HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are planning for summer festivities. 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 hot temperatures.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some heavy lifting during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips to keep in mind when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future breakdowns. While 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 scorching summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, 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 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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more costly repairs down the road.
“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 can43 minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to higher 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 routine. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly replacing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Some can be very restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions
This is not only a recommendation 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 reduce airflow into that room or area. 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 cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubs or even build structures or other landscaping. Bad 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 health of your property—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause problems for people living with 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 blows out of vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation that generated extensive 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 new, high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been true, it’s more true today than ever before.