It’s that time of year when many families are making plans for summertime fun. 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 rising temps.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does an awful a lot of work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips to take into account 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 problems. Although anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can certainly 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 effective, which helps you in case a key component breaks 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 recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey repairs down the road.
“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 bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to more than 20%. Your best option is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson advised, 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 ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently switching out your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be extremely restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions
This is not simply a tip 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 the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubs 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 said. “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 health 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 trouble for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some signs your home might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the AC.
- Dust comes from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation involving extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is nearing 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.” And while that has always been a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.