We all love summer. It’s the time to kick back a little more than usual and enjoy the warm sunshine. Still, those sunny days make us appreciate the A/C when it kicks on. It’s great to get hot and sweaty as long as we can chill out when we come inside. Don’t get stuck with a broken-down HVAC system when a heatwave hits. Use our eight tips to prepare your HVAC system for summer so you can stay focused on more important things, like putting on your sunscreen and firing up the grill.
What Is the HVAC System?
When we refer to the HVAC system, it’s more than just the air conditioner. HVAC is your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and they all work together. There are other parts, such as the thermostat, ductwork (when using a system requiring it), refrigerant tubing, and the condensing unit, that all play a role in cooling and heating the house. All of these parts need regular check-ups and maintenance to remain in reliable working condition.
Look around at all parts and units for obvious debris. Your condensing unit, which sits outside, is highly susceptible to debris, such as twigs, leaves, and dirt. Turn the unit off, then remove all debris on the unit and around it. The condenser removes heat from the air in your home. It does a better job when it is clear of dirt and grime. Continue this practice once a month, and it will be quick and easy each time.
If you have a ductless system, you get to skip this step. However, if your HVAC system includes ductwork, those ducts will collect plenty of dust bunnies, dirt, and all kinds of interesting grime over time. You can see into some of the ductwork, but it goes much further than that. Get a professional in to thoroughly clean all the ductwork. As a bonus, the dust levels will decrease in the house when you have clean ducts.
Not all HVAC systems use belts, but when they do, you’ll notice efficiency start to decline as the belt wears out. Have those belts checked every season to make sure they’re ready to go. If they’re cracked or worse, replace them.
If your system has insulation around any cooling pipes, replace it when it looks worn out or torn. Lack of insulation leads to a lack of efficiency.
Your HVAC system has air constantly traveling through it. The air filters clean that air. There’s no sense cooling the air if it’s recycled back dirty. This is especially true for those with allergies that are aggravated by things in the air. Check air filters, and when dirt is obvious, it’s time for a new one. It’s easy for the homeowner to change most filters, but if you aren’t comfortable with doing it yourself, an HVAC professional can easily change them for you.
Ditch the Humidifier
Humidifiers, whether standing alone or attached to the furnace, put moisture into the air during dry seasons like winter. Now that the air has more humidity, thanks to the summer weather, turn those humidifiers off. Your A/C is working hard to pull humidity from the air, and it’ll only work harder if it’s competing with the humidity you’re adding to it.
Don’t confuse your humidifier with the dehumidifier. Many homes need a dehumidifier during the summer to help pull out moisture, especially in areas like the basement.
Check the Fans
To make sure the fan on your HVAC system is working properly, go to your thermostat and turn it off. Now turn it back on and listen to it start. If you hear nothing or if it sounds like your fan is struggling, give your HVAC professional a call to check it out. After many years of use, motors wear out, and you may need to replace them. Without a working fan, there’s nothing to blow the cool air through your home.
It’s great to check what you can yourself, but nothing beats routine maintenance performed by an HVAC professional. A common schedule for routine maintenance is once in the fall to prepare your HVAC system for winter, then again in the spring to prepare for summer.
This routine check-up lets your HVAC professional get to know your system well so they can quickly see or hear any issues before they get bigger. When your service person is in your home, they’ll check all of your system’s filters and belts, then clean the unit thoroughly. They can read freon levels and replace if necessary and listen to the sound of your system’s fan to see how it’s working. Everything gets a thorough examination—after that, you’ll know your HVAC system won’t let you down during those cold or hot months.
The Benefits of a Ductless HVAC System
With all this talk about maintaining an HVAC system, it only makes sense to quickly discuss how a ductless system lowers maintenance needs.
Traditional systems require ductwork. Ductwork is a system of passages placed throughout a home, most often in the ceiling or floor, to give the air from the HVAC system a path to travel. The problem with ductwork is that as air constantly flows to and from throughout the house, it’s taking dirt and dust with it. This isn’t necessarily a horrible thing, but it does require more maintenance and, in turn, a higher cost. The ducts are hidden within ceilings and floors, so getting to them is a costly mess. They also require regular cleaning to remove built-up dirt, dust, and sometimes mold. Usually, a professional must complete this cleaning.
Ductless systems usually hang on a wall, with a unit inside and another outside. You won’t need anything behind the walls, in the ceilings, or throughout the floors. It’s simply less maintenance and less cost for repairs and cleaning. All the simplicity means a system that’s easier to maintain and keep running efficiently.
Hopefully, our eight tips to prepare your HVAC system for summer have encouraged you to pay attention to your A/C and get it in shape for the hot months ahead. If it’s time for a change or a new system, check out our Pioneer Mini Split store or contact us, and we’ll help you make the best decision for your home by answering all of your questions and explaining each HVAC system. We’re your trusted source for the mini-split A/C wall mount, along with many other heating and cooling options. At Pioneer Mini Split, we hope you stay cool and enjoy the lazy days of summer.