wall cavities, and R25 – R30 in floor spaces.  The best way to locate and evaluate your weak insulation spots is to schedule a professional energy audit.

  1. Take other steps to ease the burden on your system.

Ceiling fan summer/ Ceiling fan winter –  Don’t stop with just the smart thermostat; give your system a break by using your ceiling fans during hot weather to stay cool while pushing the temperature a little higher. Not sure what your ceiling fans settings should be?  During the summer you want the fan to blow air straight down, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a counter clockwise direction as you look up at it. The warmer it is, the higher the speed should be. During the winter, your fan should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction at a low speed to pull cool air up. The gentle updraft pushes warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, down along the walls and back the floor.

Shades/ Curtains – Invest in reflective shades to block out unwanted heat from the sun.  Then, in winter, throw those shades open to let the free heat pour in, and use sweaters and blankets to stay comfortable while setting the thermostat a little lower.

When to Replace Your HVAC System

Taking great care of your HVAC system is half the battle — and replacing it at the right time is the other half.

None of us can predict the future, so it can be tricky to make sure you get the most extended possible life out of your equipment while also avoiding the costs of efficiency losses and parts replacement due to age. The best way to estimate the ideal time for replacement is to choose a reliable HVAC company to perform your preventative maintenance and ask for their input. Be honest with them about the maintenance you’ve performed as a homeowner — if you’ve been lax about replacing the filter, for example, or if you frequently use the “on” fan setting. If you trust your HVAC technician, their opinion is the most valuable.

Things to Consider When Replacing Your HVAC System

There are a couple of other key considerations to make long before you buy a new system.

  1. Know your system size. First, you should know what size system you need, and for that, you’ll need HVAC professionals to conduct a process called “load calculation” for your home. If this is already done, and there have been no significant upgrades to your house since it was last done, you shouldn’t need to do it again.
  2. Do you need to replace both the AC and furnace? The second decision is whether to replace both of your systems at once. If both are due for replacement around the same time, you may be able to save big by replacing them simultaneously. But if that would mean replacing a system that has a lot of life left, it might not be the cost-conscious move.
  3. Plan Ahead. Once you know approximately when you’d like to replace your system, identify a 12 to 18-month window in which you plan to get it done. By saving up money in the meantime, you can hopefully avoid financing costs and pay for your new system upfront.  And, by choosing a lengthy period in which to make your purchase, you can stake out the best sales.

Just because HVAC system replacement is expensive doesn’t mean it has to be nerve-wracking. Make a plan now so you can anticipate this inevitable upgrade, and you can effortlessly reset the clock for another 15 to 20 years.

When You Just Can’t Wait

At Contemporary Air Systems we know budgets can only stretch so far, especially if HVAC equipment turns out to be an emergency purchase. We’re pleased to offer you the ability to pay over time on your HVAC equipment purchase with financing options to fit any budget. We offer a number of financing options which can provide you with peace of mind without worrying about a possible budget-breaking installation. Your family members can enjoy the indoor comfort of your home as always.

With approved credit, you’ll enjoy:
convenient monthly payments
flexible financing terms
easy online account management

Plus, by taking advantage of financing, you won’t use up your existing funding sources, like a home equity line of credit, other credit card or bank account. They’ll still be available when you need them.

When the subject is HVAC rebates we are the experts, and we always stay on top of where the best rebates can be found.  We’ll help you earn them to keep your out of pocket expenses down.  Please contact us to find out which financing options are available to you, or to learn about special promotions and equipment rebates. 

Excerpted from an article by Josh Crank, a freelance writer who has found his perfect fit at Direct Energy in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, and smart home technology.

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Donna Morgan
Donna Morgan
01:10 22 May 19
Service is fast, personal, and professional. Well above expectations! Thank you for your honest assessments and for taking care of my renters as well!read more
Sasha Loffredo
Sasha Loffredo
18:43 21 May 19
Stop looking! You've found your Baltimore-area HVAC company! By far the best home service company we've ever had take care of something in our home. I wish they did more than HVAC! Every person we've interacted with at Contemporary Air Systems has been responsive, honest, reliable and customer-oriented. They've been maintaining and repairing our home's two crummy (installed by previous owners) HVAC units for four years now, including next-day attention to "help! the house is way too hot!" mid-July AC breakdowns two summers in a row (two different problems, each efficiently managed by Rick & his team). Thank you for all you do!read more
michael sensebaugh
michael sensebaugh
13:53 28 Jan 19
If you are looking for a heating & Ac Company STOP . Contemporary Air Systems are the most honest professional affordable courtesy company that has come to our home. We will always call on them when needed to take care of our heating & cooling systems. Thanks again to Contemporary Air Systems. Mike & Val.read more
Susan Goodlaxson
Susan Goodlaxson
01:50 18 Jan 19
Contemporary Air replaced my (ancient) furnace and central air units. My furnace stopped working abruptly on Christmas morning. I called Contemporary - at noon on Christmas day. The owner called me back - within the hour! Service men came to my home at 7AM on the 26th and on the morning of the 27th the new units were installed and functioning. After the workers left the owner called to ask about their work - and then came to my house to inspect that evening. I could not ask for better service. Professional - and fair.read more
Christopher Hicks
Christopher Hicks
16:21 26 Dec 18
Five Stars is not enough to rate the "Awesome" Job Contemporary Air System Co. has done. Rick and everyone at Contemporary were fantastic. I would refer anyone I know to them. They were incredibly responsive and the prices were fair. Best experience I've had bar-noneread more
Keishia Pratt
Keishia Pratt
13:45 20 Dec 18
Five Stars is not enough to rate the "Awesome" Job Contemporary Air System Co. has done with getting me a whole new HVAC system. I don't know where to begin. From the first time I called to setup an appointment, until my job was complete, they were very professional, polite, quick to respond, the detail and compassion they put in their work again five stars isn't enough (10 stars). Thank you Rick, Michelle and the 2 young men for doing an "Awesome job,read more
Eric Davidson
Eric Davidson
02:20 29 Nov 18
I will begin this post by noting that I did not purchase a system from Contemporary Air only because they did not sell the make and model I ultimately wanted. I dont submit many reviews but I felt it was necessary to credit Michelle and Rick on their honesty when helping me narrow my choices. They made it crystal clear that the expensive systems other dealers were pushing were unnecessary and I should keep it simple. When you are in the market for HVAC services, I would certainly reach out to the professionals at Contemporary Air Systems.read more
Brenda McCarthy
Brenda McCarthy
19:59 27 Nov 18
From the first time I called Contemporary Air until the final install was complete the service was outstanding. Michelle handled all the scheduling and was even able to move our appointment once our current HVAC system started really acting up. I was happy about that! Rick and his crew showed up on time and were very professional and helpful in explaining the system they would be installing (Bryant 3 ton heat pump system). My husband and I were both surprised that it only took one day to complete. The job is very neat and tidy and by that I mean all wires are taped and not hanging, PVC pipe is secure and not flapping around, all debris was cleaned up. We are very happy with the installation, price, product and customer service. My husband and I both would highly recommend Contemporary Air!!!read more
Alana Gaffney
Alana Gaffney
16:11 21 Nov 18
Wow! Fast, friendly, knowledgeable, considerate. Day before Thanksgiving and my family woke up to 56 degrees! Was able to get an appointment at a reasonable cost in just a couple of hours. But, Michelle asked a few more questions and walked me through some preliminary diagnostics, saving me time, money, and cold toes! She called me back just when she said she would (2×) to be sure everything was up and running. The next time something goes wrong, and it will, this will be the family I trust to keep my family warm.read more
Meredith McArdle
Meredith McArdle
02:57 14 Nov 18
Great company! They installed HVAC and continue to service yearly. They are easy to get ahold of to schedule. Everyone is polite and they explain everything.read more
Eleanor Kendig
Eleanor Kendig
20:59 13 Oct 18
Contemporary Air Systems did an excellent job on installing our new Bryant HVAC System! I had several estimates from other Companies but kept going back to Contemporary Air. Rick and Michelle ( the owners) were so easy to work with ; they complement each other ( Michelle is on top of all the paper work, the BG&E rebate and the registration) , Finances etc. and Rick knows exactly how to get the job done the correct way without missing any small detail.Their installers Aaron and Justin were polite and perfectionist ! The number #1 reason we picked Contemporary Air is we felt we could trust them completely and they did not disappoint! Thanks again Ellieread more
Stanford Mumford
Stanford Mumford
19:11 24 Aug 18
Contemporary air systems replaced my 49 year-old heating and air conditioning system. The work was efficient Timely and very very satisfying. Their technicians are courteous and very considerate of your home. The only complaint I had was Ithe replacement was unreadable for me. The installation was on Friday and a replacement thermostat was delivered promptly on Monday morning. I am thoroughly happy with every aspect of their work and highly recommend them.read more
Ralph J Picarello
Ralph J Picarello
05:03 16 Aug 18
Contemporary replace 17 year old furnace and AC. Michelle kept us up to date and somehow put a rush on the job. The last heat wave was terrible. Rick came out and explained the whole process and also was helpful with helping us pick out the right system. Everything was installed and running in half a day. Cleaned up and gone .Professional all the way. Recommend to anyone.read more
Christopher Whyte
Christopher Whyte
20:33 14 Aug 18
Replaced my old AC and gas furnace. These guys provided good communications, convenient scheduling, and a fair price. They also helped work a BGE rebate in a timely manner. I was very happy with the overall service. I would recommend them and use them again for my future HVAC needs.read more
Christina Petrides
Christina Petrides
14:18 13 Aug 18
Contemporary Air Services was amazing! I had to have my whole system replaced. They were very professional, friendly and great with my friend's dogs who were staying at my house. They worked until the job was complete and Rick came in to check that everything was good to go before and after the job was complete. They also registered my system for the warranty without me having to do a thing! Highly recommend!read more
Jennie Phaneuf
Jennie Phaneuf
16:56 07 Aug 18
The lovely folks at Contemporary Air Systems went out of their way in the customer service department. Michelle was extremely helpful, patient, and informative. Rick is an absolute star! Seriously, I don't think there is anyone nicer than Rick. He's knowledgeable and highly experienced. The two gentlemen that installed our unit were polite, friendly, and tidy. I couldn't be more happy with my experience and would definitely recommend them to anyone in need of their services.read more
Rob Grodsky
Rob Grodsky
22:25 07 Jul 18
I am so impressed with the professionalism of the entire staff of Contempray Air Systems. All my questions were answered fully and timely throughout the process. Moreover, the owner is hands-on as site manager and ensures the job is done to perfection.read more
Jackie Johnson
Jackie Johnson
19:44 01 Jul 18
I wanted to thank Contemporary Air for coming to my rescue this morning. Forcasted temperature today is 98. AC went out last night. I called an left a message and got a call back first thing this morning. Rick was at my house within an hour. Very professional and friendly. Fixed my AC in under an hour. Very affordable. I will definitely be using Contemporary Air for any future hvac work and will highly recommend to everyone. Thanks again for the great service!read more
michele nicole
michele nicole
16:23 18 Jun 18
I rarely write reviews but the service I received today was excellent. The contractor came to home the same day I called to make an appointment. He was polite and worked quickly to fix both my AC units all while explaining and showing me what the issues were. The price was very reasonable and affordable. Finally a business I can trust. I will always support this business.read more
Alan Lawson
Alan Lawson
03:15 07 Jun 18
Contemporary Air Systems, Inc. replaced our old heat pump with a new one from Bryant. From the initial contact with Michelle and Rick to the completion of the process we received excellent customer service. Everyone involved was professional and courteous as they removed the old unit and installed the new, always willing to answer any questions we had. We would definitely recommend them to anyone who appreciates prompt service and quality product.read more
Terrill Harris
Terrill Harris
03:03 21 May 18
I had a great experience with having my HVAC system replaced by Contemporary Air Systems. The staff was very professional and knowledgable. They made my transition to my new system seamless. I would highly recommend them.read more
Andrew Rosenstein
Andrew Rosenstein
02:14 10 May 18
I have been dealing with Rick and Michelle for the past decade. Always friendly, knowledgeable, excellent customer service from them. Rick personally oversees all the jobs. Excellent prices, and products. You will not be disappointed!read more
Angela Single
Angela Single
22:22 23 Apr 18
Contemporary Air Systems has been great since I called nervous about a noise my old unit was making. Rick came out to check and upon discussion, we decided to start moving toward a new system. He & Michelle made the process easy. He worked with my schedule, which is difficult at best, and she worked almost exclusively through email, because it's easier for me. The actual installation was quick & didn't really disrupt the household. Both technicians were awesome, and Rick came to double check everything just in case. The new units have both been tested in this crazy MD weather and they work equally well. I'm excited to see how they impact our power use. I'm very happy with CAS and the treatment from their staff. I'd recommend them to everyone who needs the services they can provide.read more
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Contemporary Air Systems, Inc., is a Maryland (MD) Heating, Cooling, Air Conditioning, Heat Pump, Ductless Mini-Split and Furnace repair, service, replacement and maintenance Company located in Baltimore County. We service Baltimore and Harford County. Contemporary Air Systems, Inc. employs only the best technician for air conditioner repair and furnace repair as well as all air conditioner replacement and furnace replacement in Baltimore MD, White Marsh MD, Towson MD, Timonium MD, Cockeysville MD, Perry Hall MD, Hunt Valley MD, Phoenix MD, Bel Air MD, Edgewood MD, Fallston MD, Kingsville MD, Lutherville MD, Monkton MD, Parkton MD, Rosedale MD, Essex MD, Dundalk MD, Middle River MD, Parkville MD, Fork MD, Joppa MD, and more. So when you ask to find "A heating and air conditioning repair or service company near me," you've come to the right place. To set-up a repair service, estimate or replacement estimate, call us. Contemporary Air Systems, Inc. services all furnace, AC, humidifier, filter, thermostat, heat pump, air cleaner and air handler brands including Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Trane, Rheem, Ruud, Amana, Frigidaire, Gibson, Goodman, Maytag, American Standard, Aprilaire, Honeywell, White Rogers, Lennox, Armstrong, Daikin, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, York and more.