HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are planning for some fun in the sun. But it’s also an important time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring weather.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does an awful a lot of work during the summer. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven strategies to take into account when preparing your air conditioner for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future failures. Although anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you head off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently performing. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which aids 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 Service Experts Field Operations Manager 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 Delay Repairs
When a specialist suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey 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 done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best option is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson recommended, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily habits. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently changing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Some can be tremendously restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not only a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, in your home's interior, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can limit airflow into that room or location. That means your air conditioner will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a problem is near your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try 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 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 Overlook Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are indispensable to the condition of your home—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some indicators your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or within the air conditioning unit.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is close to 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.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true today than ever before.