Summer will be here before you know it. For many homes, that means making sure your air conditioning is prepared to battle the heat. Sweltering temperatures can take a major toll on your HVAC system. That’s why now is the time to make sure your air conditioning unit is ready for the challenge.
Check the Filters
Changing and cleaning your HVAC filters is one of the simplest ways to help your unit run more efficiently. In addition to trapping dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles, filters also help catch buildup and prevent it from coating your heating and cooling system.
When the filters get clogged with buildup, it places more strain on the AC unit, reduces air flow, and eventually leads to a breakdown if not taken care of. Make filter replacement part of your regular home maintenance routine. Every 30-90 days is ideal, depending on your filter type.
Clear Any Debris
One of the other basic ways to prep your AC unit is to ensure that any obstructions around the unit are cleared away. You don’t want overgrown shrubs, trees, or tall grass crowding the space around your condenser or air handler.
Ideally, maintain a two to three-foot barrier of clear space around your AC to allow free airflow. When plants and trees cast shade onto your air conditioning unit, it doesn’t allow it to run as efficiently and the system has to spend more energy fighting to cool you off.
Check Your Ductwork
It’s also very important to ensure that your air ducts are in good working order. Ductwork that is crimped, severed, or improperly sealed or insulated can really wreak havoc on your summer cooling bill.
If you have ductwork running through unconditioned spaces like attics or crawl spaces, hire an HVAC company to inspect your ducts and make sure everything is functioning properly. Often times small leaks or gaps in the ducts will greatly decrease the amount of cooled air that actually reaches your living space.
Having your air conditioning system maintained and serviced by trained HVAC companies in Tacoma before the summer weather arrives is one of the best ways to avoid serious problems when its least convenient.
As part of the overall checkup, technicians should run tests on the thermostat, refrigerant levels, pressure, and other key components to ensure everything is operating smoothly and efficiently. They may also clean the coils and parts of your AC unit to help prevent accumulation of dirt and buildup.
Tune Up the Thermostat
Have you programmed and calibrated your thermostat correctly? While many homeowners simply set their thermostats and leave them be, you may get more comfortable indoor temperatures by fine-tuning the settings. Look at adjusting the temperature differential setting so the system runs long enough to adequately cool or heat the space.
Most experts recommend keeping indoor temperatures 5 to 7 degrees warmer than outside temperatures during summer months to avoid strain and wasted energy trying to achieve freezing indoor temps in 100 degree heat.
Supplement with Fans
Make sure to use ceiling fans and standing fans during hot weather to maximize your sense of comfort while also minimizing the work your air conditioner has to do. Circulating air makes it feel cooler, so your thermostat doesn’t have to be set as low.
Plus, the efficiency of air movement makes the system more effective. A good quality fan makes a world of difference when you’re waiting for your AC unit to catch up! The locating and sizing of fans is key too.
Rather than try to troubleshoot AC issues on your own this summer, have an HVAC company inspect your system. Trained technicians have the expertise to spot hidden problems and make all necessary repairs, replacements, or upgrades.
Tackling any lingering maintenance now will save you money, frustration and discomfort during sweltering temperatures. Don’t wait until you have no choice except an expensive emergency service call! Be proactive so you can rely on comfortable cooling all season long.