HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring temps.

Certainly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some hard work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven tips to take into account when preparing your cooling system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future failures. While anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your air conditioning, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs later. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently operating. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which aids you in case a key component stops working 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 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 Delay Repairs

When a specialist suggests 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 reasoning, however, only leads to more pricey 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 emphasized.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t done it already, upgrading to a smart thermostat can minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to greater than 20%. Your best choice is to go with an Energy Star®-certified thermostat, Carson said, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that line up with your daily schedule. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a lot of 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 successfully 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 strategy to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Clear Away Obstructions

This is not merely a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce airflow into that room or area. That means your cooling system will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.

The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes 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 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being 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 who have asthma and allergies.

Here are a few signals your home is due for an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold was found in the home or on the inside of the air conditioning unit.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower is turned on.
  • A renovation involving significant dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade

If your HVAC equipment is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a high-tech 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 today than ever before.

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