HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

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

Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one item that does some hard work during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts specialist 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 air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before repair crews get busy during the hot summer season can undoubtedly help you avoid costly repairs later. Plus, it also offers a status check for how your system is currently performing. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, which aids you in case a key component goes bad 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 Postpone Repairs

When a specialist suggests 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 costly repairs down the line.

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 could minimize wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider 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 recommended, and ask an HVAC pro about how to set cooling times that align with your daily routine. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently switching out your air filter is crucial; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Some can be extremely restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce airflow and possibly make your unit work harder. When you schedule your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions

This is not simply a tip 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 limit airflow into that room or location. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.

The other place where obstructions can cause trouble is near your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and attempt to cover them up with shrubbery 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 Overlook Your Air Ducts

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

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

  • Mold is in the home or within the air conditioning unit.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation that generated extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade

If your system is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Though that has always been the case, it’s more true these days than ever before.

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