It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also an important time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring temperatures.
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. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan 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 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 functioning. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which supports 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 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 Put Off Repairs
When a specialist suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they occur 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 expensive repairs down the line.
“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 may43 reduce wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Consider 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 said, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that match with your daily habits. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely switching out your air filter is critical; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be tremendously restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate 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 schedule your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not merely a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can limit the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your cooling system will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a concern is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubbery 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 are living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indications your home could need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or on the inside of the AC.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation that generated significant dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before summertime 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 these days than ever before.