HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are planning for summertime fun. But it’s also an important time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with rising weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does an awful a lot of work during the summer. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to take into account when preparing your air conditioner for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future problems. Even though anything can happen when a system is running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can definitely help you ward off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which supports you in case a key component stops working during the warranty period.
“Tightening electrical components, cleaning condensate lines, cleaning the outdoor and indoor coils, and lubricating necessary components, it’s all part of the annual checkup we do,” said the field operations manager at Service Experts, Mike Carson. “And, we’ll change your air filters and answer any questions you may have too. It’s the best small investment any homeowner can make this time of year.”
Don’t Put Off Repairs
When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey repairs in the future.
“Clogged lines, dirty filters, low refrigerant (Freon), loose or broken parts, you name it, it all contributes to how efficiently your system runs. It’s always best to address problems when they arise to keep it operating to its full potential,” Carson said.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 decrease wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best bet is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson advised, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that match with your daily routine. In some areas, you also may have the option to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly switching out your air filter is critical; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Some can be very restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions
This is not merely a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can limit the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioner will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can be a problem is near your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Not a good idea!
“Obstructions to units and vents on the inside and outside of the home can be both an efficiency and safety concern,” Carson noted. “Covering up or blocking return air vents, where the system draws in the air inside the home is another common problem we see. These things can be like asking your system to work harder while wearing a very heavy face mask.”
Don’t Ignore Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are vital to the well-being of your residence—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are some signals your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the AC.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is near the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.