HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are planning for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a great time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with hot weather.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some heavy lifting during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future breakdowns. While anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the hot summer season can certainly help you head off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which supports you in case a key component stops working 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 happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This mindset, 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 done so, 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 advised, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that align with your daily routine. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper 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. A few of these can be extremely restrictive, promising to filter out 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 set up 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 simply a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, in your home's interior, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can restrict the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners 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 Neglect 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 who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some signs your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your system is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.