The summer heat will be here sooner that you might think, and nothing is more miserable than high temperatures and a sluggish HVAC system. Before the temperatures get that hot, there are a few things you can do to prepare your HVAC system for maximum efficiency and reduce your chances of having problems.
1) Change your air filter.
As usual, one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to keep your AC working efficiently is to change the filter whenever it starts to build up with dust. Dust clogging your filter not only circulates dirt around your home and in the air, it also causes your AC unit to have to work harder. Different AC units have different filters and how often you need to change your filter depends on what kind it is. But if you see dust build up, you know it is time, and if you have pets, you should check more often.
2) Clean and clear around your outside condenser.
Another thing to do is to check your outdoor unit, called the condenser. It is important that the area around your condenser unit is clean and free of debris. Leaves and twigs can build up in and around the condenser and affect performance. Clear any weeds or plants from around the unit to allow for full airflow. The 2 feet around your condenser should be free of any shrubs or plants.
3) Check coolant lines for insulation.
A quick inspection of your coolant lines is a great idea as well. The coolant lines are pipes or tubes carrying refrigerant from your indoor air handler to the condenser unit outside. They should be covered with foam coolant line insulation. Proper insulation makes a difference in your AC’s efficiency, so make sure the insulation is intact and not missing.
4) Check drain lines
The indoors portion of your HVAC unit includes the evaporator and air handler. The cooling coils in that indoor unit will have a drain line for water. If your air handler is in your garage or basement that line likely goes into or over the main floor drain. You will want to make sure that line is unclogged and draining properly. If that line becomes clogged it can back up into the pan and eventually overflow causing water damage and potentially mold.
5) Energy efficiency
There are also things to do to help you maximize your cooling efficiency all season long. Using sun blocking window coverings and keeping them closed through the hottest times of the day can help. Using ceiling fans to circulate air flow can also make a difference. Just make sure the fan is blowing air down during the summer and pulling air up throughout the winter. You should also look for cracks and drafts where air can escape and seal those up.
Another thing that may be helpful includes installing a programmable thermostat so you can set it to use less AC or heat when you don’t need it (like when you are not at home) and regulate your usage more precisely. Also, if the coils or fins on the outside condenser unit are dirty, clogged, or bent, it can cause your AC to run much less efficiently. You can use a refrigerator coil brush or soft brush on a vacuum to carefully clean the coils and fins. Just be very careful not to bend the fins. For more stubborn stuck on debris there are commercial AC coil cleaners available. If this is something you would rather not tackle yourself, we understand. Feel free to give us a call and we will be glad to help!
If you find your HVAC is still struggling to keep up after taking care of all these preparations, reach out to us to see how we can help. We always seek to repair rather than replace when possible, and we have information on financing a new system when the time is right. If your system needs a little maintenance, it is always better to find out early in the season rather than in the hottest part of the summer. We do offer HVAC preventative maintenance checks and recommend that you have one done twice a year – once in the spring and again in the fall. For preventative maintenance, HVAC repairs and service, or a whole new change out, you can depend on us to help you find the right solution for your needs. That is why, at Royal Heating and Air, we are the King of Comfort!