HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing 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.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some heavy lifting 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 a safety net against future problems. Even though anything can happen when a system is running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the scorching summer season can definitely help you ward off costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which supports 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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they happen 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 costly 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 explained.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 decrease wear and tear on your HVAC system. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to more 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 schedule. In some locations, you also may be able to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently replacing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Some can be tremendously restrictive, promising to trap 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 strategy to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not simply a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can restrict ventilation into that room or location. That means your cooling system will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is near your condenser coil outside the residence. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with bushes 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 property—and the people living 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 indicators your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold is in the home or within the AC.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation involving significant dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your system is nearing 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 now than ever before.