HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many people are making plans for summer festivities. 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 temps.

Without a doubt, a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one mechanism that does some heavy lifting during the summer season. Here, a Service Experts pro shares seven do’s and don’ts to consider when preparing your HVAC system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A biannual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future breakdowns. While 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 undoubtedly help you head off costly repairs down the road. Plus, it also includes a status check for how your system is currently performing. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, which supports you in case a key component stops working 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 Service Experts Field Operations Manager 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 Put Off Repairs

When a specialist suggests 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 reasoning, however, only leads to more costly 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 emphasized.

Do Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you haven’t already done so, upgrading to a smart thermostat may decrease wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can run from as low as 12% a year to higher than 20%. Your best choice 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 ability to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use an Overly Restrictive Air Filter

Consistently replacing your air filter is critical; however, there are many different filters to choose from. Certain types can be extremely restrictive, promising to trap all viruses and contaminants. While they may successfully 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 plan to ask the HVAC professional for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Eliminate Obstructions

This is not simply a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow obstructions inside and outside of your home. First, in your home’s interior, if air vents are obstructed 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 temperature set on your thermostat.

The other place where obstructions can be a problem is close to your condenser coil outside the house. Some residents see these as an eyesore and try to cover them up with bushes 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are vital to the condition of your property—and the people who are living 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 who have asthma and allergies.

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

  • Mold was found in the home or within the AC.
  • Dust blows out of vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation that caused extensive dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade

If your HVAC equipment is near the end of its life, replacing it with a new high-efficiency system before high temperatures are here can be better than waiting for “just one more summer.” Although that has always been true, it’s more true now than ever before.

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