It’s that time of year when many people 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 rising temps.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does an awful a lot of work} during the summer. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven strategies to take into account when preparing your air conditioner for summer.
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future failures. Although anything can happen when a system is running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can definitely help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently performing. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which helps 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.”
When a specialist suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, however, only leads to more pricey 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.
If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat can reduce wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can vary 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 match with your daily schedule. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Routinely replacing your air filter is critical; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be very restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
This is not simply a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a problem is close to your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes 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 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.”
Clean air ducts are crucial to the health of your residence—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause issues for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a couple of signals your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
If your system is near the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Though that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.
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