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As warm weather begins to move in and signs of summer are starting to reveal themselves, homeowners don't have to rely as much on their furnace for survival. The early spring season is the perfect opportunity to address any issues that your HVAC system may have as a result form the long winter - and an even better time to get some home upgrades done before hot weather forces you to start up your air conditioning system.
Below are a list of 10 steps you can do to ensure you are getting the best quality air in your home this summer, and that you are getting it at the most energy-efficient price possible.
Step #1 - Clean Your Exterior Unit
After a long winter, it is likely that old grass, leaves, sticks or other types of debris has found its way to your exterior AC unit. Cleaning your AC before you start it up can prevent the unit from overheating, and generally keep it running to its fullest potential. Failure to keep the unit clean can result in breakdowns and costly preventable damage.
Step #2 - Inspect Your Ducts
Checking ducts often gets overlooked because they are hidden and not very accessible. Usually homeowners will only turn their attention to ductwork when there is some sort of problem. Over time, ducts can become dirty and begin building up dust, dander, pollen, and in-home toxins that can cause fire hazards, health issues, decrease your HVAC system's efficiency and significantly raise heating or cooling costs. EnergyStar and the Environmental Protection Agency finds that on average a typical home looses about 20% - 30% of airflow through cracks in ducts. A simple tape job can eliminate cost increases. Besides checking for cracks, you should also inspect your ductwork for cleanliness. Not only will a clean duct system boost efficiency, but it will keep your home's airflow the best it can be. While inspecting your ducts, don't forget to clean your vents and registers. A simple vacuum job can keep debris from being distributed through your home.
Step #3 - Change Your Filter
Depending on your environment, it is generally recommended to change your air filters every 3 months. Dirty air filters can force your system to work harder than it needs to - as a clogged or dirty filter restricts airflow. If saving money on energy costs doesn't convince you, consider the air quality in your home. A dirty filter will continue to cycle dirty air throughout your home which can cause allergies and potential illness. Checking for a dirty filter is simple - take out the filter and hold it up to a light source. If you can't see through it, it needs to be replaced. Have s small quantity of filters on hand and replenish your stock before you run out.
Step #4 - Use a Programmable Thermostat
As spring temps begin to rise, it might be tempting to lower your thermostat so you can enjoy a cool house when you return home from work. Keeping your house cool while you are away can significantly raise your energy costs - and you aren't even there to experience it. With a programable thermostat, you can set the temperature for any hour of the day. Program your thermostat so it is warmer during the day when you are gone, then set it to start cooling down about an hour before you return home. The same theory applies when you are sleeping. In today’s digital age, there are now many options that you can control on your mobile device which allows you access to your home's temperature while you are away or on vacation.
Step #5 - Flip the Humidifier Switch Off
Some HVAC units come with a humidifier for use through the winter months. If you use this feature, make sure to shut it off in the summer months. Spring, summer and fall provide enough natural humidity so your humidifier shouldn't be needed. Simply cracking open a window in the summer should provide the right amount of balance.
Step #6 - Making Home Improvements
There are a number of home improvements you can do that will help get the most out of your HVAC system in any season. Making sure your home is properly insulated will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Using ceiling fans can make a room feel about 5 degrees cooler in the summer - a more cost effective option than reducing your entire home's temperature by 5 degrees. Making sure your windows and doors are sealed will keep your home's environment well balanced. Drawing curtains during a summer day will prevent sunny rooms from heating up and causing your AC unit to run more than necessary. A zoning system may help older homes, or homes with additions distribute heated or cooled airflow to hard to reach places. Lastly, by installing a carbon monoxide detector you will be keeping your family safe of unexpected CO2 leaks which are extremely dangerous.
Step #7 - Test Out Your AC
The easiest way to find out if your AC unit is ready for summer is to take it for a test run. On a warm spring day, switch your thermostat from furnace to AC mode and turn down the temperature a couple degrees. Let the AC run for a complete cycle to make sure it starts and stops properly. Some things to watch for on the test run are loud noises like knocking or banging; proper start up and shut down; unusual odours; proper temperature decrease; good airflow from every vent in your home; and odours, debris or discharge from the exterior AC unit. If you experience any of the listed warning signs, contact us for a service call. Continuous use when the unit is not running properly could significantly raise energy costs and cause major damage to the unit.
Step #8 - Schedule Regular Seasonal Maintenance
The best way to ensure your HVAC system will run smoothly all summer with little or no issues is to schedule a seasonal maintenance appointment. For safety and energy efficiency's sake, it is recommended to schedule preventative maintenance inspections at least twice a year - in the spring before summer and in the fall before winter. Just as your car requires regular tune-ups to keep it running efficiently, your heating and cooling units need semi-annual inspections to prevent damage from daily wear and tear. A well-maintained system can run up to 25% better than a neglected system, which will end up saving you on monthly energy costs. On a preventative maintenance call, a technician should inspect your unit for worn out parts, lubricate mechanisms, change air filters, clean in and around the unit, listen for unusual sounds, and look for obvious loose deals, cracks or leaks in and around your interior and exterior units.
Step #9 - Consider a New System
If your heating or cooling unit is older than 15 years, it might be time to start considering an upgrade. Spring is the perfect time to remove and install a new cooling unit before you are left stranded in the middle of a summer heat wave. We realize that heating and cooling units are a major investment, but with today's energy-efficient technology you can benefit from savings each month on your heating and cooling bills. We offer a variety of payment options and offer huge savings on a heating and cooling combo. Consider the savings from lower energy costs and repairs covered by warranty - it will take a big bite out of the cost of the new unit.
Step #10 - Call 4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical
4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical are experts in the heating and cooling industry. Our team of professionals are knowledgable and can make recommendations based on your home's specs, your budget and your lifestyle - providing insight into the latest technologies. We work with our customers to schedule preventable maintenance visits to help reduce unexpected breakdowns that could leave you uncomfortable. We also supply electrical services so that our customers don't have to schedule multiple trades when upgrading their heating, cooling or hot water systems. Call us at (204) 953-5700 or enquire online to book a free, in-home, no-obligation quote today!