Easy Summer HVAC Maintenance Tips for Your Home
Our summer HVAC maintenance tips will help you keep your air conditioner in top shape. Don’t risk expensive breakdowns and sweltering heat indoors as you wait for help, be proactive with summer HVAC maintenance and reduce your risk of discomfort and malfunctions.
Typically performed in the spring before the first day of using the cooling system each year, an HVAC maintenance tune-up is a step you should NEVER skip, even if it is almost summer. During a maintenance tune-up, your HVAC tech thoroughly troubleshoots, inspects, and repairs essential AC system components to ensure the most efficient performance and help prevent breakdowns over the humid summer months.
If you have not yet had a pre-summer maintenance tune-up, move this task to the very top of your summer to-do list; preventative HVAC maintenance is an investment in your system that rewards you greatly, saving you time and money.
Replace the Air Filter
Change your air filter on a regular basis. During the summertime, filters often fill up with debris much quicker than in the spring, because the system runs more often. Check the filter each and every month to determine if a change is needed. And consider upgrading to a higher MERV filter for better contaminant control in the home and lessen summer allergy symptoms.
Depending on how often your cooling system gets used, your air filter should be replaced every 1-3 months. It is a good bet that you never thought about changing the filter at the end of the previous summer, now is the perfect time to check it and replace it.
Make sure vents are open and unblocked, by walking throughout your home and checking every vent, register, and return air grille. All vents and registers should be set open; do not close these in an attempt to cut off AC to unused areas, because this is not a smart way to save energy. Move furniture, furniture, and other items away from the grilles and vents to allow air to circulate freely throughout the ducts, into your home, and back to the air conditioning system.
Check the Wiring
It’s important to check the wiring of your HVAC system on a regular basis to make sure it continues to work properly and remains safe. First turn off the system and open the access panel. If you notice any wires that look burned or blackened, it’s time to call an HVAC professional and get them replaced as soon as you can.
Check the Condenser Unit Fan
Since the outside condenser AC unit is exposed to the weather and elements year round, the fan can get damaged due to debris that slips through the slits. A damaged fan can cause more severe problems and a lack of proper operation, so if you notice any issues, replace the condenser unit fan right away.
Clean the Condenser Unit
Be sure that you clean off the exterior part of the air conditioner. Do this whenever you do lawn maintenance or cut grass, as a reminder to yourself. Grass clippings, mulch, leaves, and other outdoor debris often gather on your condensing unit, and block the fins that allow heat to leave the system. Gently brush debris away, and make sure there are no debris or plants or other items in the two feet of space immediately surrounding the AC unit. Prune branches and shrubs nearby and pull up vegetation that has grown around the AC unit’s base. Also relocate outdoor storage away from your unit to eliminate any airflow obstructions. It does not take very long before grass, leaves, dirt and other debris gets into or on top of the outside condenser unit. This will reduce air flow, forcing your system to work harder and costing you more money. Remove whatever debris you can by hand, then switch off the AC unit and wash it out with a garden hose.
Upgrade the Thermostat
We are assuming that your home already has a programmable thermostat, which enables you to schedule when your cooling equipment comes on and helps control energy costs. But did you know that you can pick up a Wi-Fi model and gain access to the thermostat remotely through any internet connection? It’s the latest and hottest trend in AC units. Consider your household’s potential summer schedule changes and be sure to program your thermostat around them.
Set later wake-up times in the morning, since there is no bus to catch for kids. With family members home all day, adjust setbacks for more occupancy hours rather than a vacant home from 8am to 5pm. Set it for your summer sports and activities schedules that keep you out of the home for periods of time. Set up for later bedtimes as well.
When traveling, be sure to activate your programmable thermostat’s hold or vacation feature when you leave to deliver optimal energy savings. Upgrading to a smart or Wi-Fi thermostat takes the human error element out, saving money on cooling while away so you can better enjoy summer experiences.
Install whole house dehumidifiers to remove the excess moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers pull out the moisture as air cycles through your HVAC system. While air conditioners do help for dehumidification to some extent, the summer humidity levels are usually too high for them to efficiently tackle on their own.
Review and inspect your condensate drain system to make sure moisture created by the cooling process exits your home properly. Condensation backup in these lines could potentially lead to higher humidity in your home and water damage to your cooling equipment and to your house.