5 Ways to Prep Your HVAC System for Summer
April 18, 2023
Peak heat season is almost upon us, and nothing feels better than stepping into a cool home after being out in the sun.
In fact, this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record, with most of the northern half of the country set to experience warmer-than-average temperatures. Come July, potential record high temperatures will stretch from the Northern Rockies into the Great Plains, Great Lakes and through Northern New England.
Whether you live in a hotspot or not, it’s important to prepare your HVAC system for summer before warmer temperatures set in.
Here’s how you can prepare your HVAC system for summer to stay comfortable all season long.
Check your air filters.
Checking your air filters regularly helps keep the air you breathe free of pollutants and allergens. Over time, your HVAC system’s air filters can become dusty, dirty and clogged.
“Standard filters should be replaced at least once a month. They are not very efficient, and if they get dirty, the air can actually push the dirt through the filter and plug your HVAC unit’s indoor coil,” which can cause major damage, says Jose De La Portilla, Senior Manager of Education & Training at Rheem. “The rule I use is, if it is a 1-inch filter, change it each month to keep the system running clean.”
Other lifestyle factors can also play a role in how often you should change air filters. If you have pets, for example, you’ll likely have to change your air filters more often, as pet dander can clog them. The same thing goes if you don’t have carpeted floors.
“Carpet in the home is the best filter out there,” De La Portilla. “Without carpet, dust ends up in the air filter.”
Remember, not all air filters are created equal. “Filters sold at home improvement stores sometimes call themselves ‘dust fighters’ or ‘allergy guards’ but are actually really bad for the HVAC systems,” De La Portilla says. “Yes, they can a good job of catching dirt, but they can be so restrictive that they don’t let air through, and the system breaks down.”
Talk to your HVAC contractor about the air filter that works best for your HVAC system and home.
Make sure air vents are open and clean.
Even if your HVAC system is running smoothly, it can’t work at peak performance if your vents aren’t clean—or open. Although it may sound obvious, it’s easy to forget that a vent is closed, or you may not even realize that one has partially closed. So, check your air vents to make sure that they are open.
“If your home has a basement, some people close the vents in it because it is always cool since the walls are covered with earth and are well insulated,” De La Portilla says. But closing basement vents can lead to equipment problems. Keep them open to avoid any potential issues and ensure your HVAC system working at its best.
Additionally, if your home has vents on the floor or walls, ensure that no furniture is blocking their opening and preventing air from circulating. If you see visible dust, dirt, pet dander or other debris, make sure to wipe vents down to keep air circulating freely to achieve whole-home comfort.
Clean your air conditioner’s outdoor condenser unit.
Your HVAC system’s condenser unit is typically located outdoors. During the cooler months when it may not be working regularly, it’s possible that fallen leaves, branches and other outdoor debris can get stuck in the unit or its coils. Check that the unit is clear of any potential dirt or debris.
“Regardless of what type of unit you have, it should be cleaned twice a year as part of a routine maintenance,” De La Portilla says.
Consider a smart thermostat.
As temperatures start to change—and perhaps yo-yo back—a smart, programmable thermostat like EcoNet® comes with many benefits. Smart thermostats keep your HVAC unit working at its most efficient and can help lower energy costs.
EcoNet®’s geofencing technology uses your phone’s GPS to know when you are or aren’t home, and then will heat or cool the house accordingly. In the summer, you can use this feature to maximize comfort when you are home and energy savings when you are away. EcoNet® also allows you to schedule your home temperature before any summer travel plans, and you can monitor temperatures from wherever you are straight from your smartphone.
Schedule your annual maintenance check.
Your HVAC system has many working parts. The best way to prepare your HVAC system for summer and ensure that each part is performing at its best is to schedule a maintenance check.
These visits serve as a wellness check for your HVAC system. Your technician will inspect your system, provide tune-ups as needed and can catch small issues before they become large problems, ensuring that you are able to stay cool all summer long.
“Maintenance should be done twice a year for peak performance,” De La Portilla says. “Some parts are wear-and-tear like brake pads in a car. If they don’t get changed as they should, you could encounter unwanted equipment downtime.”
Find a Rheem Pro Partner™ in your community to schedule a maintenance check and prepare your HVAC system for summer today.