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How to Get Your HVAC System Ready for Spring

Heating

At this time of year, when the weather is getting warm again, you will start wanting to cool your home instead of heating it.

It’s important to ensure your HVAC system is up to the job, so you can keep your home comfortable and enjoy energy efficiency.

The benefits you will enjoy from this seasonal maintenance include:

  • Optimal home comfort
  • Lower energy costs
  • Longer HVAC system lifespan
  • Fewer midseason breakdowns
  • Reduced repair costs
  • Protected warranty coverage

The following steps should be helpful for this transition into spring and help ensure your AC is ready to keep you cool all summer long:

Examine the Air Filter

Because the HVAC filter captures pollen, dust and other particles, airflow is reduced over time, which means your system has to work harder. This is why it’s a good idea to replace your filter regularly.

Change it every one to three months, depending on filter type and usage. Choose the right efficiency rating and size for your system, as choosing the wrong filter will decrease efficiency and restrict airflow.

If you don’t know which filter to get or how to install it, just ask your HVAC professional when you have your next scheduled maintenance appointment.

Check the Outdoor Condensing Unit

The outdoor condensing unit is the outdoor part of the AC system that blows out hot air.

It’s an important part of the AC cooling process, so you will need to prepare it for the summer before powering it up:

  1. Remove the AC cover if you covered it up for protection from snow and ice during the winter months.
  2. It’s likely the exterior unit will be covered in dirt, leaves, and other debris. Use a garden hose to wash the buildup away.
  3. As the area around the condensing unit needs to be clear for the best airflow, clear away any pine needles, leaves, and other debris. It’s also wise to prune nearby plants so your AC condenser has 1 or 2 feet of clearance all around.
  4. Check the unit is level, as sometimes the concrete underneath can shift over the years and make the unit tilt. If this has happened, you can wedge shims under the lower part of the unit and check it’s now correct with a carpenter’s level.

Change the Thermostat

Have the thermostat at a temperature you find comfortable and energy efficient. 78 degrees F is advised for the summer months when you’re in the house.

If you’re too hot, switch the ceiling fan on to make the home feel cooler without having to turn down the thermostat.

If nobody is home, consider putting the temperature up by 7 to 10 degrees F, to keep your energy bills lower.

A programmable thermostat is a good idea so you can reduce energy bills without sacrificing comfort. Program it to go back down to 78 degrees F when you’re due home. This can save up to 10% on energy bills, so it’s well worth doing.

Check and Clean Out the Air Registers

Airborne debris such as dust and pet hair builds up on return and supply registers and this can hinder airflow.

You can clean the registers using your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment. After this, ensure all the vents are open and not blocked by curtains, rugs, or furniture.

Although many people assume that closing vents in spare rooms conserves energy, this is not the case. Instead, it just interrupts the return and supply balance of the AC system.

Keep at least 80% of the supply registers unblocked and open all the time to avoid this type of unnecessary strain.

Find and Seal Air Leaks

Leaky doors, windows and other gaps allow humid hot air to get into the home. Check door and window seals and seal any holes you find with caulk and weatherstripping.

Next, check the attic for gaps near ductwork, pipes, and light fixtures for insufficient insulation, and close any leaks using spray foam. Put more insulation on top to minimize air exchange coming through the attic floor.

Power Up the System

Run the AC for several minutes to test it before the weather gets too warm. Go through every room and check there is cool air coming from every vent. If there’s anything wrong, call an HVAC technician to come out and remedy the issue.

Although basic HVAC maintenance is easy enough for homeowners to tackle, you will still need a certified professional HVAC technician to perform other maintenance tasks.

Only professionals have the appropriate training and tools for tasks such as tightening electrical connections, measuring the refrigerant charge, and cleaning out the evaporator coil.

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