With summer just around the corner, now is the right time to start thinking of what you can do to keep your air conditioner operating at peak efficiency. When your air conditioning and heating unit is optimized, it won’t just run better, it will also help you save money each month. Your family will enjoy cool, consistent comfort, no matter what the thermometer says outside. Here are a few ways to get your AC ready for summer’s heat.
Change the Filter
The first and easiest part of the system to check is the air filter. Depending on the system’s configuration, it may take a disposable or permanent filter. With disposable filters, it’s important to change them at least once per month. Other filter types should be cleaned each month for peak efficiency. If there’s a smoker or a pet in the home, it may be necessary to change the filter more often. Once the filter is clean and fresh, there won’t be any dirt or dust blocking cool air from moving throughout the home.
Put Safety First
Before doing any DIY work (or before we get started), be sure to switch off the circuit breaker that runs the condenser. This component may have a 240V weatherproof box that contains fuses, a circuit breaker, or a shutoff lever. Don’t forget this box when cutting the power to the unit.
Turn Off the Humidifier
Air conditioners keep indoor air cool by removing most of its humidity. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to let the furnace humidifier run all season long. If your unit has a humidifier, switch it off during the spring. On units that don’t have on/off switches, simply adjust the damper door level to re-route the cooled air away from the humidifier.
Check the Ductwork and Carefully Consider Duct Cleaning
If your home has a forced-air HVAC system, the ductwork is likely shared between the heating and cooling systems. If there’s no problem with the AC airflow, the ductwork is in good shape. However, it’s always a good idea to check the ductwork for cracks and holes and to ensure that it’s properly sealed. Preventive maintenance is a wise investment. It takes no time at all, and it gives you great peace of mind.
In some instances, it may help to get the ductwork professionally cleaned. Many companies try to sell duct cleaning services where they’re not needed. If you’re seeing any of these signs, duct cleaning may help:
- There’s a foul odor coming from the vents
- Pet hair or debris blows out when the unit is turned on
- The home has been renovated
- There’s mold in the ducts
- Animals are living in the ductwork
Duct cleaning should be done as a last resort when all other maintenance options have been unsuccessful.
Keep Outdoor Components Clean
If your system has an outdoor component, the next thing to do is to perform a visual inspection. The area around the unit should be clean and debris-free. If there are shrubs, plants, or branches touching the AC unit, clear them away.
While you’re outside, make sure there are no leaves caught in the unit. Though leaves are often thought of as a problem to be dealt with in the fall, they’re a year-round concern. If you wait until springtime to clean the unit, a year’s worth of debris may have worked its way into the interior. It’s a good idea to leave a three-foot space around the unit to prevent further problems.
Consider a Programmable Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to lower your monthly utility bill is to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. With this advanced technology, it’s possible to control your HVAC system even when you’re not home.
With a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the system’s settings to suit your schedule and the weather. While you’re at work, you can set the temperature a little higher than normal (or turn the unit off entirely). Not only will you save money, but you’ll help keep your HVAC system from struggling during a long, hot Millbrook summer.
Use Fans to Maximize Airflow
Positioning fans throughout the home will make a significant difference in the feel and comfort of the indoor air. There are a few options, such as tabletop fans, floor fans, and ceiling fans, to consider.
Ceiling fans are one of the best ways to keep your home cool during the summer. Make sure they’re set to turn clockwise, so the air flows downward and excess heat is kept from rising to the ceiling. When cooler weather comes around again, reverse the fans’ rotation to bring warm air down.
Setting up smaller fans throughout the home will maximize the flow of cool air throughout the home. Floor and tabletop fans can easily be moved from one room to another for effective cooling no matter the temperature outside. There are a few other ways to keep the home cool without putting too much strain on your HVAC system. Consider opening a window or two or invest in a portable AC unit.
Hang Some New Window Treatments
If you’re lucky enough to have a home with plenty of windows, you may have seen that it gets quite hot when the sun penetrates the glass. As the interior of the home heats up, your air conditioning system must pick up the slack.
One simple way to beat the heat is to invest in blinds, heavy drapes, and other high-quality window treatments. Putting coverings over large and sun-exposed areas will prevent the daily buildup of hot air that’s common during summer.
Clean Out the Vents
An HVAC system can only work at peak efficiency if there’s nothing obstructing internal airflow. Apart from having the ductwork professionally inspected, there’s another easy way to check for blockages. It’s easy to walk through the home and inspect each air vent. Use a vacuum hose to clear away debris and dust and ensure that the vents are open in highly trafficked rooms. These basic steps will help your heating and air conditioning system provide consistent cooling throughout the home. While basic maintenance will help improve the HVAC system’s function, if there are more serious issues, you may have to leave them to a professional.
Clean Out the Condensate Drain Line
If your system has an outdoor component, it likely has a condensate drain. This thin PVC pipe drips water when the AC is on. Because there’s constant moisture, there may be algae clogging the line. In some cases, a float switch may cause the system to switch off. To clean the drain line, remove the end piece and use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any accumulated sludge and water. When that’s done, replace the end piece.
Check the System’s Refrigerant Level
On most systems, there are two copper lines running to the condenser unit; one line may be larger than the other and wrapped in insulation. This line should sweat when the system is in use and it should feel cold when touched. However, if the line feels hot after the system has been used, call us to top off the coolant and inspect the system for further problems.
Minimize Heat Output From Appliances
During the summer, it may help to avoid using big, heat-generating appliances during the hottest parts of the day. If you’re cooking dinner, consider using an outdoor grill instead of your oven. Using the oven will heat up the kitchen, spreading hot air to the rest of the home and forcing your HVAC unit to work overtime.
Additionally, rather than putting your clothes in the dryer, try hanging them outside if possible. You’ll avoid heating up the laundry room, and the sun will do all the hard work for you. Plus, your clothes will smell like fresh air and sunshine! These steps not only promote the health of your heating and cooling system, but they also help you save money each month.
Have Damaged Insulation Repaired or Replaced
The system’s suction line is a copper pipe that connects the outdoor unit to the rest of the home. If the line’s insulation is damaged, the outdoor unit may not be getting enough cooling power. The resulting loss of cooling will affect the entire system, straining it and making it run less efficiently. Cold winter temperatures, pests, humidity, and sun rot can all damage the suction line’s insulation. This isn’t a DIY job; call us for prompt, professional home AC repair near me.
Pay Attention to the Way the Unit Functions
If you’ve turned the unit on for the first time this season, be sure to observe how often it turns on and how much power it uses. Most homeowners take their HVAC systems for granted, and they don’t realize that their system is malfunctioning or that the ductwork is leaking until they get a power bill that’s much higher than normal. If the system seems to switch on more often than normal, it’s time to call us for service. With our tune-up and inspection program, we’ll evaluate your system’s condition, fixing leaks and replacing malfunctioning parts.
Enroll in an HVAC Maintenance Program
If your system has issues to be resolved before summer, a maintenance plan membership makes it easy to get the service you need at a great rate. Our “4 No Wait Club” membership gives you front-of-the-line service priority, as well as a 20% discount on all cooling and heating repairs. Call or click today to get started!
Schedule a Seasonal Tune-Up
To ensure that your HVAC unit is running as efficiently as possible, a pre-season tune-up is essential. With our spring tune-up services, it’s never been easier to get your air conditioner in shape for summer. Call today for maintenance or air conditioner repair and stay cool all season long!
Think About Upgrading Your HVAC Unit
If you’ve followed all the tips on our list and your air conditioner still isn’t getting the job done, it might be time for a system upgrade. Though an older unit may seem to work fine, it can cost you hundreds of dollars per year in terms of wasted energy and cooling loss. Today’s central air conditioning units are more efficient than ever, which will help you save each month. We can help you choose the right HVAC system for your home’s cooling needs and your budget.
Why Seasonal HVAC Maintenance is So Important
It’s essential to maintain your home’s heating and air conditioning system. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of pre-seasonal AC maintenance.
- It will keep you cool. AC maintenance will help prevent costly and inconvenient breakdowns during Millbrook’s hottest days. Be sure to schedule an inspection before turning your AC on for the first time this season. Our trained technicians will find and resolve those small problems before they turn into big and expensive ones.
- It extends the unit’s lifespan. A well-maintained HVAC unit will work better and last longer. A central air conditioner is a big investment, and seasonal maintenance is an easy and cost-effective way to protect that investment.
- It will save you money. When a home’s AC unit is properly maintained, it runs more efficiently. An inefficient system has to work harder to cool the home, which means it will use more energy (and cost you more money). By hiring us for spring service, you’ll keep the family comfortable and save money at the same time.
There are many other reasons to schedule springtime AC service with us. Visit us online for more details or call today to request a pre-season service appointment.
Let Us Help You Summer-Proof Your HVAC System
Spring is here, which means summer heat is just around the corner. If you want to be ready to enjoy longer days and warmer temperatures, give us a call. Though the DIY tips in this guide can help improve your HVAC unit’s efficiency, professional service will keep you and your family comfortable no matter how hot it gets outside. Fill out our online contact form or call today to schedule a prompt, friendly, and professional air conditioning service.