HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many homeowners are making plans for summer festivities. But it’s also a great time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with soaring temps.

Undoubtedly, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one component of your home that does some heavy lifting during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts professional shares seven do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when preparing your HVAC system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as a safety net against future failures. Although 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 hot summer season can certainly help you head off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Regular maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which helps you in case a key component breaks 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 Put Off Repairs

When a specialist recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they come up unexpectedly, some homeowners think they can stretch out the use of the part or component for “just one more summer.” This reasoning, however, only leads to more expensive 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 bought one, upgrading to a smart thermostat could minimize wear and tear on your HVAC system. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to greater 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 schedule. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently replacing your air filter is critical; however, there are a lot of different filters to choose from. Certain types can be tremendously restrictive, promising to catch or eliminate all viruses and contaminants. While they may effectively remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also significantly reduce 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 Clear Away Obstructions

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

The other area where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the residence. Some residents see these as an eyesore and make an effort 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 said. “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 Neglect Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are crucial to the health of your residence—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 issues for people living with asthma and allergies.

Here are a few signs your home might need an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold is in the home or inside the AC.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower is switched on.
  • A renovation that generated significant dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit 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.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true now than ever before.

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