When temperatures start to rise outside in the Jupiter, Florida, area, it’s important to have a working HVAC system that can keep the air in your home feeling cool and comfortable. But when the air conditioner hasn’t been on for a few months, you may find that the unit has an issue that has gone unnoticed. Before you switch over to the cool setting, follow these tips to prepare your cooling system for the summer.
Change the Filter
Every heating and cooling system contains at least one filter that serves to keep dust, dirt, pollen, dander, hair, and other contaminants out of the system. If you don’t keep up with changing these regularly, you may find that your system has to run a lot longer to produce the same amount of cool air. Clogged and dirty filters lead to inefficiency, so you’ll also end up spending more on energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, it’s best to choose a filter with a higher MERV rating to filter out more allergens.
Some homeowners use washable filters, but these are often harder to clean, so they don’t work as effectively as disposable ones. If you’re having trouble finding or reaching the filter to change it, an HVAC technician can help with this task as part of a maintenance plan.
Schedule a Tune-Up
One of the best ways to prepare for higher temperatures in the summer is to schedule a cooling system tune-up with a licensed HVAC professional. During this tune-up, your technician should check the outdoor air conditioning unit, as well as the unit located within your home. He or she might also clean the coils within the outdoor unit as part of the service.
If your technician finds any issues, it’s best to have them repaired before the warmest season hits. Finding out that your unit isn’t working properly after you try to turn it on a hot day isn’t fun for anyone.
Keep an Eye on the Outdoor Unit
It’s also important to keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions, since plants and trees might grow over during the winter months when you’re not outside as often. Take a look at the outdoor unit and make sure there are no weeds, vines, or tree branches obstructing the airflow through the vents.
Some homeowners also use condenser covers, lids, or blankets to protect the outdoor unit during the colder months, so now is the time to remove those. Forgetting to remove a cover or blanket could cause significant damage to the unit and pose a fire hazard.
Have the Ducts Cleaned
As you run your heating or cooling system, the air moves through the ducts and into the furnace or air conditioner and warmed or cooled before it’s pushed back through the vents into the rooms of your home. Air can recirculate multiple times in one day, causing a buildup of dirt, dust, pet hair, dander, pollen, and other debris that leads to allergies and clogs the ducts. Before you turn on your cooling system, bring in a skilled HVAC professional to clean out your ducts.
Running your air conditioner with filthy ducts leads to poor indoor air quality that can make your family sick. Doing so is also inefficient since the system has to work harder to push air through those clogged ducts, causing you to spend more on cooling costs.
Turn it On
Once you have cleaned and prepped the HVAC system for the summer, the next step is to actually turn it on to see if it’s working properly. It may take a few minutes to start feeling cold air come through the vents, but it shouldn’t be much longer than that. If you still have warm air after 5 to 10 minutes of running the system, call an HVAC technician to take a look. It’s important to turn the system off if it’s having trouble, since keeping it running could cause further damage, or at the very least, waste a lot of energy.
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