How Prepare Your HVAC System for Spring
By: Brian Anderson
As the days start getting warmer and warmer, you appreciate that cool breeze that instantly welcomes you when you walk through your door. By late spring, temperatures continue to rise and your home starts feeling stuffy. You turn on the fans and they don’t seem to be helping.
Uh oh – your Air Conditioning (A/C) is on the fritz. Our A/C units do a lot for us during the hottest months of the year and sadly, don’t receive enough TLC to make it through the summer. To guide you through the process, here is the ultimate homeowner’s guide for preparing A/C units for its busy season.
Work From the Outside In
First, start off with the basics. The next time you’re outside, take a minute to inspect the condenser outside of your home. This unit is responsible for collecting fresh air and cooling it down to a specific temperature. Therefore, it is essential that any debris such as leaves, branches, or even long grass be cleared from its surrounding area. We recommend maintaining a two-foot debris-free zone around your condenser unit to ensure it can take in as much air as possible. And because this component of your unit is vital to your comfort, be sure to have it checked out during your routine HVAC inspection.
Freshening Up Indoors
Did you know air filters should be changed every month? Because air conditioners are used much during the spring and summer, filters collect so much more dust, allergens, and other particles that not only affect the efficiency of HVAC units but the air quality too. By replacing air filters regularly, homeowners can enjoy fresher air indoors and a lower energy bill.
Another aspect of an HVAC unit homeowners should keep in mind are the air vent covers or registers. Registers should be routinely checked out for visible grime and cleaned when necessary. Like dirty filters, dusty registers disrupt airflow and cause A/C systems to run at subpar levels. While inspecting registers, look for any leaks and/or blockages. HVAC units run the best when free of any kind of debris. In fact, blockages in the system can drop its efficiency by 15%. By following these simple steps, you can keep your system running smoothly and save money.
Get Your Ducts In A Row
Did you know that air particles travel through your home’s HVAC system about 5-7 times a day? While your HVAC system works hard to freshen up that air, particles such as dust, mold, and other debris often get lost in the mix. An air duct cleaning is a service offered by certified professionals who give your system a thorough cleaning. It provides a host of benefits for homes and homeowners. If you’re not sure if a duct cleaning is right for you, here are 5 classic signs your HVAC system is due for a cleaning.
1. You can’t remember the last time your air filters were changed
Dirty air filters are a reliable indicator of internal grime buildup.
2. Visible dust or mold growth on receptors or your HVAC unit
Visible signs of dust and/or mold growth on external components of your HVAC unit or being found by a technician inside of your system are clear indicators that your ducts should be cleaned. Some forms of mold, such as black mold, can be dangerous to your health making it essential to give your air ducts a clean as soon as possible.
3. Your home has been recently built or renovated
We all know how dirty and dusty construction sites can get and it’s very easy for those nasty particles to find their way into your home’s HVAC system. Start fresh in your new space by scheduling an air duct cleaning to maintain optimum cleanliness.
4. Signs of a pest infestation
If you are experiencing a current or previous pest infestation of any kind, you might want to consider taking an extra step and schedule an air duct cleaning after the exterminator has finished a job to make sure no critters are still hiding up there.
5. If your home is dusty no matter how much you clean
One of the most frustrating feelings is seeing a newly cleaned surface get dirty after just being cleaned. But if you’re noticing your lamp is noticeably dusty after just turning you back for a second, the problem might be dirty ducts.
Find the Right Temperature Setting
The first thing we all want to do when it gets hot out is to crank the A/C all the way up to stay cool. Sadly, doing this is often the biggest cause of rising energy bills, so I suggest the following: find the hottest possible temperature you can stand and try setting your thermostat to it. As much as all of us want it to be in the 60s inside our homes, that is not always the most cost-effective way to stay comfortable.
This doesn’t mean that you should make the jump straight from 68 to 75 degrees. Instead, move the temperature up gradually, by about a degree every few hours. This gives yourself, your family, and even your pets time to acclimate to the new temperature setting, and makes it feel much less drastic.
Find Creative Ways to Stay Cool
Another great option to keep your home comfortable, no matter the weather outside, is to use appliances and resources other than you’re a/C unit to control the indoor temperature. This can include things like:
- Turn on ceiling fans: Ceiling fans a great way to cool down a room
- Use the sun to your advantage: On a hot, sunny day, it is best to close your blinds or curtains to avoid extra heat entering your home through windows.
- Windows are a handy tool: Here in the Mid-Atlantic, the temperature can drop up to 20 degrees at night! This means that you can still sleep comfortably even without running your A/C; just open a window and let nature do its thing!
Be Smart About Your Thermostat
Smart thermostats are the most intelligent way to create an efficient heating and cooling schedule and keep your energy bills low. With the right smart thermostat, homeowners can schedule when they want their air conditioning to run. Some systems can even be controlled from a smartphone via WiFi. They can be programmed to not run the air conditioning when a house is empty, helping HVAC units avoid overuse and keeping energy costs down. Some thermostats even have the capability to learn your heating and cooling needs and preferences, and over time, will automatically adjust accordingly to your schedule.
Keep your System in Tip-Top-Shape
Like any piece of equipment, routine maintenance is essential. When spring arrives, or when you think your A/C is not running as smoothly as it should be, it’s best to call your local TemperaturePro HVAC technicians for an inspection. An inspection is a full investigation of how your HVAC system is working and makes sure there are no issues. Scheduling inspections twice a year, in the spring and fall, helps spot minor issues before they become seriously expensive ones. To help you stay on track, consider opting for TemperaturePro’s Total Comfort Membership Maintenance Program. Through this program, we offer two yearly inspections for a discounted cost. Let us worry about your HVAC system so you can focus on making memories throughout the spring and summer.
Want more tips? Found an issue and need it fixed? TemperaturePro is ready to answer your questions. HVAC services are what we do best, and our greatest priority is your comfort and peace of mind. Reach out to TemperaturePro today to speak with a technician or book an appointment.
Written by Brian Anderson