HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with hot weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some heavy lifting during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future failures. While 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 hot summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which aids you in case a key component stops working 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 Delay Repairs
When a specialist recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they come up 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 pricey 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 explained.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to more 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 line up with your daily routine. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly changing your air filter is essential; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Some can be extremely restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not merely a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, in your home's interior, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can reduce ventilation into that room or area. That means your cooling system will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a problem is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some property owners 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 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 well-being 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 reside inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a couple of signs your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or inside the AC.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation involving significant 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 modern, high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather 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.