It’s that time of year when many people are planning for some fun in the sun. But it’s also an important time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with hot temperatures.
Without a doubt, 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 professional shares seven tips to keep in mind when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future breakdowns. Even though anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before maintenance crews get busy during the hot summer season can undoubtedly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids 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 advises repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, however, only leads to more costly 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 decrease wear and tear on your HVAC system. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best bet is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson said, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that match with your daily habits. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently switching out your air filter is essential; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be very 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 possibly make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not only a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your air conditioner will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can be a concern is close to your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt 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 vital to the well-being of your property—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause issues for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some signs your home might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or on the inside of the AC.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is near the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, 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 today than ever before.