With summer just around the corner, your assets may require a check-up. Now, whilst the weather is milder, is the time to go throughout the building (home or office) and check over your systems to ensure that they are running efficiently and effectively before the warmer air hits.
Here are some top tips to help you prepare your HVAC system for summer:
Dirty filters really can lower the efficiency and performance of HVAC systems, it isn’t just a myth implemented to aid the selling of extra filters!
The efficiency is effected when the filter becomes more and more blocked, this causes the pressure to drop and the airflow to decrease.
This causes your system to work harder and harder in order to reach the desired temperatures you’ve set. Not only does this use up more energy it also causes more wear and tear on your existing internal components.
Obviously, energy and parts come at a cost which is a major downside of not changing the filters, not to mention damaging the longevity of your entire system.
Spring is the perfect time to replace your filters. Over winter, the dust levels and debris build up. You’ll need your A/C more than ever during the hotter summer months too, so make sure you’re prepared well and truly before the heat comes.
Although we recommend spring as a good time to change the filter, regular filter changes should be scheduled far more regularly. It is recommended as a minimum that this is done every quarter, more frequently when there are pets in the home.
You must always check the airflow arrows are pointing the same way. If you’re not sure how to replace the filter or which filter to purchase, seek out professional advice. Improper placement, sizes and types of filters can all cause severe problems for HVAC systems.
Clean Supply Vents
It isn’t just about the filters. There are other areas that need attention too. Just like the filters, vents can become clogged with the debris and dust that has built up over the winter period.
This can be an easy fix, simply ensure all vents are exposed (if you have a zoned system you might have vents covered from winter) and then vacuum/dust them in order to clear them.
Once again, spring is a great time to get up there and clean them.
An annual check should suffice but if you keep an eye and make sure they’re clear all year round you could prevent any malfunctions or breakdowns.
Professional duct cleaning services are available if you think a simple spring clean won’t be enough. Doing this also improves airflow and indoor air quality, too.
Clean Condenser Coils
Cleaning is vital to a long and healthy life for your HVAC system. ACs do some dirty work, particularly their condenser coils. Check these for dust, debris and hair.
Usually, the coil will be located in the outdoor unit, so it can be quite common for leaves and other biomass to get caught up too and cause issues.
A regular check is key, but after a long winter, it is vital you check that nothing has got in over the wetter and windier period.
If you don’t carry out frequent checks, you may find the coil won’t be able to transfer heat away from the house properly, causing inefficiencies to your system, which can be easily prevented.
General maintenance of the surrounding area should keep the coil fairly clear and protected, but to ensure there’s nothing preventing the coil from doing its job a gentle brushing should remove the worst of the dirt without much difficulty.
Clear the Condensate Drain Line
On top of the cooling in your home, HVAC also provides a solution for moisture build up in your home/office environment.
Removing moisture from the interior of a building helps make the environment feel cooler as it is moisture that raises the humidity, after all.
As we’ve stressed throughout this article, cleaning your system plays a huge part in preparing it for the warmer months and often improves efficiency too.
So what does the condensate drain line have to do with anything?
Well, every drop of moisture that your system removes must go somewhere and as it travels away from the building it is taken to the condensate drain line.
It is easy for drain lines to become blocked which can cause serious problems by pushing water back up into the unit, resulting in leaks or water damage.
Pour a little bleach through to kill off any mould or bacteria and much like the way it would work in sink/shower drains, the bleach prevents blockages too.
Remove Condenser Covers
If your outdoor AC condensers are covered throughout the winter, make sure you remove these and any debris or plants that have built up.
Also, use this chance to check for any damage that might have incurred over the cooler period before switching your AC on.
Due to the fact the coils transfer heat away, the system can attract plant life to it throughout the cold winters. Removing this will help prevent anything getting into the condensers in the future.
Test the Thermostat
Don’t forget that it isn’t just the main body of the system that can malfunction. Thermostats need regular testing too.
Before each cycle begins (heating or cooling) you may need to recalibrate the unit, so ensure you run these tests.
You’re Ready to Switch on
If you’ve gone through all of the above tasks and you’re satisfied, you are ready to switch over to air conditioning. Give the unit a few hours to run and check the airflow and that cooler air begins to come out of the system.
If problems arise or if you’re not sure about your unit’s efficiency, your next step should be scheduling some HVAC maintenance.
Some people opt to do this yearly to keep their systems running efficiently anyway, as it tends to save money in the long term, on replacement parts and emergency call outs.
Maintenance on HVAC systems
Nobody can replace the experts when it comes to your HVAC system. Whilst your spring cleaning and the pointers above should ensure you encounter fewer problems, a professional will be trained to spot any potential problem areas and fix the issue before the summer heat really sets in.
You don’t want to be sitting in a heatwave with no feasible way to cool your building, waiting on an engineer who’s booked fully for 3 days from other emergencies, do you?
Sort it early and get a professional to give your HVAC system the once over, annually and you will find yourself benefiting from a greater peace of mind and a more efficient setup.