It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a critical time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising weather.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some hard work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven tips to consider when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future problems. Although anything can happen when a system is running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the hot summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently performing. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids you in case a key component goes bad 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 suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more expensive repairs later on.
“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 can43 decrease wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to more than 20%. Your best choice is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson advised, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that align with your daily schedule. In some areas, you also may be able to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Certain types 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 potentially make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the HVAC professional 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 barriers inside and outside of your home. First, in your home's interior, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce ventilation into that room or zone. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubbery 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 Neglect Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are crucial to the health of your home—and the people who live 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 couple of signs your home might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold is in the home or within the AC.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your system is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, 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 today than ever before.