HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits
It’s that time of year when many families are planning for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the added workload that comes with rising 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. Here, a Service Experts professional 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 protection against future problems. Although 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 scorching summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs later. 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 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 Mike Carson, field operations manager at Service Experts. “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 suggests repairs during a tune-up or if they occur 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 expensive repairs down the line.
“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 already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat can43 reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to higher 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 schedule. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly replacing your air filter is essential; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Certain types can be extremely restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively 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 HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
Do De-Clutter and Clear Out Obstructions
This is not merely a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can reduce ventilation into that room or area. That means your air conditioner will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the temperature set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the home. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are vital to the well-being of your home—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are a couple of indications your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
- Mold is in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
- Dust wafts from vents when the blower comes on.
- A renovation that caused significant dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade
If your system is near the end of its life, replacing it with a new, 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 now than ever before.