HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring temps.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some heavy lifting during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven tips to consider when preparing your air conditioner for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual 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 AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can undoubtedly help you head off costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which helps you in case a key component goes bad 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 Mike Carson, field operations manager at Service Experts. “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 Delay Repairs
When a specialist suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, however, only leads to more pricey repairs later on.
“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 emphasized.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best choice 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 habits. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be extremely restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not only a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can restrict ventilation into that room or location. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubs or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!
“Obstructions to units and vents on the inside and outside of the home can be both an efficiency and safety concern,” Carson remarked. “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 Overlook Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being of your property—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are a few signs your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the air conditioning unit.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation that generated extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Though that has always been a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.