Spring weather tends to be pleasant and mild, but outdoor temperatures can get warmer in a matter of weeks. Thus, you must make sure your HVAC system is ready to face the blistering heat of summer. Having your home comfort equipment serviced each spring helps improve its efficiency, allowing you to save money on energy costs and avoid costly repairs in the future. As the leading residential and commercial HVAC contractor in the area, we recommend you check out this checklist that will serve as your guide to getting started with this major home maintenance task.
Clean or replace your air filter. One of the best things you can do to ensure the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system is to clean or replace its air filter regularly. This should be done every one to three months, depending on the type of air filter you have. Mechanical filters, which are the cheapest and least effective HVAC filters, need to be changed more often than any other type. Electrostatic varieties, which rely on electricity to trap particles that other filters can’t attract, need to be changed or cleaned every three months.
This particular task should be a part of your monthly maintenance routine. The longer you wait before cleaning or replacing your air filter, the more likely it is that your HVAC system will shut down automatically. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by setting calendar and phone reminders to alert you the next time you need to replace it. We also suggest writing the replacement date on the air filter itself so you’ll know how long it’s been since you last replaced it.
Clean the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit of your HVAC system houses integral components like the compressor, cooling fins and tubes and a fan. Also called the condenser unit, its primary function is to release indoor heat outside your house. However, like your gutters and the rest of your home’s exterior, it’s a magnet for dust and dirt. If you don’t keep it clean, heat cannot be released outside, which will then cause your equipment to run longer than expected. In addition to the likelihood of overheating, this will also cause your monthly energy bills to soar.
Before using your air conditioning system for your indoor cooling needs this summer, first inspect your outdoor unit. Leaves, twigs, grass and other debris may have collected next to or on top of it. Remove any debris you find lying around. Also, make sure the surrounding area is free of obstructions. Maintain at least 24-inch clearance all around it to ensure proper airflow. Trim back tree branches, shrubs and other plant life if necessary.
In addition to these tasks, you can give the outdoor unit a more thorough cleaning using your garden hose. Be sure to turn off the HVAC system’s power source first, which you can find near the unit itself. If you can’t locate it, you can turn it off from your circuit breaker box. With a heavy-duty vacuum, remove grass clippings and other loose debris on the external part of the unit. Then, spray it with water from a garden hose to wash away any remaining dirt and debris. Once dry, inspect and realign bent or crushed fins using a fin comb.
Upgrade to a better thermostat. If you have an older thermostat at home, consider upgrading to a newer, better one. When you make the switch from a manual to a programmable thermostat, you’ll be sure to achieve significant energy savings. A programmable thermostat works by adjusting your home’s heating and cooling requirements according to a pre-set schedule.
Programmable thermostats will enable you to either set different temperatures for each day of the week or set one temperature for the weekdays and another for the weekend. Another variety called smart thermostats learn what temperatures you like at different times of the day, eventually adapting to your usual household schedule. These thermostats can be integrated into home automation systems and are accessible via smartphone apps, which means you can see all the pertinent information like your upcoming air filter replacement schedule and real-time temperatures around your house.
To get the most out of your new thermostat, you must know the ideal settings recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy. Turning it up (or down in the winter) 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting can help you save as much as 10% a year on cooling and heating. This summer, set your thermostat to 78°F only when you’re at home and need cooling. If you’re out, keep your house warmer than normal. A higher interior temperature will slow heat flow into your house, saving you energy on air conditioning.
Schedule an HVAC tune-up. Scheduling a tune-up appointment this spring will help you accomplish things that only a professional technician can do. These include, among other things, lubricating moving parts, cleaning the interior of your condenser unit, tightening electrical connections and checking refrigerant levels. In so doing, you get more out of your HVAC system, especially in the summer months when you rely on it more frequently.
The very last thing you want to happen in the summer is for your air conditioning unit to break down all of a sudden. By the time you call the HVAC contractor for an emergency repair, they’ll likely be busy tending to the needs of other customers. It could take a few days or even up to a week for your service request to be entertained. Spring is an off-peak season for HVAC companies in your area, which is why it makes sense to schedule a spring tune-up before summer rolls around again.
At Acker Heating & Cooling, we offer maintenance services that help extend the lifespan of your HVAC unit and allow it to perform efficiently. We recommend two services each year; an air conditioning tune-up in the spring and a heating system tune-up in the fall. To learn what one of our maintenance calls entails, get in touch with us, and we’ll share with you a comprehensive list based on the type of unit and season. As licensed HVAC contractors, we have the tools, equipment and experience to keep your system running smoothly all-year-long.
Let us prepare your AC system for the summer season! Call us today at (706) 715-2607 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.