HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many people are making plans for some fun in the sun. But it’s also an important time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising temps.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some hard work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips to keep in mind when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future breakdowns. Although anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently operating. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which aids you in case a key component fails 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 Postpone Repairs
When a specialist suggests 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 costly repairs down the line.
“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 explained.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat could43 minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to more than 20%. Your best bet is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson said, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that align with your daily routine. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely switching out your air filter is essential; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Some can be tremendously restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not merely 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 obstructed by furniture or household items, that can reduce ventilation into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a problem is around your condenser coil outside the house. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubbery 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 said. “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 condition of your home—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are some signs your home could need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or within the air conditioner.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your system is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been a good idea, it’s more true now than ever before.