It’s that time of year when many homeowners are making plans for summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising temps.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does an awful a lot of work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future breakdowns. Even though anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the scorching summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Regular 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 Delay Repairs
When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, however, only leads to more costly 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 said.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best choice 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 routine. In some places, you also may have the option to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely changing your air filter is critical; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Certain types can be tremendously restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not only a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your air conditioning will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a concern is around your condenser coil outside the house. Some homeowners 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.”
Don’t Neglect Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are essential to the condition of your residence—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause issues for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are some signals your home could need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or within the air conditioner.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation that generated extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.