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How to Prepare Your HVAC for Summer

With summer right on our heels, it’s time to start preparing your HVAC system for the hottest days of the year. The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is a faulty air conditioner on a sweltering summer day.

Luckily, there is a slew of precautions you can take this spring to get ahead of cooling issues before the season even begins. Let’s take a look at considerations and preparations you can reference to keep your HVAC running in tip-top shape this summer. 

What Can I Do to Prepare My HVAC for Summer?

There are several steps you can take in order to start your HVAC system out on the right foot before summer is in full swing. Put these items on your to-do list this spring and you’ll have a far better chance of making it through the hottest time of the year without any issues.

Remember, your air conditioning unit hasn’t been in use for a little while thanks to the cold months, so things can go wrong fast if the unit isn’t inspected first.

Check for Airflow Leaks

It’s not a bad idea to check your ductwork for air leaks before summer arrives. Take a look in areas where ducts are exposed such as in your attic or crawlspace. Visibly examine the ducts for gaps, disconnections, or tears. It can help to turn your system on so you can feel around for leaks too. Leaks are not uncommon around duct joints so be sure to pay special attention to these areas. 

Optimize Your Home for Cooling 

Your HVAC system isn’t the only factor that plays into how cool your home will be this summer. Proper insulation is a crucial piece of the puzzle as well. Be sure your windows, doors, and walls are properly sealed. 

Once your air conditioning system is up and running, you can also optimize the climate control in your home in other ways: 

  • Use heavy curtains to reduce the amount of air exchange between windows and air in your home. They have the added benefit of blocking out the heat of the sun too. 
  • Use fans to increase airflow. You’ll want to set ceiling fans to turn clockwise so they direct cool air down.  
  • If you have a fireplace, remember to close the damper so cool air can’t escape through it. 

Change Dirty Air Filters

Clean air filters not only help your system run smoothly but also increase the air quality in your home. We recommend that you switch your air filter out around every six months if not sooner as a general rule - this depends on the MERV rating of your air filter. But you should always check to see how clean your filter is before the beginning of summer.

Dusty, clogged air filters can overwork your HVAC leading to poor cooling and even damage within the system. You might also notice a higher energy bill as a result. Get ahead of these issues by checking out your air filter sometime in the spring. Maybe make it part of your spring cleaning routine.

Be Sure Your Vents Are Clear  

Just as a dirty, clogged filter can cause issues with your air conditioner so can dirty or blocked vents. Anything that restricts airflow can place undue stress on your whole system leading to less efficiency. 

Clear away dust, pet hair, and any other debris from your supply vents to make way for unobstructed airflow. While cleaning your vents, be sure you don’t have more than 2 - 3 closed at a time. Also, clear away any furniture that may be blocking the airflow. 

Dust can collect inside your ducts too. This can be more difficult to resolve on your own. You might not even be able to get a good idea of how dirty they are without help. Consider booking a full air duct cleaning service in the spring to prepare for summer cooling. 

Clear Areas Around Outdoor Unit 

If you have a window, AC, zoned AC, or a ductless mini-split system, you should also clear out the area around the outdoor components of your unit. Check for leaves, branches, overgrown plants, and anything else that could be too close to the unit. There should be about a two-foot radius of space between your unit and anything around it. This will reduce the risk of debris entering the system and causing serious issues like breaking down. 

Preparing Your Thermostat for Summer

Is your thermostat prepared for summer? Conduct a test to see if the system controls are working properly before the temperature climbs too high. If you notice any issues, you’ll have plenty of time to troubleshoot before the hottest days close in. 

If you haven’t already made the switch, now might be a good time to consider a programmable thermostat. They make it easier to automate your desired temperature settings throughout the day with ease. If you’re ready to take your system control to the next level, consider a smart thermostat. They can kick on at a specific time so you can save energy while you’re away from home. Some smart thermostats are even accessible through your smartphone. 

Keep Up With Routine Maintenance

Regular HVAC maintenance can be the difference between watching your money go down the drain on a completely new HVAC system or replacing a small part before it can cause more damage. We recommend that homeowners get a professional to conduct a multi-point inspection on their system at least once a year. This can be especially helpful before summer kicks in. Your technician will clean and inspect different parts of your HVAC to assure it’s in great condition. 

At WM Buffington we offer a robust Planned Maintenance program to keep your home and family protected year-round. Get in touch to learn more! 

What is the Ideal Home Temperature for the Summer? 

There are different optimal temperatures you should set your thermostat to throughout the years. Factors such as the humidity level in your area, layout and size of your home, amount of time you spend in the home, and personal preference will factor into what that number looks like for you.

We recommend keeping your thermostat set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. You can bump that number down to 68 degrees in the winter to save money on your electricity bill. Keep in mind that this is only a rough average of what is most efficient. You might find a different temperature works best for your home. Basically, if you keep the thermostat 10 degrees lower in the summer and 10 degrees warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, you’ll save money.

Airflow Issues to Look Out for

Try as you might, even diligent prep work can’t always stop unforeseen circumstances from arising. Unfortunately, you still might encounter an issue with your HVAC at some point in the summertime. Read up on signs of trouble below so you can nip any problems in the bud before they get too serious: 

  • Inefficient cooling
  • Frozen AC
  • Blower not staying on 
  • Low airflow 
  • Higher than usual humidity 
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Skyrocketing energy bill

If you do find yourself struggling with a faulty air conditioner at any point this summer, give WM Buffington a ring. We proudly service the Central Pennsylvania area year-round. Our trained and certified technicians are experts in our industry so you can count on excellent service every time you call on us for help.

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