Winter is over and while you may not be ready to shut off your heating system for the year – May snowstorms do happen in Massachusetts – you should start making plans for the warm summer months by cleaning your HVAC system before you need to run it.
Regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of an HVAC system and save money. Over time, filters collect debris and the system will have to work harder to move air through the clogged filter. This wastes energy – energy that the homeowner will have to pay for – and may harm efficiency by as much as 25%. It also makes the system work harder, which can harm the system in the long run.
Unless a homeowner knows exactly what they are doing, they should consider having one of our technicians come in and perform an annual maintenance checkup. This can include some services that require special equipment, such as testing the system for air leaks that allow cool air to escape and drive down the system’s efficiency. Annual checkups are include in our VIP program, along with discounts and priority positioning for our 24 hour repair service.
Indoor air quality filters and the filters in dehumidifiers will also need to be checked as part of a spring cleaning course. This will maximize comfort within the home and help any residents or visitors with allergies. It can also help the system run as quietly as possible by keeping the system well lubricated and running with as little effort as needed.
By focusing on the annual clean up in the spring, homeowners can ensure their HVAC system will be ready to keep their home cool and comfortable by the time June rolls around. It will also keep the HVAC system running for as many years as possible while cutting down on energy costs.
Much like Christmas lights, many homeowners don’t know when it’s time to shut down their air conditioning system for the season. Even with the end of the hot summer days, some people delay shutting it down just incase they get hit with an unexpected hot fall day, but no one wants to have to wade through snow to put a cover on the outdoor unit.
Weather fluctuates from year to year, so there’s really no good day to mark on the calendar in advance.
Our recommendation is to link the task to some other change of seasons task you’re already doing. For example, when you put away your patio furniture, cover your swimming pool, untie your hammock, winterize your lawnmower or put your motorcycle battery on a trickle-charger.
Alternatively, you could wait for the first frost to hit. That’s a dead give-away that you won’t need to cool the house anytime soon. If you find yourself turning the heat on and you haven’t prepared your cooling system for the season yet, it’s time to get on it right away.
Why it matters
Some units, not all but some, have an internal heating system for the cooling system’s condenser. This keeps some of the liquids in the machine from freezing during operation. Unfortunately, the warmth can make an attractive nest for field mice once the cold weather hits. During the summer, the field mice have plenty of warm places to dwell in, but once it gets cold out they get desperate and will enter a condenser unit.
Wilson Brothers technicians install an electric switch for customers in their electric panel marked “AC Condenser” that will stop all power from going to the condenser. Homeowners also need to go shut down their control panels for the season as well.
Go outside and shut it off, but unless that power switch is thrown, electricity will still get to the unit.
In addition, not enough people place outdoor covers on their condensers for the winter. The units are made to be outside year round and the refrigeration oils and other liquids can safely be left inside, but a cover is still needed to protect it from direct contact with ice and snow.
Use only true factory-made covers for your specific outdoor unit. Some people try to make their own covers with blue tarps and bungee cords. While that does create a barrier for the elements, it lacks the ventilation that the proper covers have. The tarps will trap air inside and create a small habitat with trapped moisture inside. The condensation will pit and corrode the electric contractors and damage the unit.
The hot days of summer can be a menace to your utility bills if you’re not careful. Here’s a trio of handy tips to keep cool and reduce your need to run your cooling system.
We previously recommended clearing the filter on your cooling system at the beginning of summer. Well, even if you did it then it’s now a good idea to check it once more. Clogged filters slow down the air flow and make your system work harder than it has to. We recommend checking the filter every month.
Remember that upright and ceiling fans do not cool rooms; they only cool people. The fan blades create a wind chill effect when they blow air on a person, but the heat produced by their motors actually warms makes the room slightly warmer. That means leaving a fan on in an empty room isn’t just wasteful, it’s counterproductive.
Your outdoor grill is probably a hit at Fourth of July parties when you load it up with burgers, hot dogs and BBQ chicken, but don’t think that’s the limit of what you can use it for. Using the grill won’t heat up the house the way your oven will so use it every chance you get. The Internet is filled with tips on how to cook all sorts of things outdoors on the grill, including corn on the cob, lobster tails and even buttermilk biscuits.
Most people have Independence Day off from work, but your air conditioner will probably run longer than normal to comfort the people lounging around the house. Give the AC a break and cut down on your utility bill by using these simple tips to reduce the need for home cooling during your Fourth of July party.
Go for a swim
Going for a swim on a hot day not only cools you down while you’re in the water, but will leave you feeling cool and comfortable hours later. Now that it’s July, all of the local swimming holes, public beaches and neighborhood pools should be open. Show up early to beat the crowds and if you feel up for it, take a second dip in the late afternoon.
Use the BBQ exclusively
Traditional Fourth of July parties use the outdoor grill to avoid heating up the house, but some people still end up preparing side dishes inside using the oven or the top of the stove. Resist that temptation and limit the non-BBQ items to cold and room temperature foods like potato salad, chips and fruit salad that was prepared in advance.
Block out the sun
You should already keep your window blinds and shades closed during the day to stop your home from heating up, but don’t forget to shield your outdoor guests from the sun’s rays too. You can install a sunshade, umbrella or canopy pretty cheaply outside. If your garage naturally stays cool, consider opening the door and setting up some chairs inside to provide an oasis from the sunlight.
Cut that hair!
Now is the perfect time to change your hairstyle to a new summer cut, but even if you’re not making a radical departure, now might be a good time to trim things up to stay cool. As a bonus, you’ll get a chance to show it off to your family and friends at the party.
About Wilson Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning Inc,
Your All-Season Comfort Specialists since 1987, Wilson Brothers HVAC has been the area’s first choice for the installation and repair of heating and cooling systems for homes like yours. We offer the highest rated, energy efficient, heating and cooling equipment available … all backed by our exclusive warranties and 24-hour emergency service.
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