Chicago residents experience the full range of our planet’s glorious four seasons—including hot summers and cold, snowy winters. And when the temperatures spike or the snow starts to fall, the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is a malfunctioning HVAC system. Both air conditioning and heating in Chicago is, after all, a must-have.
Chicago Air Conditioning and Heating Experts
When to replace your heater or air conditioning system
It’s not fun to watch your heating and cooling bills steadily increase, but if your home’s furnace or boiler is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, you may be doing just that.
Gas and electric furnaces typically last around 20 years, with electric models trending toward the higher end of the range (and even surpassing it by as much as another 10 years).
Boiler heating systems have a lifespan of approximately 15 years. Electric boilers typically don’t last quite as long—usually about 10 years.
Central air conditioning systems usually last 15 to 20 years.
As heating and air conditioning systems age, they begin to lose efficiency, which negatively impacts both the environment and your bank account. But since replacing your HVAC system can be a costly project, be sure that you know when your system needs maintenance and when it’s time to research replacement contractors.
In some cases, a boiler or furnace retrofit can help you eke out a few more years of use; in others, your best bet will be to replace the system entirely. The important thing to remember is to not jump to any conclusions before you talk to a pro.
Quick HVAC system troubleshooting
If your HVAC system is still within its predicted lifespan but showing signs of age or inefficiency (running too often, making strange noises, or turning off unexpectedly, for example), here are a few troubleshooting tips to try while you wait for your heating and air contractor to arrive:
- Change the furnace filter. Filters should be changed every three months; monthly if you share your home with furry family members or people with allergies. Dirty furnace filters can obstruct airflow, which forces your system to work harder than necessary.
- Check your thermostat settings. Try your best to keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. This will prevent your HVAC system from overworking, and you’ll save money on your utility bills.
- Adjust supply vents. Avoid closing supply vents to rooms, even if they’re seldom used. Closed supply vents can cause your system to work too hard, which drives up running costs and shortens its lifespan.
Even if replacing a filter or opening a few supply vents seems to fix the problem, you should still have a reputable HVAC technician check out your system. Strange noises and odors, in particular, are cause for immediate attention—after you’ve turned the system off, of course.
Whether you’re taking steps to boost the efficiency and lifespan of your existing system or springing for a brand-new setup, the most important thing you can do to ensure you have heat and cool air when you want it is to commit to a consistent service schedule.
Aim to have your air conditioning and heating system serviced twice per year: once in the early fall, before the cold weather hits Chicago hard; and once again in early to mid-spring, before temperatures start to climb.
The Best Picks for Heating and Air Conditioning in Chicago
At Best Pick Reports, our dedicated survey team talks to Chicago homeowners every year to identify the very best heating and air conditioning contractors in your area.
Best Pick companies truly are the best of the best—and we make sure of that. All Best Picks are annually vetted for high-quality work and stellar customer service, and we verify all state-required licenses and insurance, too. This intense qualification process ensures that we bring you top-notch home service companies near you, and we’re proud to present that information in a format that is clear and easy to use.
Call a Best Pick heating and air conditioning pro in Chicago, and we guarantee that you’ll have a fantastic experience from beginning to end.