Prepare Your HVAC for Summer

Your cooling and heating unit works a lot like the human body. It is a highly complex system that is difficult to understand, but we as experts can tell you: that a penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even in New Jersey, we expect rising temperatures to strain all HVAC systems, from the latest and greatest down to the ancient units that continue to perform. So, to help keep them working through the season, we will show you how to prepare your HVAC system for the summer below.

1. Change the Filter or Filters

The primary purpose of your unit is to blow cold or hot air into your home or business. Therefore, this air must remain as clean as possible. Dirty air makes the compressor work harder to do its job, which puts more strain on the unit, costing you higher power bills and a shorter HVAC lifespan. Additionally, the air becomes more and more contaminated over time. Eventually, these contaminants can make their way into the unit and damage critical components.

The best way to avoid this is to change your HVAC unit’s air filter or filters regularly. Some units have just a single filter directly on the HVAC unit. Others have two or more filters distributed throughout the home in the return air vent, central duct, side ducts, or other areas.

The good news is that it is easy to change your air filters. Just check your owner’s manual for instructions. Alternatively, you may review your current filters to see the size. We highly recommend you purchase only high-quality HVAC filters, as cheaper ones may not filter as well or last long and will cost you more in the long run. However, following the manufacturer’s recommendation is essential, especially in an older compressor. High-efficiency (MERV rating between 14 and 16) pleated media filters are appealing because they increase the surface area, which improves their filtration efficiency. However, the increased filtration will put undue stress on an older compressor.

Be sure to change the filter(s) as indicated or at least every six months. You may also need to change them sooner if you run the unit frequently, have many occupants or pets, or allow smoking inside the property. The most common are fiberglass filters, which are low-cost and disposable but should be changed every 30 days or less. Why? Because it’s less efficient in capturing dust and particles in the air.

While also disposable, a pleated air filter is more efficient than fiberglass and lasts up to 90 days, depending on use.

Lennox 19V30 Programmable Thrmostat

The iComfort® S30 Ultra-Smart thermostat from Lennox recognizes and connects to all iComfort® Communicating products to automatically configure and control the heating/cooling system (based on user-specified settings) for the highest level of comfort, performance and efficiency

2. Keep the Vents Clear

Like the human body, your HVAC unit needs to breathe in and exhale. Therefore, all your vents, ductwork, and indoor and outdoor units must remain free from obstructions. Indoor obstructions can include piles of clothes, fixtures, lights, and anything else that may get into your air path. Many HVAC vents can be manually opened or shut. However, we highly recommend you keep all vents open at all times, even in rooms that are not in use. Doing so allows your HVAC unit to work as it was programmed. Outdoor obstructions can happen daily, especially after a rain or snowstorm. Be sure to remove the branches, leaves, dirt, snow, sleet, ice, and other obstacles accumulated as soon as possible.

3. Check the Thermostat

The thermostat is more or less the brain of the HVAC unit. It tells the unit when to kick on and off as the room desires the desired temperature. However, many people don’t know the thermostat is almost an entirely different piece of equipment and the source of many issues. The good news is that many newer thermostat models have self-diagnosing options that can tell you if it is working correctly. In addition, some models are battery-powered, so regularly replace the battery to ensure continual operation. In good working order, a standard thermometer ensures that the HVAC unit is indeed cooling or heating your property to the desired temperature.

Scheduling annual or bi-annual maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your HVAC unit. Your service technician will clean, inspect and tune up your system, both internally and externally. It includes checking for any debris, moisture or shavings that shouldn’t be present. A full inspection will include your unit’s connections, wires and mechanisms. The tune-up portion of the maintenance includes a new filter, lubrication, condenser cleaning and check of the refrigerant levels.

If you don’t properly maintain your HVAC system, it’s more likely to break down; small issues simply get larger. For example, a clogged filter prevents air from flowing into the unit, and this can result in the compressor burning out.

Conclusion on How to Prepare Your HVAC System for Summer

Unfortunately, these are only a few tasks you can do to prepare your HVAC system for the summer. They are highly recommended and highly effective. However, they are not enough.

Most people understand the importance of seeing a doctor for a routine even though they can take their blood pressure or temperature. But what about a blood test or a CT scan? You may need other tests beyond the average man’s or woman’s capabilities. The same holds for your HVAC system.

So, what is the secret to ensuring your unit runs at its best for as long as possible? First, find a trusted HVAC professional in your local area. Second, have them perform standard and advanced HVAC maintenance on your unit at least once a year. It is preferable to do so at the beginning of the extreme hot or cold seasons. This schedule allows your technician to identify issues that may be forthcoming and fix them. If you wait, the likelihood of a unit failure happening over the summer is pronounced. And you’ll have to endure the long wait time for a tech to arrive.

Schaible’s has the expertise throughout Northern Pennsylvania and Central New Jersey to maintain your HVAC system to industry standards. So make an appointment with a Schaible’s professional and have your HVAC prepped for summer. We can tell you from experience that you would rather have us come to maintain it when the weather is pleasant rather than have to repair it when you least like it.

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