HVAC Do's and Dont's Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a critical time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with rising weather.

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 do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your cooling system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future problems. Even though anything can happen when a system is running a lot during extreme weather, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently performing. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which helps you in case a key component breaks during the warranty period.

Homeowner adjusting thermostat

“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 happen 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 pricey repairs later on.

Homeowner installing new filter

“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 can43 decrease wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best option 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 routine. In some places, 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

Regularly replacing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. A few of these can be very restrictive, promising to filter out all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions

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

The other area where obstructions can be a concern is close to your condenser coil outside the residence. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!

Air conditioner getting serviced in Columbia

“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 property—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause trouble 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 inside the air conditioner.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower is turned on.
  • A renovation that caused considerable dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your HVAC equipment is close to 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 a good idea, it’s more true these days than ever before.

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