HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are making plans for summer festivities. 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 rising temps.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some heavy lifting during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven tips to consider when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future failures. While anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the hot summer season can definitely help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which helps you in case a key component breaks 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 Put Off Repairs
When a specialist suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, 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 said.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range 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 routine. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you set up 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 recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can restrict airflow into that room or area. That means your air conditioning 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 near your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubs 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 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 essential to the health of your residence—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 problems for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indications your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold is in the home or on the inside of 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 HVAC equipment is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been the case, it’s more true these days than ever before.