It’s that time of year when many people are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a critical time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the added workload that comes with hot weather.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does an awful a lot of work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips 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 a safety net against future failures. Even though anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, 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 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 extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, 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 emphasized.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat could43 minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can vary 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 habits. In some areas, you also may have the option to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be extremely restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not only a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can restrict the flow of air into that room or area. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can be a problem is around your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubs 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 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are essential to the condition of your residence—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause issues for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indicators your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or inside the air conditioner.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation that caused considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is close to 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.” And while that has always been a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.