HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many people are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the added workload that comes with soaring weather.

Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some hard work} during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to take into account when preparing your cooling system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future breakdowns. While 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 maintenance crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which helps you in case a key component fails during the warranty period.

African American man adjusting the temperature on the thermostat of his house - home automation concepts

“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 recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they occur 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 costly repairs down the road.

Man replacing a filter on a home air conditioning system.

“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 can decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to more 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 match with your daily schedule. In some places, you also may have the ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be extremely restrictive, promising to filter out all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions

This is not only a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can limit airflow into that room or area. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.

The other area where obstructions can be a concern is close to your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Not a good idea!

Bag of repairman's work tools, gloves on top of air conditioner units outside a brick home.  Service industry, working class.

“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 crucial to the health of your property—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.

Here are some indications your home could need an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold was found in the home or on the inside of the air conditioning unit.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
  • A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC 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 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.

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