HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many people are making plans for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to be sure 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 mechanism that does an awful a lot of work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven tips to take into account when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future breakdowns. Although anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you head off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids you in case a key component fails 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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more costly repairs down the line.
“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 done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat could43 minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best option 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 routine. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently switching out your air filter is critical; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be tremendously restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions
This is not simply a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can restrict ventilation into that room or zone. That means your air conditioning will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a problem is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubbery 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 essential to the condition of your home—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indications your home could need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation involving extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is nearing 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 a good idea, it’s more true today than ever before.