A-1 Mechanical Blog: Archive for the ‘Our Maintenance Plan’ Category

What Are the Advantages of Enrolling in an HVAC Maintenance Plan?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
Maintenance Plan

Homeowners tackle maintenance tasks throughout the year to protect their homes, keep their residences looking good, and to make their loved ones as comfortable as possible. Heating and cooling systems like furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, and other units require regular maintenance, but too often, homeowners overlook this critical service. Find out how you can simplify the upkeep of your home and gain value with an HVAC maintenance plan.

What Is HVAC Maintenance, and Why Is It Needed?

HVAC systems need to be maintained each year by a reputable heating and air conditioning professional. Professional maintenance is a service that inspects, tests, and services critical components of the HVAC system. Professional maintenance is necessary for numerous reasons, including:

  • Improves system performance
  • Increases energy efficiency
  • Reduces wear and tear
  • Minimizes system breakdowns
  • Extends system service life
  • Maintains warranty coverage

A professional tune up should be in addition to simple maintenance you perform between service visits, not in place of it – you still need to change your air filter regularly and correct airflow blockages, along with other routine tasks. Heating systems like furnaces and boilers as well as air conditioners require one annual tune up. Heat pump systems that provide both heating and air conditioning for the home should be tuned up twice per year.

What Is an HVAC Maintenance Plan?

It’s easy to forget to schedule heating and cooling maintenance tune ups throughout the year. Many homeowners don’t pay much mind to HVAC equipment unless it’s causing issues – they are largely out of sight and out of mind. However, skipping this important service can have serious negative consequences when it comes to the condition of your equipment, the comfort of your home, and even your manufacturer’s warranty coverage.

To help homeowners stay on top of their home heating and cooling system maintenance needs, many HVAC contractors in Grand Rapids and throughout the country offer HVAC maintenance plans. HVAC maintenance plans go by many names – you may also hear a heating and cooling contractor refer to them as preventative maintenance agreements, PMAs, service agreements, service plans, or another similar term. While terms vary by company, HVAC maintenance plans include annual heating and cooling tune ups, and often other valuable perks such as discounts and priority service.

Why Should Homeowners Enroll in HVAC Maintenance Plans?

Enrollment in an HVAC maintenance plan provides various benefits that offer value to the homeowner.

  • Your annual heating and cooling system tune ups are covered under HVAC maintenance plans. Maintenance plan members are already on the contractor’s radar, so tune up services can be completed ahead of heating and cooling seasons. Many HVAC maintenance plans include priority scheduling of these appointments, and the company will call you to set a date and time that’s convenient for you. You don’t have to remember to make the call and schedule these services yourself, risking the possibility of forgetting.
  • HVAC maintenance plans ensure your heating and cooling systems receive the dedicated care they need each year to improve performance for better comfort, ensure peak operating efficiency for lower energy costs, reduce the impact of wear and tear to prevent breakdowns and keep your unit in service longer. Tune ups also uphold the terms of your equipment warranty so this protection will be valid should you ever need it.
  • Most HVAC maintenance plans include much more than two annual system tune ups, though. Contractors often offer extra perks for maintenance plan members that go beyond maintenance and enhance convenience and control costs for the homeowner when other services are needed. Repair discounts lower the cost of any repair that may pop up over the season. Equipment discounts and credits can lower the price of new heating and cooling systems when it’s time to replace your units.

Take Care of Your HVAC Maintenance Needs with A-1 Mechanical

A-1 Mechanical offers HVAC maintenance plans for homeowners across the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas. With annual tune up services plus valuable perks for repairs and system replacement, joining a maintenance plan provides the assurance that your comfort systems will be properly cared for. Contact our team today to learn more about available heating and cooling maintenance plans.

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Benefits of a Spring Air Conditioning Tune Up

Monday, April 6th, 2020
Air Conditioning Tune Up

Do you remember the last time your air conditioning unit received a tune up? If you can’t recall, then your AC is likely well overdue for maintenance.

For your air conditioning system to run efficiently, avoid breakdowns and operate past its useful life expectancy, it should be inspected by a technician once per year in the spring before you turn the system on for the first time.

At A-1 Mechanical Heating & Cooling, our NATE-certified technicians provide expert tune ups so your air conditioner unit is in tip-top shape and ready for the long summer ahead. Air conditioner inspection in the spring can go a long way in helping it last through the dog days of summer.

What Are the Benefits of a Spring AC Tune Up?

Spring is ideally the best time to have maintenance performed on your unit. However, if you didn’t schedule an inspection in the spring, it’s never too late to call your friends at A-1 Mechanical to perform the service.

The benefits of preventative AC maintenance include:

Improving Overall Performance

When professional maintenance is performed, a trained eye evaluates your unit and every component for existing malfunctions and issues that could cause poor performance. We resolve these issues early on and make necessary repairs before they become more serious and lead to expensive repairs. Once we’ve completed any repairs, your AC unit is less likely to break down over the summer months.

Increasing Energy Efficiency

Regular maintenance on your air conditioner unit improves its overall energy efficiency. A dirty air filter clogged with contaminants, for example, makes it difficult for the system to distribute air, which places it under more stress and causes potential breakdowns. This, in turn, leads to higher energy bills.

Extending Service Life

An air conditioning system typically lasts 10 to 12 years, but regularly maintained units tend to last much longer. Tuning up an air conditioner can go a long way in helping it run smoothly for years to come.

Protecting Your Warranty

Many manufacturers require annual maintenance on the system. If you fail to do so, the manufacturer can void your warranty, and you’d be on the hook for any expensive repairs or replacement.

What’s Included in an Air Conditioner Tune Up?

An HVAC technician performs several inspections on your AC unit. According to the pros at A-1 Mechanical Heating & Cooling and Energy.gov, the following tasks are performed during a routine tune up:

  • Check belts for wear
  • Lubricate motors and check all moving parts
  • Test for refrigerant leaks and check the right amount is being used
  • Seal ductwork leaks in central systems, if necessary
  • Check the thermostat’s accuracy
  • Measure the airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Clean and tighten all electrical connections and inspect electrical terminals
  • Replace the furnace air filter
  • Recommend any needed repairs
  • Clean the condenser coils

Maintenance Agreements for Air Conditioner Tune Ups

A-1 Mechanical’s preventive maintenance plans for air conditioners cover your system’s annual tune up to preserve efficiency and performance. You’ll also earn benefits that will save you money when it’s time to replace or repair the system. A-1 Mechanical Heating & Cooling offers two levels of air conditioning maintenance plans. Commercial air conditioning maintenance plans are also available. Contact us now to learn more.

Trust the Pros at A-1 Mechanical for All Your AC Needs

At A-1 Mechanical Heating & Cooling, we’ve served the greater Lansing, Michigan, community since 1983 and started servicing the Grand Rapids area market in 2006. More recently, we entered the Wyoming, Michigan market. Whether you’re in need of an AC tune up, repair or system replacement, you can trust the pros at A-1 Mechanical to get the job done right the first time. Contact A-1 Mechanical today!

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Maintenance for Gas Furnace Burners

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

How a Gas Furnace Builder Works

Gas Furnace Burners

An important component of gas furnaces is the burner – your furnace may have one, or multiple. The burner is the component where gas mixes with air then is burned to create heat. Gas furnace burners need to be cleaned as part of regular furnace maintenance, but we don’t recommend for homeowners to do this themselves. Instead, rely on an experienced HVAC technician who knows what they’re doing to safely clean the burner.

The Problem with Plugged Furnace Burners

Over time, it is possible for the burners in your furnace to become plugged. When they do, heat output is reduced, and your furnace struggles to keep your home warm. Your furnace may also experience difficulty starting up when it’s time to run a heating cycle.

Dirt from the air and rust that develops on metal components build up within a gas furnace’s burners. This buildup blocks the gas piping that delivers fuel to the burners. Clogs in the burners are common at the beginning of heating season or any other long period of no use, such as when you move into a home that has not been occupied in quite some time.

Because this buildup impacts the furnace’s heating performance, it is important to have your burners cleaned annually. Clean burners offer better heating performance and efficiency for a more comfortable home.

When to Clean Gas Furnace Burners

There are several steps an HVAC technician will take when cleaning gas furnace burners to eliminate clogs and buildup.

Safety is always the first priority when cleaning gas furnace burners. Our HVAC technicians will shut off electrical power to your furnace at the home’s main electrical panel and find the gas supply line that runs into your furnace and close the valve.

They’ll then remove the metal panel on the furnace’s exterior to access combustion equipment and set it aside. A technician will carefully remove the burners from the furnace and use a vacuum attachment with a soft-bristled brush to clean off debris from the surface of the burners.

The technician will use compressed air to blow out any debris that is stuck inside the burners before turning them upside down and tapping their sides to dislodge unreachable debris within. We’ll replace the clean burners back onto their assemblies and clip into place.

The final step is taking a clean, damp rag and wiping down the interior of the burner compartment.

Rely on a Certified Technician for Burner Cleaning

If you notice poor performance from your furnace throughout the heating season, it’s wise to have an experienced HVAC technician check the burners to see if the issue is caused by a clog in this component.

It is always wise to contact your HVAC company to complete a job such as this. Your technician investigates the burners and safely cleans them to eliminate clogs causing poor performance.

Call A-1 Mechanical for Furnace Help Today

Whether you suspect dirty burners or another issue, don’t suffer a day longer with poor heating performance. Call A-1 Mechanical today for expert furnace maintenance and repair.

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Why You Should Schedule Furnace Maintenance (6 Reasons)

Monday, October 28th, 2019
Furnace Maintenance

If you haven’t checked “schedule furnace maintenance” off your household to-do list yet, now is the time to do so!

When you skip this important annual service, you miss the many important benefits it provides.

How Furnace Maintenance Benefits You

Need a reason to schedule furnace maintenance? A-1 Mechanical gives you six! In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits of preventive furnace maintenance, what’s included in a furnace tune up, and why neglecting furnace service negatively affects your health, as well as your wallet!

1. Better Energy Efficiency Lowers Heating Bills

Wear and tear, loose connections and wiring, worn belts, dirt and dust buildup, dirty furnace filters – these issues and more occur over the normal course of furnace use. All diminish a furnace’s energy efficiency. They force the furnace to expend more energy to do its normal job, which costs you extra money.

During furnace maintenance, your HVAC technician performs a thorough tune up to address these common system issues. We oil bearings, tighten belts and connections, clean compartments and components, change furnace filters, and more. These tasks eliminate the obstacles that force a furnace to draw excess energy. A furnace tune up maximizes the system’s energy efficiency, so the furnace uses less energy. Less energy means lower heating bills.

2. Prevent Costly Furnace Repairs with Regular HVAC Maintenance

Furnace repairs can be pricey, but in many cases, repairs are much less expensive if the issue is caught and corrected early. Why? Well, not all problems cause a furnace to stop working – many times, homeowners are unaware one exists. So, they continue to operate the furnace with a minor malfunction, which develops into a more extensive one or even causes a breakdown.

During a maintenance tune up, technicians inspect the entire system and are able to catch and correct minor issues right away. This helps prevent the development of serious damage and problems that are more expensive to repair.

As an added benefit, catching small issues early on can mean the difference between steady, warm comfort all winter long or a sudden breakdown that leaves you in the cold.

3. A Maintained Furnace Enjoys a Longer Service Life

Well-maintained furnaces last longer! Why? Because tune ups regularly address and remedy issues from wear and tear before they progress into system damage. Schedule a furnace tune up each year to help add more years of service life.

In addition, furnace replacement is a pricey project – don’t let your furnace give out early. Furnace tune ups help keep money in your pocket and reduce the risk of unnecessary premature heating system replacement costs.

Murphy’s Law suggests your furnace will break down on the coldest day of the year. We’ve been on many urgent heating repair service calls to know this comes true for a lot of homeowners. Avoid this “bad luck” by preparing now with preventive furnace maintenance.

Here’s a review from Kim W. –

“I called just a few days ago to schedule a time for my furnace check up. I was able to get an appointment very quickly and in a time that worked best for me. The technician was on time and very nice. After about 30 minutes, he was done and said our furnace was in great condition, even for almost 16 years old. A-1 Mechanical is the only company we have ever used for our furnace needs. We are very happy with their service.”

4. Book Furnace Maintenance to Gain Better Performance & Greater Comfort

A maintenance tune up also generates better performance from your heating system. Reducing your risk of a breakdown helps ensure consistent heating system performance over the fall, winter, and early spring.

Furnace maintenance corrects airflow and other performance issues to deliver adequate warmth across the entire home and proper heating cycles, and reduces temperature fluctuations.

5. Breathe Easier with Better Indoor Air Quality

During your furnace maintenance tune up, your technician cleans out furnace compartments and cleans off components, removing dirt, dust, and debris from the system’s interior. Removing these particles prevents them from re-entering your living areas. More airborne particulates diminish the air quality you breathe inside.

Be sure to change your furnace filter as needed. This reduces the number of allergens and other triggers for allergy and asthma symptoms. Your HVAC technician changes the filter if it needs it and if one’s provided.

Some people assume a new filter comes with the tune up but that’s not always true. Remember, a dirty furnace filter can’t provide good airflow to the HVAC system. Obstructed airflow causes your equipment to work harder and strains the system. This decreases efficiency, which increases your heating bills.

Stress on your furnace also increases the likelihood of cracks in the heat exchanger or other major damage requiring repairs or even replacement.

If you schedule a tune up, your HVAC technician changes the furnace filter if provided and if necessary. At A-1 Mechanical, for example, if you request a new furnace filter when you schedule your tune up, we just add it to your total for your convenience. Easy!

6. Schedule Furnace Maintenance to Improve Safety in Your Home

Part of the process a furnace uses to create heat is combustion. When the furnace combusts natural gas, it naturally produces byproducts like carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless gas. When a furnace properly operates, it safely vents gases like CO out of your home.

Malfunctions, however, make it possible for carbon monoxide to leak into your home and accumulate. Exposure to high levels of CO sicken humans and animals and in severe cases, is lethal.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room with symptoms each year while more than 400 die.

In Lansing homes with natural gas furnaces and gas-fueled water heaters, carbon monoxide exposure is a serious concern. Well-maintained heating systems reduce the likelihood of a potentially deadly carbon monoxide leak in your home. One way to protect your family is to book a professional tune up each year.

Our technicians inspect critical components, including the heat exchanger, for cracks and other damage. One way CO leaks is due to cracks in the heat exchanger. Cracks occur over time as well as from overuse and equipment stress.

HVAC contractors also inspect venting systems for blockages or leaks leading to a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. HVAC techs correct any issues found or quickly bring repair or replacement needs to your attention to keep your family safe.

Bonus Tip! Preventive Maintenance Protects Warranties

Unfortunately, many homeowners discover their furnace warranty no longer applies. Why? In many cases, equipment neglect or installation by an unqualified person voids manufacturer warranties. Imagine buying a new car and never changing the oil.

Your HVAC system is probably the most expensive appliance in your home. Don’t let a neighbor’s cousin install it or put off service to save a buck. It could cost you a lot more than you think you saved if there’s a problem and the warranty is rejected. To stay compliant, always use a professionally NATE-certified HVAC contractor to install, repair and service your furnace.

Schedule Furnace Maintenance with A-1 Mechanical Today!

Give your furnace the care it needs to carry your household through another blustery Michigan winter with ease. Don’t forget, we repair and service heating equipment from all major manufacturers. Our friendly technicians arrive with fully-stocked trucks so most issues are resolved within a single visit.

Emergency service is available without overtime charges between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. For superior HVAC repairs in greater Grand Rapids and Lansing, turn to A-1 Mechanical.

Call 517-348-0302 or click to contact A-1 Mechanical to schedule furnace maintenance today!

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Why You Should Schedule Furnace Maintenance

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
Furnace Maintenance

Did you know that an annual furnace inspection can save you money in the long run? Not only is a heating and cooling contractor able to change out a dirty furnace filter, but they are also able to make small repairs that prevent your heating system from failing in the middle of winter. In this blog post, we will explain how more and more homeowners are saving energy and money by having their furnaces serviced this year.


Did you know that up to 75% of the furnaces that unexpectedly quit last winter didn’t receive regular maintenance? For homeowners, this is good news because it means you can keep your home comfortable throughout the winter by scheduling a furnace service visit and making necessary repairs.


If a service visit reveals you need furnace repairs, odds are that you’ll pay less money than if you had waited for the furnace to break down. Furnace maintenance saves homeowners money because it gives technicians the opportunity to fix small issues before they grow into expensive repairs. Safeguard your budget by scheduling a furnace maintenance visit today.


In the United States, carbon monoxide leaks are responsible for causing 500 deaths and 15,000 visits to emergency rooms each year. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that starves your body of oxygen and can cause flu-like symptoms or even loss of consciousness. Most carbon monoxide leaks are caused when household appliances (like furnaces) aren’t able to burn fuels completely. Thankfully, you can protect you and your family by scheduling a furnace inspection.

While it’s normal for small levels of carbon monoxide to exit the exhaust, there shouldn’t be any traces of the gas leaking into your home. A reputable furnace maintenance company will check the venting, gassing, and electrical mechanisms to ensure they are in working order.


A furnace maintenance plan includes an annual tune-up so your furnace will be ready for the winter. You might be surprised by how much energy and money you can save by changing a dirty furnace filter. Air filters are responsible for filtering out contaminants in the air, such as dust, dirt, pollen, or dog hair.

A dirty air filter blocks the flow of air, which causes the furnace to work harder to produce the same amount of heat. Make sure your furnace always runs efficiently by scheduling an annual furnace tune-up and changing the air filter every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type of filter. Improved energy efficiency means paying less for energy bills in the long run.


Since you’ll be running your furnace for several months, it’s important you replace the air filter. Furnace air filters are able to trap contaminants in the air, which is good news for people with allergies or asthma. When you hire a furnace repair contractor to inspect the furnace and change the filter, you are taking steps to improve the air quality in your home.

The Lansing furnace repair contractors at A-1 Mechanical work hard to earn your business by making sure your furnace is ready for the heating season. If you are interested in scheduling a furnace tune-up before the snow flies, give our HVAC technicians a call at (517) 272-8629.

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How to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter (2019 Guide)

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

To save money on energy bills be sure to prepare your furnace for winter. In this blog post, we give our top five tips on how to increase energy efficiency and get more from your furnace or other heating system. For more information, we recommend reaching out to a heating and cooling company to schedule fall furnace maintenance.

Best Tips to Get Furnaces Ready for Cold Weather

  • Program Thermostat Or Home Automation System
  • Replace Furnace Filters
  • Unblock Registers, Radiators, and Baseboard Heaters
  • Let In Sunlight
  • Schedule Fall Furnace Maintenance

Adjust Thermostat for Winter; How Smart Thermostats Help

To save energy, program your thermostat or home automation system for the winter. The smaller the discrepancy between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more money you save. In cold weather, this means setting the thermostat for as low a temperature as is comfortable. Your furnace works harder and uses more energy when it has to maintain a high indoor temperature.

A home automation system allows you to remotely control the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world. In this example, a home automation system generally means a WiFi-connected or “smart” thermostat.

image credit to energy.gov

Benefits of Smart Thermostats

These modern thermostats are accessible from an app on your tablet or smartphone. Change the temperature from work or tucked in bed upstairs. Smart thermostats go further than programmable WiFi thermostats with additional sensors and artificial intelligence.

Once you program it manually for a couple weeks, it “learns” your household’s rhythms and adapts on its own. For the best value, consult with your trusted HVAC contractor. Don’t be swayed by a slick promotion at a big box store. Some thermostats work with specific systems better than others.

A visit from a professional evaluates which thermostat is best for your single or variable-speed system and where to install it. At A-1 Mechanical, we’re happy to provide our expertise for you or a loved one.

Our team assesses the heating and cooling system as well as inquires about energy goals and typical occupancy. He or she installs the thermostat, and teaches the homeowner how to use it.

Most modern thermostats also alert you to maintenance needs, such as a filter change or if the furnace behaves abnormally, for example.

This information helps you address issues with furnace repair or service before a spike in your heating bill or a breakdown happens.

Set Thermostat in Winter when Away from Home

If you plan on being away from home for a winter vacation or work trip, we recommend setting a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower than 55 degrees risks the chance of frozen pipes.

Check Furnace Filters Monthly; Change as Needed

We recommend you replace furnace filters every 3 to 12 months depending on the type of filter your furnace uses. The air filter in your furnace is responsible for trapping contaminants in the air like dust, dirt, and pollen. A dirty air filter blocks air passage and makes the furnace work harder to produce the same amount of heat. Replacing air filters keeps your furnace energy efficient.

Remove Airflow Obstructions; Keep Vents Open

Some rooms, or even spots in some rooms feel colder than others? Be sure vents are open and nothing is blocking registers, radiators, or baseboard heaters. For example, it’s not uncommon for a living room to feel colder than the rest of the house because the couch is blocking the radiator. Long drapes, toys or even seasonal decorations like Christmas trees can prevent heat from entering rooms.


It’s a myth that closing vents or doors to rarely used rooms lowers your heating bills. It disrupts the air pressure balance in the home. Ever hear a door push open or pull shut on its own? You don’t have a ghost. The heating and air system probably kicked on and pushed enough air through the room to move the door. If you’re empty nesters or just live in a large house, ductless mini splits might be best for you.

Ductless Mini Splits – HVAC Problem Solvers

Ductless mini splits provide zone heating and cooling through your whole home with individual temperatures in each zone. Or, keep your central heating and air system, run it at a lower temperature in the winter and use ductless units in the two or three rooms you use the most to increase your comfort.

Trap Heat from Sunny Windows Inside

Open drapes and shades to let sunlight through eastern or southern-facing windows. Because sunlight carries heat, there’s no downside to enjoying the sunshine on a dreary winter day. What heat passes through your windows helps rooms feel cozier. At night, close blinds or drapes as an extra layer of protection against cold air seeping through windows.

When you switch from summer to winter linens, consider swapping airy curtains for heavier drapes. They’ll block drafts and hold solar heat inside at night.

If you’re considering planting trees on your property, plant evergreens to block wind and snow drifts from the house. Plant deciduous trees on the south and east sides of the house. They’ll shade your house during the hottest days while letting sun through after they’ve lost their leaves. Consult with a local nursery or landscaper for the best outcome.

Schedule Fall Heating Maintenance Including Furnace Tune Ups

After months of humidity and a lack of ventilation, there’s a risk of corrosion in your furnace. Plus, it’s easy to forget how it may have limped along at the end of the last heating season.

Here’s a video detailing what you can expect from a typical tune up to prepare your furnace for winter…

Aside from regular filter changes, the best piece of advice is to prepare your furnace for winter with preventive maintenance. A furnace inspection during the service visit reveals whether you need small repairs before the heating season.

Your technician also looks for signs of rodent or insect infestation. Sometimes rodents chew wiring, or leave behind nesting material or other unseemly debris. This detritus impacts airflow and pollutes your indoor air quality. The main reasons to book a furnace tune up each year are:

  • Cleans, tests, and lubricates components for optimal energy efficiency, which saves money on heating bills
  • Extends lifespan of equipment because it catches problems while minor and less expensive to resolve
  • Most manufacturer warranties require regular HVAC maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor to remain valid
  • The cost of furnace maintenance is significantly less than it costs to repair a furnace that quits unexpectedly in the middle of winter.

Related blog: Why You Should Schedule Furnace Maintenance

How to Maintain a Heat Pump

If you’re unfamiliar, a heat pump both heats and cools homes. It operates like a regular air conditioner in the summer. It extracts heat and moisture from the indoor air and pumps it outside. In the winter, it pulls warmth from outdoor air – even in cold weather – and uses it to warm the house. This type is known to HVAC contractors as an “air source” heat pump. Geothermal heat pumps, which pull heat from the earth or a nearby water source are known as “ground source” heat pumps.

In extreme cold or several days of freezing temperatures in a row, heat pumps use an auxiliary heat source. Sometimes referred to as “emergency heat,” electric heat strips operate in some ways like the heating element in a toaster or electric oven.

In a heat pump, air passes over these “hot strips” and absorb the warmth before moving onto interior rooms. Heat pumps will draw from these as needed.

If, for example, a tree branch fell on your outdoor compressor unit and prevented the heat pump from normal operation, you could switch to just “emergency heat.” This switch on your indoor air handler unit turns your air handler into an electric furnace. This truly is “emergency heat” as a substitute until your heat pump is repaired or replaced.

In the past, heat pumps were less popular up north because the heat strips were expensive to use. Now, however, energy efficiency and HVAC technology are more in line and many Michigan homes use heat pumps.

To maintain them, however, they need two tune ups each year. Because a single heat pump provides both heating and cooling, it needs seasonal tune ups before each season. Likewise, an air conditioner needs one tune up each year and a furnace needs one tune up. Just like an air conditioner and furnace combo, check the filter regularly and remove airflow obstructions.

How to Protect AC Compressor from Ice and Winter Weather

If you use a furnace, it’s wise to protect your outdoor AC compressor from falling ice and other Michigan winter weather. Many people secure a large plastic trash can lid or even a kids saucer sled with bungee cords. Some use a plywood sheet cut to size and held down with a brick. The goal is to protect the fan blades from damage.

Winter storms like to test us, so stay one step ahead and protect your AC compressor from damage. Finally, do not use a tarp or plastic sheeting. This traps moisture inside and sets you up for mold and other problems.

Remember, if you use a heat pump – do not do this. Your heat pump runs all year and needs full ventilation.

Prepare Furnace for Winter with Help from A-1 Mechanical

A-1 Mechanical is a Lansing furnace repair and maintenance company dedicated to helping homeowners prepare furnaces for cold weather. If you are interested in learning more about how to prepare your furnace for winter or our furnace maintenance service plans, give our Lansing HVAC company a call at (517) 348-0302.

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Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips to Save Money

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
Air Conditioning

Given the hot summers in Michigan, most homeowners run their air conditioners until late September and easily forget about air conditioner maintenance until it’s too late. What if you had air conditioner maintenance tips to guide you? Did you know the neglect of your AC costs you in the long run?

Fortunately, A-1 Mechanical’s qualified HVAC technicians help you catch small issues before they turn into expensive air conditioning repairs or worse, breakdowns. Air conditioning service also ensures your unit runs as efficiently as possible which saves you money on energy bills.

To make preventive maintenance super easy, join one of our maintenance plans. We offer a couple of options for homeowners and customized plans for commercial HVAC clients.

Continue to learn our 5 best air conditioner maintenance tips.


We often sound like a worn out 45 record on this topic, but it’s so important. As the name suggests, air conditioner filters block dust and other airborne allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet hair and dander.

However, if the filter is clogged, it can’t continue to do its job. A dirty filter blocks airflow and forces your air conditioner to work harder to produce the same amount of cool air. Check it monthly and change the air filter if it’s dirty.

Don’t be surprised if you have to replace your filters more often during the cooling season. Early spring in Michigan means more mold spores are in the air as the ground thaws and exposes damp and decaying leaves.

As the weather warms tree pollen and other triggers join the allergy party. Changing an air conditioner filter is simple. One way to remember is to check each month when your utility bill arrives. If you’re unsure, ask your HVAC technician next time he or she visits for a tune up.


Be sure to clear the outdoor AC unit of anything which blocks the heat transfer needed to cool your home. During the autumn, it’s common for fallen leaves to cover your AC unit.

Likewise, make sure the AC unit is clear of grass clippings after mowing your lawn. It’s also wise to avoid cutting grass while the compressor is running, if possible. You don’t want clippings getting sucked into the AC compressor.

Walk around the AC unit after severe weather and clear away yard waste like fallen leaves and twigs. Also, landscape carefully. Avoid the temptation to camouflage the AC unit with shrubbery or fencing.

AC compressors should have two to three feet of clearance for optimal airflow. Why is this important? When debris blocks the outdoor air conditioning unit, the system uses more energy to produce the same amount of cool air.

The energy efficiency and lifespan of your air conditioner decreases when it’s forced to work so hard. To save money on your next energy bill, make sure nothing is blocking the outdoor unit.


We recommend keeping the blinds closed during the hottest part of the day when the sun reaches its peak. The heat carried by the suns rays quickly heats up your home and makes it uncomfortable during the summer months.

Fans, however, circulate cool air throughout your home to create a wind chill effect. Don’t pay to run the fan if no one’s in the room because they don’t cool the room. They cool the people in it by speeding evaporation of perspiration.

If you live in a two-story house, you’ll want to place extra fans on the second floor. Fans can help keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the summer while reducing stress on your air conditioning unit.

You might consider planting deciduous trees or shrubs. In the summer, they block direct sun from your south-facing windows. In the winter, when they’ve lost their leaves they let the warmth of the sun inside.


Your air conditioner will last longer if you only use it on hot days. When the temperature is cool outside, shut off the AC and open up all the windows. The cool fresh air will help you save money that you would have otherwise spent on running your air conditioner.

During early summer, you may be able to get away with leaving the windows open in the mornings and evenings. However, the opportunities to let in cool fresh air quickly fade by the time summer arrives and are less of an option if you live with allergies.


No homeowner wants to pay for premature air conditioning replacement, which is why we recommend investing in maintenance. It’s truly one of our best air conditioner maintenance tips!

Our HVAC technicians catch minor issues before they snowball into expensive and inconvenient repairs. Air conditioners with regular maintenance run efficiently, cost less to run and last longer.


If you are interested in our residential air conditioner repair or a maintenance tune up, please feel free to call our team at (517) 348-0302.

A-1 Mechanical is here to save you money with regular service, comprehensive inspections and quick repairs.

Take these air conditioner maintenance tips and call us with questions. It’s important to handle issues right away. They only get worse and more of a hassle. If you or a family member depend on air conditioning, humidity control or air quality for health reasons, be sure to call right away.

You’ll find us in the Grand Rapids area, including Hudsonville, Byron Center, Grandville, Jenison, Walker, Kentwood, Plainfield, Cutlerville, Wyoming, Comstock, Park and East Grand Rapids.

We also bring heating and air service, repair and installation to Lansing communities such as Okemos, Williamston, Holt, Dewitt, Haslett, Dimondale, Eaton Rapids, Charlotte and Grand Ledge.

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