With summer heating up, the last thing you want to deal with is a broken air conditioner. By reducing the strain on your HVAC you can lower your energy bill and extend the life expectancy of your system. Here are a few quick tips on how to help your HVAC run more smoothly this summer.
- Check your vents – HVAC systems are designed to run as efficiently as possible and to produce enough heated or cooled air for specific square footage. It might seem like a good idea to close the vents in a room that you don’t use. If you have a guest room or an office that isn’t occupied, closing the vent and closing the room seems logical. However, it actually isn’t a good idea. By closing the vent, you are preventing the air from flowing the way it is supposed to. Instead of exiting the duct, into the guest room, it meets a blockage, bounces off the closed vent, and begins to push its way back down the duct. This sort of creates a traffic jam because the air that is blocked is now pushing against incoming air, and this causes the HVAC to work harder, trying to push air out, past the incoming air. Another reason you should not close the vents in unused spaces is that your HVAC is designed to produce air for specific square footage. If you have an HVAC rated for 1,500 sq. ft. and you close off 2 rooms, to make your home 1,100 sq. ft., the HVAC is still producing air for 1,500 sq. ft. So the air for that extra 400 sq. ft. that has been closed off is now pushing its way back down the air duct, trying to find a place to go. Closing vents is not a great way to reduce the strain on your HVAC, so take a quick walk through your home and make sure all the vents are open and not blocked by curtains, couches, or anything else.
- Change your filters – one of the easiest ways to ensure your HVAC is running smoothly is to make sure there are no obstructions. An obstruction could be a dirty or clogged filter, a blocked air vent, or air ducts that need to be updated. Changing the filter on your HVAC is easy, it helps keep your home clean, and it helps reduce the strain on the system. If you aren’t sure how to change the filter, ask your HVAC specialist to show you during your next maintenance visit. The filter’s job is to remove airborne particles from the air to improve the efficiency of the HVAC and to keep the air clean. Things like pollen, dust, pet dander, and bacteria are all things that the filter can remove from the air. However, if a filter is not changed regularly, it can become more of a hindrance than a helper. A filter that is left too long will become clogged with all the particles floating through the air, big and small. This means that the air from the ducts has to try to force its way past the clog, making the HVAC work harder. It also means that the filter is no longer cleaning the air. An easy solution is to sign up for an automatic delivery so you don’t have to keep track of things. You just know that when the new filter arrives, it is time to change it out. Most filters need to be changed every 3 months, but higher quality filters can sometimes last longer. If you live with someone with respiratory issues, you may want to consider upgrading the filter, so that it can remove more irritants than just the basics you get from a standard filter.
- Outdoor debris – another issue, with a simple fix has to do with your outdoor condenser unit. It is the big box located outside your home that blows out hot air when the air conditioner is running. Its job is to remove heat from inside your home and disperse it outside. If this box becomes blocked in any way, it can cause a backup within the HVAC system, and that causes strain. Every week or so, walk over to the condenser unit and make sure it is clear of debris – fallen leaves, sticks, overgrown weeds, toys, etc. You want the condenser to be able to blow air out easily, with nothing blocking it. This is a simple and inexpensive thing you can do on your own.
- Regular maintenance – having regular maintenance completed on your HVAC is another way to reduce the strain on your system. Most HVAC specialists recommend having a check-up twice a year – once in the fall, before turning on the heat, and once in the spring, before switching over to air conditioning. This makes sure that everything is running efficiently and that there aren’t any little issues that could become big problems down the road. Extra strain not only increases your energy bills, it also reduces the lifespan of the heating and cooling system. Taking the time to have a maintenance person come over will save you a lot of stress and money over the years.
Don’t wait until your air conditioner is unable to keep up with the heat, don’t wait until you hear a weird clunking sound. Call Reliance Home Comfort today to schedule your next maintenance visit so you can reduce the strain on your HVAC this summer.