HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also an important time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the added workload that comes with hot weather.
Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some heavy lifting during the summer. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven do’s and don’ts to keep in mind 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 running a lot during extreme weather, getting your AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the sweltering 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 functioning. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which helps 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 Service Experts Field Operations Manager 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 reasoning, however, only leads to more expensive 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 already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best option is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson recommended, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily routine. In some areas, you also may have the option 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 critical; however, there are many different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the mechanic for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions
This is not simply a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other area where obstructions can be a problem is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with bushes or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!
“Obstructions to units and vents on the inside and outside of the home can be both an efficiency and safety concern,” Carson said. “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 vital 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 get inside your air ducts and cause issues for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are a few indicators your home may be ready for 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 is switched on.
- A renovation involving significant 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 summertime is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” And while that has always been the case, it’s more true now than ever before.