HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are making plans for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a critical time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with rising weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some heavy lifting during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven strategies to consider when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future breakdowns. Even though 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 crews get busy during the scorching summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs later. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual 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 Mike Carson, field operations manager at Service Experts. “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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey 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 already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 minimize wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best bet 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 habits. In some areas, you also may have the option to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely replacing your air filter is crucial; 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 very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea 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, indoors, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or area. That means your air conditioner will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can cause trouble is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and attempt 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 remarked. “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 crucial to the well-being of your residence—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause problems for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indicators your home could need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or within the AC.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation involving extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your system 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 the case, it’s more true these days than ever before.