HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a critical time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does an awful a lot of work during the summer. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to consider 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 running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can definitely help you head off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, 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 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 Postpone Repairs
When a specialist recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they come up 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 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 already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider 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 recommended, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that align with your daily habits. In some areas, you also may be able 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 efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the HVAC professional 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 barriers inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can limit airflow into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will have 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 close to your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with bushes 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 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 Neglect Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are indispensable to the well-being of your home—and the people 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 trouble for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a couple of indications your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or within the air conditioning unit.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been true, it’s more true now than ever before.