HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many people are preparing for some fun in the sun. But it’s also a great time to make sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with rising weather.

Without a doubt, 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 tips to keep in mind 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 failures. Even though anything can happen when a system is being used quite a bit, getting your AC, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the hot summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs in the future. 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 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 Delay Repairs

When a specialist recommends 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 mindset, however, only leads to more pricey repairs down the road.

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 already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat may reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to more 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 align with your daily schedule. In some areas, you also may have the option to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Extremely Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a wide variety 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 slow airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you arrange your tune-up, it’s a good strategy to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions

This is not merely 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 restrict the flow of air into that room or area. That means your cooling system will have to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.

The other area where obstructions can cause trouble is around 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. 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are crucial to the condition of your home—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne pollutants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all stay inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people living with asthma and allergies.

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

  • Mold is in the home or on the inside of the air conditioning unit.
  • Dust comes from vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation that caused considerable dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your HVAC equipment 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.” Although that has always been true, it’s more true these days than ever before.

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