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HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many homeowners 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 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 pro shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your air conditioner for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan 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 maintenance crews get busy during the scorching summer season can undoubtedly help you ward off costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Regular 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.

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 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 Put Off Repairs

When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, however, only leads to more pricey repairs down the line.

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 said.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat can reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best bet is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson said, 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 reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently replacing 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 trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Clear Away Obstructions

This is not merely a tip 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 location. That means your cooling system 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 problem is close to your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!

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 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 who are 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 issues for people living with asthma and allergies.

Here are a couple of signs your home is due for an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold is in the home or within the AC.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower is switched on.
  • A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech 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.

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