HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many homeowners 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 hot weather.

Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some hard work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when preparing your air conditioner for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as protection 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 maintenance crews get busy during the hot summer season can definitely help you ward off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently performing. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which helps you in case a key component breaks during the warranty period.

African American man adjusting the temperature on the thermostat of his house - home automation concepts

“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 Delay 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 mindset, however, only leads to more expensive repairs in the future.

Man replacing a filter on a home air conditioning system.

“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 may reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. 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 match with your daily routine. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Regularly changing your air filter is crucial; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Some can be tremendously restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully 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 strategy to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Clear Away Obstructions

This is not simply a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can reduce airflow into that room or location. That means your cooling system will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.

The other area where obstructions can be a problem is around your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!

Bag of repairman's work tools, gloves on top of air conditioner units outside a brick home.  Service industry, working class.

“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 essential to the health of your residence—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 trouble for people living with asthma and allergies.

Here are a couple of indicators your home might need an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold was found in the home or inside the air conditioner.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been the case, it’s more true today than ever before.

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