It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising temperatures.
Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does an awful a lot of work during the summer. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven tips to take into account when preparing your HVAC system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A twice-a-year 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 down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently operating. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which aids you in case a key component goes bad 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 Put Off Repairs
When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they happen unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey 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 emphasized.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 minimize wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best choice is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson advised, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily routine. In some locations, 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 changing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. A few of these can be tremendously restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also slow airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not only a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can restrict ventilation into that room or location. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with bushes 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 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 condition of your home—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause problems for people living with asthma and allergies.
Here are some indications your home might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold has been discovered in the home or inside the air conditioning unit.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower is turned on.
- A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your HVAC equipment is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech, high-efficiency system before summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true now than ever before.