HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are making plans for summer festivities. But it’s also an important time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with soaring weather.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some hard work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven strategies 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 failures. Even though anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the scorching summer season can definitely help you avoid costly repairs later. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently operating. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, 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 happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong 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 done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 reduce 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 option is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson advised, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily habits. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently changing your air filter is critical; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to filter out all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and possibly 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 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 obstructed by furniture or household items, that can limit ventilation into that room or zone. That means your cooling system will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is near your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubs or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!
“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 Ignore Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are indispensable to the condition of your property—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause issues for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indicators your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold is in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation that caused significant dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your system is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.