It’s that time of year when many families are planning 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 additional workload that comes with hot weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does an awful a lot of work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future problems. While anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the hot summer season can undoubtedly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, 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 the field operations manager at Service Experts, 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 advises 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.
“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 can43 minimize wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can vary 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 routine. In some places, you also may have the ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you schedule 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 only a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a concern is around your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes or even build structures or other landscaping. Not a good 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 Overlook Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are indispensable to the well-being of your property—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause issues for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are a few signals your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the air conditioning unit.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation involving extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your system is near the end of its life, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true today than ever before.