HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many homeowners are making plans for summer festivities. 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 soaring 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 months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to consider when preparing your air conditioner for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future failures. 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 repair crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can undoubtedly help you ward off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently operating. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids you in case a key component fails during the warranty period.

African American man adjusting the temperature on the thermostat of his house - home automation concepts

“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 come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more costly repairs in the future.

Man replacing a filter on a home air conditioning system.

“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 done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat could minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Ponder this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to more than 20%. Your best choice 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 schedule. In some locations, 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 switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. A few of these can be extremely restrictive, promising to remove all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions

This is not only a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, in your home’s interior, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can limit ventilation into that room or zone. That means your air conditioner will need 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 homeowners see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubbery or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!

Bag of repairman's work tools, gloves on top of air conditioner units outside a brick home.  Service industry, working class.

“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 vital to the well-being of your residence—and the people who are living in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause issues for people suffering from asthma and allergies.

Here are a couple of indications your home could need an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold is in the home or within the air conditioner.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
  • A renovation that generated extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit is near 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.” And while that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.

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