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 an important time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with hot temps.

Without a doubt, 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 months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to keep in mind 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 conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can definitely help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently operating. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which supports you in case a key component stops working 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 advises 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 reasoning, however, only leads to more expensive 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 said.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat could 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 higher than 20%. Your best bet 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 reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter

Routinely switching out your air filter is critical; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Some can be very restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce 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 technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions

This is not simply a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can limit ventilation into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.

The other location where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with bushes 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 Neglect Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are essential to the health of your residence—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 could need an air duct cleaning:

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

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit 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.” Though that has always been the case, it’s more true now than ever before.

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