When summer gets hot, many families rely on their HVAC system to keep them cool. But nothing stresses an air conditioner more than high temperatures and constant use. To keep your system running smoothly, we recommend the following summer maintenance.

Service Your HVAC System Annually

Heating and cooling systems are meant to be serviced by a professional at least once a year. Ideally, this should be done in the spring or fall, which are off-peak seasons for furnaces and air conditioners. But if your system hasn’t been serviced in awhile, it’s never the wrong time to start regular maintenance. An HVAC technician can recognize and fix minor issues before they turn into a major system failure. They’ll also tune up your system so it runs more efficiently, leading to lower energy bills. Sometimes they can even make your system work better so it keeps your home cooler. Learn more about six benefits of HVAC maintenance.

Change Your Air Filters Regularly

There are many different air filters available, and a wide range of circumstances that impact how often they should be changed. But in Southeastern Pennsylvania, we recommend changing the filter on your HVAC unit at least every six months. It’s a good idea to do so during the spring so your system is primed to work harder over the summer. Over time, air filters get clogged with dust, pollen, pet hair – and as we’ve recently learned, wildfire smoke. Your HVAC system has to work harder to push cool air through a clogged filter, which means it’ll cost more and your home may not even feel as comfortable as you’d like it to be. Dirty air filters are also less effective at cleaning the air in your home, which can be aggravating to people with allergies or certain health conditions. You should change your filters according to manufacturer instructions, and at least twice a year.

Check Your Vents

Early summer is a great time to take stock of the vents throughout your home. Dust vent covers to remove any external dirt. While doing so, make sure all vents are open. While some people close vents in rooms they don’t need to cool thinking they’ll save money, this isn’t actually a good strategy. Closed vents cause pressure to build up in your system, which can lead to serious breakdowns and costly repairs. Closing vents may also cause your system to work less efficiently as it’s no longer properly sized. It’s best to keep vents open, and raise the thermostat by a degree or two if you’d like to save money. You should also make sure vents aren’t blocked by furniture or other objects so that cool air can flow freely in each room.

Keep Outside Condenser Clear

Next you should head outside and make sure there are no plants or debris on top of or directly surrounding your outdoor condenser unit. Before you turn the air conditioner on for the summer, you should remove any leaves or branches that may have fallen into the compressor. Be sure the unit is turned off and unplugged before attempting to clean the compressor or hire a professional through a regular maintenance plan. It’s best to keep at least two feet around the unit free of excess vegetation, and don’t let the grass grow too high. You should check the area once or twice a month to make sure nothing is growing into or interfering with the compressor.

Adjust Your Thermostat When You’re Away

A great way to keep your air conditioner in good shape is to raise the temperature on your thermostat when you’re not home so it doesn’t have to work as hard. This is great for your utility bills as well! You don’t want to turn the system off entirely unless you’ll be gone for at least a week, as you may come back to a sweltering house. But raising your thermostat 7-10 degrees for at least eight hours a day can save up to 10% on cooling costs and prolong the life of your HVAC system. If you do that while you and your family are at work, you won’t even notice! Though if you have indoor pets, you shouldn’t set your thermostat any higher than 80 degrees for their comfort. If you don’t think you’ll remember to adjust your thermostat before you leave, consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat. Set it once and you won’t have to worry about adjusting the temperature for the rest of the summer. You can even program your system to start cooling down before you return so it’s already comfortable when you walk in the door.

Let Reliance Maintain Your HVAC System So You Don’t Have To

When you enroll in one of Reliance’s maintenance plans we’ll change your filter, vacuum out your system, perform a 21 point inspection, and determine if anything needs to be done to keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape. Contact us today so we can make sure your HVAC system is ready to keep your home cool all summer long.

Contact Reliance today for all your heating and air conditioning needs!