Summer is a season of both outdoors and indoors. When Cleveland experiences the sunny-and-75 days, we all want to be out, soaking up the rays. But when it gets too hot, or when we have a few days of humid rain, it’s nice to be able to retreat to the comfort of the indoors. So you want to make sure your home HVAC system is up to par to keep you cool and comfortable without breaking the bank with your utility bills. To help you out, we’ve put together the ultimate summer maintenance checklist to get you started.
Summer Maintenance Check #1: Thermostat
Your thermostat both controls your air conditioning for the summer and your utility costs. If you have an old thermostat, it may not be providing you with the savings you want. One way to change that is to change your thermostat.
A programmable thermostat can help you better control the cooling settings in your home to help save you even more. It can track your families schedule so your air conditioning isn’t cooling your home while your away. And if you need to override the system because the weather changed your plans, you can easily do so. And when the weather begins to cool down and you need to turn your heat on, a programmable thermostat can continue to help you and your family save on energy.
Summer Maintenance Check #2: Air Filters
A dirty air filter can cause your HVAC system to run harder and drive up your energy consumption. They also lead to health issues and can deeply affect those who already have allergies and asthma. You should check your air filters regularly – every couple of months at the least.
When you see that your filter has filled with dust, dirt, and debris, it’s a good idea to change it right away. Check the exposed side of the filter to see what size you need. Then you can pick up an equivalent filter at any home improvement store.
Summer Maintenance Check #3: Vents
Your air filter traps much of the dust and particles that run through your system, but sometimes those particles can evade the trap. This most often occurs when the filter becomes too full or when you use a filter with too low of a MERV rating for your needs. They can also be sucked up into vents that push air from inside outside, like bathroom or kitchen vents.
Take a moment to remove the vent covers. Then use a vacuum cleaner (with an extension, if needed) and run it over the vent to remove built-up dust.
Summer Maintenance Check #4: Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit
You may have completed your spring maintenance on your air conditioning unit, but keeping your outdoor unit clear isn’t just a twice-a-year job. Mulch can make its way up into the inside. Grass clippings from the lawn mower can cover the metal housing. And general debris can clog the unit. All of which makes it more difficult for the air conditioner to bring in air.
Check your outdoor unit occasionally to make sure it’s clean. If there are any bushes or plants close by, trim them back so they don’t interfere with it.
Summer Maintenance Check #5: Drainage Hole
The same rules that apply to your outdoor air conditioning unit also apply to your drainage hole. They can easily become blocked with dirt and debris, so you want to make sure they’re clear. Most of the time you can do it yourself with good results, but for the best results, hire a professional.
Summer Maintenance Check #6: Ductwork
Ductwork is one of those things most homeowners forget about until there’s a problem. But if you stay on top of it and do some minor maintenance, you can put off or even avoid many major issues.
Walk the length of the ductwork and check for obstructions which could be blocking airflow. While you’re doing that, also check for any cracks or gaps that may be leaking air and driving up your energy costs. You can seal these with HVAC tape. Oddly enough, you should not use duct tape as it falls off quickly when adhered to ductwork.
Summer Maintenance Check #7: Inspection and Tune-Up
Your system works hard for you, so you should do what you can to keep it that way. Inspections and tune-ups are a good way to do that. You can often easily schedule either of these through your local HVAC professional’s contact or service request page.
Electrical & Other
Summer Maintenance Check #8: Wiring
Take some time to make sure the wiring around your home is up to date and not causing any issues. Have you gotten rid of all your extension cords for a more permanent solution? Does all your electrical equipment have tags stating they’ve been tested? If you answered “no” to either of those questions, that needs to change.
You should also check for the following signs:
- Buzzing, crackling, or sizzling noises coming from outlets
- Lights that dim or flicker, including when other appliances are running
- Wall plates and switches that are warm to the touch
- Electrical equipment giving off a burning or suspicious smell
- Any appliances, switches, or outlets emitting a mild shock when touched
Don’t try to fix any of these issues yourself. A qualified electrical technician should always handle anything involving live electrical currents.
Summer Maintenance Check #9: Smoke and CO Detectors
One of the most important devices in your home is your smoke alarm, although it doesn’t seem like it when you’re just trying to cook dinner. But as annoying as the device can be, it’s there to save your life. And it’s the same for your carbon monoxide detector.
It only takes a few moments to check these detectors so you and your family stay safe. Go around to each alarm and press the test button. If it starts chirping, you can move on to the next one. If it doesn’t, change the batteries immediately.
Some tasks can be handled on your own on your day off while the kids play outside. But some tasks can become overwhelming to handle without the help of a profession – and some can only be done by a professional. Let us know when you want to want to get a jump on your maintenance checks, and we can lend a hand.