HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many families are preparing for some fun in the sun. 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.

Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some heavy lifting} during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven do’s and don’ts to take into account when preparing your air conditioner for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future problems. While 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 maintenance crews get busy during the hot summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs later. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which supports 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 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 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 pricey repairs later on.

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 already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat may reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best bet 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 places, you also may have the ability to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter

Regularly changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a wide variety 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 set up 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 merely a recommendation about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, 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 temperature set on your thermostat.

The other area where obstructions can cause trouble is close to your condenser coil outside the home. Some property owners see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubs or even build structures or other landscaping. Not a good idea!

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 Overlook Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are crucial to the well-being of your property—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne toxins from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all reside inside your air ducts and cause issues for people who have asthma and allergies.

Here are a couple of indications your home may be ready for an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold has been discovered in the home or on the inside of the air conditioner.
  • Dust comes from vents when the blower is switched on.
  • A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency Equipment Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before summertime is 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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