HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many people are making plans for summertime fun. But it’s also an important time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising temperatures.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does an awful a lot of work during the summer. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to take into account when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual 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 AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which supports 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 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 suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they come up 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 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 explained.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat could43 minimize wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range 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 align 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 an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Routinely replacing your air filter is critical; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be very restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good idea 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, on the inside, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can limit the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your cooling system will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try 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 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 Overlook Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being of your property—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause issues for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are a couple of indications your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or inside 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 close to the end of its life, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true these days than ever before.