It’s amazing how much the kids begin to whine when the mercury rises. It’s amazing how much your spouse begins to whine, too. You don’t handle a hot and humid house much better, so it’s important to ensure that your HVAC unit is ready to run efficiently all summer long to avoid an uncomfortable – literally – situation. If you follow these five maintenance tips, you’ll have refreshing indoor air until fall.
1. Purchase the Best Air Filters
You might think it’s wise to save money and buy the cheapest air filters for your HVAC unit but it isn’t. Purchase high-efficiency filters that are pleated and designed to grab every microorganism in the air. These filters work using electrostatic charges to grab bacteria, dirt, dust, mildew, mold, pet dander, pollen, and many other irritants. They also help your HVAC unit run more efficiently, which saves you money when the utility bill arrives. Change your filters every 30 to 90 days.
2. Clear a Path
Clear away debris from your HVAC unit if it rests outdoors. Make certain you also clear the condensate drain. You want to clear at least two feet all the way around your unit and its operating pumps. Make certain you do this weekly throughout the summer, as this will prevent the debris from getting into your HVAC unit and clogging it or otherwise rendering it inoperable. Common debris includes dirt, leaves, pollen, twigs, and the lawnmower grass clippings.
3. Keep it Cool
Every month go out and check the refrigerant lines that lead into your home. If they appear clogged, cracked, damaged, or are missing, you’ll need to replace them. This is a crucial part of your regular HVAC maintenance routine for numerous reasons. One, you don’t want the coolant leaking outdoors, as this could be an environmental hazard. Two, inefficient lines will prevent your AC from keeping your indoor temperature at its set comfort level.
4. Be Level Headed
On a regular basis, especially if you live in California and shake, rattle, and roll, check to make certain your HVAC unit is level. Grab your level from the garage and assess the angle of your unit and your heat pump. If anything is off-balance, purchase leveling pads to straighten things out. You might also want to note that an unlevel unit might signal damage to your home’s underlying foundation. This is not something you want to hear, but don’t put off having it checked.
5. Cut the Water and Open the Registers
Finally, cut the furnace humidifier’s water supply in the summer. You don’t need it and it will prevent the AC portion of your HVAC unit from operating properly. Also, open up all, or at least most, of your air registers in the house. If you have more than 20 percent of them closed, your unit will strain itself as it tries to cool the house down to the thermostat setting. Open everything up and let the cool and refreshing air burst through the vents.
A bonus tip is to replace your home’s carbon monoxide detector batteries annually, even if they aren’t beeping the low-life signal. Don’t risk carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, summer or winter.