Summer HVAC Advice
The first day of summer has come and gone. But you don’t need a calendar to tell you that. You turned your thermostat to “cool” a long time ago in New Jersey.
What you probably haven’t done is a few simple maintenance tips that we at TempControl want to remind our customers.
REGISTERS AND VENTS
The transition from spring to summer is the perfect time to check all of the air registers and vents connected to your HVAC system. Make sure they’re open and give them a dusting with a static cloth or some gentle cleaning agent.
Your vents shouldn’t be closed anyway. But in case you adjusted them in the winter, you need to get them open again. By closing vents–even in unused spaces–you create circulation problems and put undue pressure on the HVAC system. Your home heating and cooling system was designed for specific spaces and square footage. Changing the air flow can stress the system.
Get outdoors and inspect the condenser coil. That’s the part of the system that’s outside. Blow out any leaves or debris trapped in the cage. Clear out any shrubbery, sticks or other material that might impede air flow. You can even safely use a hose to knock off the chunks.
Ideally there is plenty of space around the condenser for air flow. If plants have grown close to it or you’ve stacked material nearby, try to clear out the space to give it some breathing room. The condenser needs airflow above and on its sides to remove the heat that it’s exchanging from the system.
Now go after the air filters. Hopefully you’ve been putting calendar appointments in your computer or phone to remind you to change the filters. Maybe you’re old school and simply have a Post-It note stuck on the fridge. Whatever you do to remind yourself to change the filter, make sure you don’t just do a filter change at regular intervals, but also take in account any extra smoke, dust, pet hair or other pollutants that might have moved through the system.
If you did a little home remodeling in the spring, there might be a lot more dust collected on the filter. If you added a pet or had a visitor who smokes, there might be extra particulate gathering on the weave that makes up the filter material. Anytime a filter gets overloaded, it makes the system work much harder. This, of course, stresses the system and your energy bill.
Reacquaint yourself with your system’s thermostat. If you’ve got a smart thermostat, it’s a good time to check it for any changes that might have occurred. Most smart thermostats update themselves and you don’t have to worry about it. But you do need to occasionally check to make sure the Wi-Fi is still connected.
If you don’t have a smart thermostat…why don’t you?
But if you don’t have a smart thermostat, maybe it’s programmable or an old-fashioned manual thermostat. You may need to check and replace batteries. You might have to adjust the settings to get a comfortable temperature. If you’re switching from heat to cool, listen for that “click” it makes when it senses it needs to start cooling the home. Keep an eye on it, especially if it’s an older model, to make sure it’s sending the right signals to the system.
TempControl’s professional service technicians can come to your home and check the refrigerant levels, clean and lube any parts as well as inspect the entire system. A once-a-year inspection is fine for newer systems. Older HVAC systems (10 years or more) might need a professional inspection more than once a year, especially if you notice your energy costs starting to hurt.
Our professionals at TempControl can also advise you about the condition of your unit. We don’t push any high pressure sales pitch, but we are genuinely concerned about your comfort at home. We would rather preempt a major breakdown or prevent a days-long span without cool, comfortable air when things turn REALLY hot in New Jersey.