Spring is right around the corner and with it, warmer temperatures. To make sure that your HVAC system is ready to combat the heat, there are a few things that you should take care of in the early spring. Here are 6 things you should do before turning on the air conditioning.
- Schedule a Maintenance Visit with an HVAC Specialist
The best thing you can do for your HVAC system is have regular maintenance completed on it at least once a year (twice a year is better). It’s recommended that you have maintenance once in the early spring, before turning on the air conditioning and once in the fall, before switching over to heat. Making time for maintenance means that your HVAC system will be running as efficiently as possible throughout the year, and that any issues will be resolved before they become bigger, more expensive problems. HVAC systems can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years and those that are well-maintained generally have a longer lifespan than those that are not. Maintaining your system will save you money on your monthly energy bills and on the cost of a new HVAC unit. A new system ranges from about $5,000 to $12,000. If it lives 10 years, a $10,000 unit costs $1,000/year – if it lives for 20 years, that brings the cost down to $500 a year. The longer the system lives and operates efficiently, the more money you save.
- Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat – Smart technology in your home has become somewhat of a “buzz word” and some items may or may not be worth it. A smart thermostat is definitely WORTH IT. Smart thermostats are similar to a programmable thermostat in that you can program it to change the temperature in your home throughout the day. However, one benefit of the smart thermostat is that you can make changes from your smartphone. If you go on vacation and forget to change the thermostat before you leave, no problem! Click, click on your phone, and you are good to go. Smart thermostats are always collecting data and trying to operate as efficiently as possible. They learn your habits and adjust accordingly. If you lower the thermostat 2 degrees before going to bed each night, your thermostat will start doing that for you, in a more efficient way, that saves energy and money. Upgrading to a smart thermostat is definitely something you want to do in the spring so that you can save as much money as possible. Don’t wait until summer, when your air conditioner is running 24/7.
- Spring Cleaning for Air Ducts – scheduling a cleaning for your air ducts is a great way to clean out any irritants that have built up over the year. This includes mold, mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and other airborne particles that can linger within the ductwork. This is especially important if you live with someone who has respiratory problems. You can also use this time to check for leaks within the ductwork. If air is leaking, your system is not operating efficiently and you are paying money to cool areas of your home that aren’t meant to be cooled. You should have your ducts cleaned about every 5 years (more if you have a loved one with breathing problems) but you should have the ducts checked more frequently for leaks.
- Air Out Your Home – over the winter dust, dirt, mildew, allergens, bacteria, and indoor pollutants (think coughs, hair spray or fumes from cooking) have built up within your home. Opening those windows to air things out is a great and easy way to freshen up the inside of your home. According to the EPA, indoor air is usually about 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. This is because there is a lot more outdoor air so pollutants become more diluted. Rain, clouds, and wind also help to spread the pollutants out, rather than keeping them concentrated in one area. Indoor air is generally recycled so any pollutants in your home just keep circling through. Opening the windows is an easy way to freshen up the air you breathe.
- Replace and/or Upgrade Air Filter – air filters are another way to clean the air in your home. Most filters should be replaced about every 3 months – the packaging will tell you how often to change them. If you don’t want to remember, you can sign up for a subscription which will deliver your filter whenever it is due for a change. Upgrading to a higher-quality filter can also improve the cleanliness of the air in your home. While these filters do cost more, they also have the ability to filter out more airborne particles. If you have a loved one with respiratory issues, paying more for a better filter will improve the air quality at home.
- Check the Outdoor Condenser Unit – a quick thing you should do each spring, before turning on the air conditioning is to go outside and check the condenser unit. It is a big box with a fan, and when the air conditioner is on, it blows hot air. The condenser’s job is to remove hot air from your home to make room for the cold air that is being produced. If the condenser is blocked by anything, it can’t operate efficiently, and that can cause strain on the entire HVAC system. Because the condenser unit isn’t used when heating the home, it can sometimes be forgotten about over the winter. Look to see if there are any sticks, leaves, or other debris blocking the unit. Clear it and make sure if you have any shrubs, bushes, or trees growing nearby, that they are trimmed back, well away from the unit. Keep an eye on it throughout the summer so that the whole system can operate smoothly.
Most of us are ready for some warm weather and we are excited to welcome spring and summer. Make sure that you don’t skip your HVAC when making your spring cleaning list. Schedule an appointment with Reliance Home Comfort as soon as possible. Our highly-trained team will be more than happy to get your HVAC system in tip-top shape before the summer heat arrives.