It’s that time of year when many homeowners are planning for summer festivities. But it’s also an important time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring temperatures.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some heavy lifting during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven strategies to consider 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 problems. Even though anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids 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 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 Delay Repairs
When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they occur unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can prolong the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This thinking, however, only leads to more costly 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 said.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 decrease wear and tear on your HVAC system. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to more 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 habits. In some places, you also may have the option to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter
Consistently changing your air filter is crucial; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be tremendously restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions
This is not merely a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, indoors, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce airflow into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a problem is close to your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort 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 Neglect Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are essential to the health of your residence—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people who have asthma and allergies.
Here are some indicators your home might need an air duct cleaning:
- Mold was found in the home or within the AC.
- Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation involving significant dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade
If your heating and cooling unit is near 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.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true these days than ever before.