It’s that time of year when many homeowners are planning for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a great time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with hot temps.
Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some hard work} during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven strategies to keep in mind when preparing your air conditioner for summer.
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 crews get busy during the sweltering summer season can certainly help you ward off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Annual maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which helps you in case a key component goes bad 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.”
When a specialist advises repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can extend the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more expensive repairs later on.
“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.
If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat could decrease wear and tear on your HVAC system. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to more 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 line up with your daily schedule. In some locations, you also may have the ability to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
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 tremendously restrictive, promising to trap 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 set up your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.
This is not simply a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, in your home’s interior, if air vents are blocked by furniture or household items, that can restrict ventilation into that room or area. That means your air conditioner will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.
The other place where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubs or even build structures or other landscaping. Think again!
“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.”
Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being of your home—and the people living in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants 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 some indications your home is due for an air duct cleaning:
If your heating and cooling unit is nearing 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 true, it’s more true today than ever before.
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