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HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many families are planning for summer festivities. But it’s also a critical time to see to it that all of your home systems are ready to handle the additional workload that comes with hot weather.

Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some hard work during the summer months. Here, a Service Experts specialist shares seven strategies to keep in mind when preparing your HVAC system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice-a-year HVAC tune-up can act as an insurance plan against future failures. Although anything can happen when a system is working hard, getting your air conditioner, furnace and other HVAC components tuned up before crews get busy during the scorching summer season can certainly help you avoid costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently operating. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty effective, 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 Delay 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 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 said.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat could decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Consider this: Energy savings estimates can range from as low as 12% a year to more 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 match with your daily schedule. In some places, you also may be able to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Routinely changing your air filter is essential; however, there are a wide variety of different filters to choose from. Some can be extremely restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and very well could make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good idea to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Clear Away Obstructions

This is not simply a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstacles inside and outside of your home. First, in your home’s interior, if air vents are hindered by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or location. That means your air conditioning will need to run longer to get the air temperature to the number set on your thermostat.

The other location where obstructions can cause trouble is around your condenser coil outside the residence. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with shrubbery 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 Neglect Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are essential to the health of your property—and the people who live in it. Pollen and airborne contaminants from sprays, cooking, candles, fireplaces and off-gassing items can all get inside your air ducts and cause issues for people suffering from asthma and allergies.

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

  • Mold was found in the home or inside the air conditioner.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower is turned on.
  • A renovation that caused significant dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency AC Upgrade

If your system is nearing the end of its life, replacing it with a new high-efficiency system before the hot summer weather is here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been the case, it’s more true today than ever before.

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