Spring is so close we can almost reach out and touch it! With the warmer weather comes time to check your HVAC system. This time of year, we enjoy mild temperatures that allow heating & cooling systems to take a much needed break allowing you to get it ready for the really high temperatures of summer. While you should always check your unit, spring is a great time to have an Aire-Tech professional out to go over the system thoroughly so you are ready for spring and summer!
As you turn off the furnace for the winter and prepare to turn the air conditioning for the summer, some simple upkeep is vital. Maintenance is key to getting the best performance and longest life out of your heating and cooling system. Preventative measures reduce the risk of expensive urgent repairs and inconvenient breakdowns. Failing to properly care for a new HVAC system can also put warranty coverage at risk.
Here are some easy steps for the early spring that any homeowner can take to keep the HVAC system in top condition.
1. Clear Debris from the Outdoor Unit
The compressor for your central air conditioning system is outside of your home. Its job is to produce the cold air that enters your ductwork. During the fall and winter, leaves and debris has likely built up around the external unit. As a result, your unit’s performance may suffer. Before you turn on your HVAC unit, remove any branches, leaves, or other debris from around and on top of your compressor. You should also examine the area around your compressor regularly to ensure that it remains clean throughout the year.
Additionally, if you are handy with tools, cleaning the fins of your HVAC unit is a simple job.
- Remove the screws from your HVAC unit panels using a screwdriver with a socket.
- Start at the back of your HVAC unit and remove the panels one by one, being cautious not to harm the condenser fins.
- Use a soft-bristle brush or a hose with a spray nozzle to clean the fins.
- Replace the panels in the reverse order that you removed them. Leave the screws loose until all of the panels are in place, and then tighten them.
In addition to these duties, you can use your garden hose to clean the outside unit thoroughly. Make sure power is off for your HVAC system while cleaning it.
2. Visually Inspect the Outdoor Unit
You will also want to make sure that the outdoor unit is level and on a stable surface to ensure top performance when the summer heat hits. Visually check the condenser for signs that it has been damaged during the winter, as well. If something looks unusual, give your HVAC tech a call. A damaged condenser could be a serious problem when it comes time to turn on the air conditioning.
3. Have the Ducts Cleaned
Indoor air quality is vitally important and early spring is the perfect time to schedule a professional duct cleaning. Before you turn the air conditioning on, be sure that your ducts are cleaned to free them of all the dust, mold and other allergens. Springtime is also a rough time for those with allergies.
4. Replace or Clean Your HVAC Filter
Cleaning or replacing your HVAC system’s air filter regularly is one of the best things you can do to guarantee its effectiveness and functionality. Depending on the type of air filter, the air quality, and whether you have pets, change your filter every 30 to 90 days. Over time, buildup starts to impact how efficiently your unit operates to cool your house. Check the filter before turning on your air conditioner.
The longer you wait to clean or replace your air filter, the more likely your HVAC system may shut down automatically. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by setting calendar and phone reminders to notify you when to change it again. We also recommend noting the replacement date on the air filter itself, so you know exactly when you changed it.
5. Upgrade the HVAC Filter
When you change your filter, consider upgrading the filter as well. A new, high-efficiency pleated filter can improve air quality and system performance better than the cheaper versions. These newer filters have an electrostatic charge technology that attracts particles of dust and bacteria and trap them inside the filter.
6. Get a Smart Thermostat
Technology has advanced significantly since most older homes’ thermostat was installed. To keep your HVAC unit running at peak efficiency, install a programmable thermostat to reduce energy costs at your home. These upgraded thermostats can actually extend the life of your system by optimizing the temperatures throughout the day and week. This gives your system a break from stress and wear throughout the year.
7. Air Things Out
There are few things better for your health than breathing in some fresh spring air. You can improve air quality within your home by shutting the HVAC system down for a few weeks. When the temperatures require neither heat nor cooling, open up the windows and let in some fresh air and sunshine. You can also increase air flow and circulation by using fans inside the house.
8. Check for Air Leaks
Even if your HVAC system is well maintained, it will be a constant struggle to cool a home that is not well sealed. As you work on spring upkeep jobs around your house, keep an eye out for places where air can leak out. Check the weather stripping around the windows, door jambs and the seals around the doors. If you see signs of cracked, detaching or warped weather stripping and seals, it’s probably time to replace them. Making sure that the envelope of the home is sealed tightly will help eliminate irregular temperatures in the various zones. Plus, this will decrease the workload and allow your HVAC unit to work more easily and efficiently in both the summer and winter.
9. Stay Regular with Annual HVAC Maintenance Servicing
Regular HVAC maintenance is key to keeping your system working well for as long as possible. Repairing or replacing a part now could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long-term. Do not forget to schedule an HVAC checkup at least once per year. Our certified Aire-Tech technicians will check refrigerant levels and test the airflow and output of the system. They will tighten all the main electrical connections and hoses. Plus, the tech will look for signs of wear on key components, including the compressor, tubing, fan and motor blades.
Spring Heating & Cooling Energy Savings
Keep energy costs low this spring with heating & cooling tips that give your HVAC system a break and help them operate more efficiently.
- Take advantage of cool outdoor temperatures overnight by opening windows and turning off your cooling system. Be sure to shut them the following morning before your cooling system comes back on.
- Take this time to reprogram your thermostat. Consider setting your thermostat for maximum energy savings this season. As the temperatures rise in the spring, your home is already being naturally heated. You can save money by reprogramming your thermostat to a lower setting. The less you use your furnace in the spring, the more you will save on next month’s heating bill! You can set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, one that will keep you comfortable with the scorching Southern California temperatures.
- Reduce the heating load in your home by using curtains and blinds to stop the sun from heating up your living areas. Your air conditioner will not have to overwork to counteract the heat gain.
- Use ceiling fans to stay cool without increasing air conditioner use. Set fans counter-clockwise to benefit from the wind chill effect they produce. Shut them off when not in the room to save energy.
- Reduce heat load in the home by limiting use of heat-producing appliances. Keep lights off when unneeded, switch to energy efficient low heat bulbs. Use daylighting strategies for natural light versus using lamps and fixtures.
- Cook outside on the grill when possible versus using the oven or stove to limit heat gain in the home.
- Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to pull excess heat generated by appliance and hot water use out of the home. This reduces the heat gain inside so your air conditioner does not have to work harder cooling down your home.
- Check you air filter monthly and change it as needed if that is sooner than what is recommended by the manufacturer. A clean filter allows air to flow through your system and your home, reducing the amount of energy your heating & cooling system expends moving it.
Spring is the perfect time for a maintenance check. A maintenance performed by a professional, of course. A spring AC maintenance can not only help save you money, but it can improve efficiency of your equipment, keep it running smoothly, and also protect the health of you and your family. Not to mention, when your air conditioner is off all winter and your furnace is off all summer, it can limit the number of repairs and extend the life of your equipment. A part of the maintenance also includes changing the filter, removing obstructions around the exterior, and much more that a professional could help you with.
If your air conditioner is still not running properly and you are not experiencing better air conditioning efficiency after completing the above tips, it might be time to call a professional service technician at Aire-Tech. Our highly trained and skilled technicians will check your unit or units for proper air flow and coolant levels as well as clean internal coils and perform other repairs if required.
If your system needs repair or inspection before spring or summer, call us on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.