HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a critical time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with hot 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 months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips to keep in mind 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 failures. Even though 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 repair crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which helps 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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, 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 decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range 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 places, you also may be able to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly switching out your air filter is critical; however, there are many different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently 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 plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not merely a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, in your home's interior, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can limit ventilation into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can cause trouble is close to your condenser coil outside the home. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and attempt 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 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 essential to the well-being of your home—and the people who are 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 who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some indications your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the air conditioning unit.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation that generated considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is close to 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.” And while that has always been a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.