HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are planning 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 extra workload that comes with soaring weather.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some hard work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven do’s and don’ts to take into account when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection 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 crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can undoubtedly help you ward off costly repairs in the future. 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 supports 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 Postpone Repairs
When a specialist recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, however, only leads to more expensive repairs in the future.
“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 already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best option 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 schedule. In some areas, 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
Consistently replacing your air filter is essential; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Certain types can be extremely restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the mechanic 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 obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can be a problem is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Bad 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 Overlook 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 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 might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or on the inside of the air conditioning unit.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.