It’s that time of year when many homeowners are making plans for summertime fun. But it’s also an important time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the added workload that comes with soaring weather.
Without a doubt, 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 season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven strategies to keep in mind when preparing your cooling system for summer.
Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up
A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future failures. Although anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioner, 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 in the future. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently operating. 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 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 Postpone Repairs
When a specialist recommends 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 mindset, 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 said.
Do Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you haven’t already bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat may43 reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can range 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 align with your daily routine. In some areas, you also may have the ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.
Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter
Regularly changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be extremely restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and possibly 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 Clear Out Obstructions
This is not only a tip about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, 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 have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can cause trouble is close to your condenser coil outside the house. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubs 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 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 Overlook Your Air Ducts
Clean air ducts are indispensable to the condition of your home—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause problems for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
Here are some indicators 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 is turned on.
- A renovation that generated extensive dust has recently been done.
Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC 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.” Although that has always been a good idea, it’s more true today than ever before.