Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer but Indiana is already experiencing the summertime temperatures. Many of us have already turned on our air conditioning units this year, but have you performed the summer HVAC maintenance steps needed to keep your cooling system operating at its best through the hot, summer season?

Preventative Summer HVAC Maintenance

Did you know you should have your HVAC unit professionally serviced each year? Preventative maintenance helps your A/C or heat pump perform at its best throughout the cooling season. This preventative tune-up alleviates wear and tear and other issues that hinder system performance, boosting energy efficiency and reducing the likelihood of breakdowns over the hot summer months.

It is recommended to have an HVAC professional come service your unit before turning the A/C on each spring. This is so the system can be restored to peak performance mode prior to use, and so previously diagnosed problems can be caught and corrected – otherwise when that first hot day rolls around and you go to turn on your A/C for the first, it may not turn on!

If you have already started your cooling system but have not had a preventative maintenance check-up, it’s not too late! You should still have a maintenance tune-up, as it will protect your system from damage and improve performance and efficiency to keep your home comfortable throughout the summer.

May Summer Maintenance Steps

  • Start your air conditioner. Even if the outdoor temperatures aren’t quite hot enough to use the cooling system yet, it’s smart to turn on your system ahead of the season. You’ll be able to identify system start-up issues and other performance issues, such as lack of cool air or frequent cycling, and have them repaired prior to the temperatures rising.
  • Set your programmable thermostat schedules for cooling season. Create temperature schedules that fit the occupancy schedules of your home or business. Programmable thermostats may allow for different schedules each day, week and weekend, or for the week and each day of the weekend, depending on the model, and typically accommodate up to four temperature settings daily.

Remember, setting temperatures back 10 to 15 degrees from periods of 8 hours or more can save you one percent on energy costs for every degree you set your thermostat back. Perfect times for setbacks are overnight or during hours your home or business will not be occupied. Set temperatures to adjust to occupied comfort levels about 15 minutes before the dwelling or building will be occupied to avoid discomfort without wasting energy.

During occupied hours, keep everyone comfortable while conserving energy. Keeping the thermostat temperature at 78 degrees is optimal for energy efficiency when people are indoors, and will help them stay cool without consuming excessive energy.

  • Check your air filter. During periods of heaving cooling system use, the filter should be inspected monthly to make sure it has not become full of contaminants. You may find it necessary to replace it sooner than the 3-month mark during this season, so have a replacement ready just in case.
  • Inspect all registers and return air grilles in your home to ensure they have not been blocked or shut. These vents should never be blocked, as doing so will restrict airflow through your system, which could create performance issues and system overheating.

Move all carpets and rugs, furniture, and other items away from vents. Check to see that vent louvers are open; if you wish to shut off cooling to unused areas of your home or building, never close more than 20 percent of the structure’s vents. If you have many unused areas, consider investing in a zoning system which will allow you to reduce energy waste while facilitating proper HVAC system performance – work with one of our licensed HVAC professionals to design and install a zoning system for your home or business.

  • Inspect your exterior cooling system. Gently brush away any grass clippings and debris which have gathered on the unit. Trim away vegetation that has grown around your system. Never store outdoor furniture or other items in the area immediately surrounding your HVAC system.
  • Inspect your cooling system’s drip pan and condensate drain lines for clogs. If these become clogged with mold or algae growth, condensation from the cooling process cannot exit your home or building properly. The can cause your A/C to malfunction, or water to back up indoors, causing water damage.

If water has backed up, clear clogs within the drip pan or condensate drain lines. Turn off power to the system for safety before doing so. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clear water from the drip pan, or use rags to soak it up. Clean the drip pan using a mild soap. Clear clogs from the condensate drain lines using your wet/dry vacuum.

Continue all of these steps on a monthly basis through September or whenever you go to turn off you’re A/C for the season.