HVAC Do’s and Don’ts Before Summer Hits

It’s that time of year when many homeowners are preparing for summertime fun. But it’s also a great time to be sure all of your home systems are ready to handle the extra workload that comes with soaring 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 professional shares seven tips to take into account when preparing your HVAC system for summer.

Do Get an HVAC Tune-Up

A twice annual HVAC tune-up can act as protection against future breakdowns. Although 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 definitely help you head off costly repairs in the future. Plus, it also provides a status check for how your system is currently functioning. Routine maintenance also may help keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty active, which supports 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 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 recommends repairs during a tune-up or if they happen 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 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 reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and furnace. Think about this: Energy savings estimates can vary from as low as 12% a year to greater 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 match with your daily schedule. In some places, you also may have the option to take advantage of reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Don’t Use a Very Restrictive Air Filter

Routinely changing your air filter is crucial; however, there are many different filters to choose from. A few of these can be tremendously restrictive, promising to filter out all viruses and contaminants. While they may efficiently remove many contaminants, these highly restrictive filters might also choke airflow and potentially make your unit work harder. When you set up your tune-up, it’s a good plan to ask the technician for a recommendation, Carson added.

Do De-Clutter and Remove Obstructions

This is not merely a hint about household clutter, but more about removing the airflow barriers inside and outside of your home. First, on the inside, if air vents are obstructed by furniture or household items, that can reduce the flow of air into that room or zone. That means your air conditioner will be forced to run longer to get the air temperature to the level set on your thermostat.

The other area where obstructions can be a concern is near your condenser coil outside the residence. Some homeowners see these as an eyesore and make an effort to cover them up with shrubs 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 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 Ignore Your Air Ducts

Clean air ducts are essential to the well-being 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 get inside your air ducts and cause trouble for people who have asthma and allergies.

Here are a few indications your home could need an air duct cleaning:

  • Mold was found in the home or on the inside of the air conditioning unit.
  • Dust wafts from vents when the blower comes on.
  • A renovation involving considerable dust has recently been done.

Do Consider a High-Efficiency HVAC Upgrade

If your heating and cooling unit is close to the end of its life, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency system before summertime is 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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