Is Your HVAC System Ready for Summer? 5 Easy Ways to Check

Is Your HVAC System Ready for Summer? 5 Easy Ways to Check

Maryland summers are brutal and you don’t want to wait until a heat wave hits to realize your HVAC unit isn’t prepared to cool your home efficiently. Maryland humidity can make your home warm, stuffy, and uncomfortable.

 

In worst-case scenarios, a malfunctioning HVAC unit during summer can cause rising temperatures to make family members feel sick or compromise the comfort of your home.

 

Our HVAC summer checklist helps ensure your HVAC unit is ready for the summer. With seasonal HVAC maintenance, you can help prevent unexpected breakdowns, high energy bills, or costly replacements.

 

Start today so you’re ready for the summer and can schedule HVAC maintenance before you’re in need of emergency repairs. 

5 Tips to Get Your HVAC Unit Ready for Summer

Your HVAC unit is made up of a furnace and heat pump, for heating; an air conditioner, for cooling; ductwork, to distribute the air through your home; air filters, for filtering particles and allergens; and a thermostat, for temperature regulation and control.

 

If any of these parts are compromised, it will decrease your cooling efficiency, cause rising energy bills, and could lead to a total HVAC breakdown.

 

During your HVAC inspection, check for common signs you need professional HVAC repairs to help get you ready for summer.

  • Unusual Noises: Clanking, buzzing, or squealing sounds
  • Inefficient Cooling: Takes longer to cool your home or uneven cooling
  • Higher Energy Bills: Unexplained spike in energy costs

Step 1: Clean or Replace the Air Filters

Air filters help with trapping dust, dirt, and other particles, keeping your home air clean and comfortable. A clogged air filter can actually lower system efficiency and cause problems cooling your home. That’s because clogged air filters can reduce airflow and strain the system.

 

To-Do

  • Cleaning: If your filter is reusable, gently vacuum or rinse it with water and let it dry completely before replacing it.

 

  • Replacing: If disposable, replace your HVAC air filter with a new one. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to do this, typically every 1-3 months, although this may be more frequent if you have pets in your home.

Step 2: Inspect the Thermostat

A well-working thermostat ensures your HVAC system operates efficiently. Your thermostat is responsible for maintaining the desired temperature without unnecessary energy use and is your main control panel for cooling your home during hot Maryland summers and unexpected heat waves.

 

 

To-Do

  • Check Settings: Ensure your thermostat is set to cooling, the fan kicks on, and changes temperatures with your input

 

  • Calibrate: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to calibrate your thermostat if it’s not reading the temperature accurately and consider a thermostat replacement for an upgraded unit

Step 3: Check the Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Evaporator coils are essential for cooling the air in your home. The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air inside your home, while the condenser coil releases it outside. If your evaporator coils aren’t working correctly, your AC unit will not properly cool your home.

 

To-Do

  • Turn Off Power: Always turn off the power to the unit before cleaning.
  • Clean the Coils: Use a soft brush or a coil cleaner spray to remove dirt and debris. Ensure both coils are dry before turning the system back on. This will help them to work correctly. Contact your local HVAC company to assist you if you are not familiar with evaporator coil cleaning.

Step 4: Examine the Ductwork

Ducts are the pathways through which cooled or heated air travels in your home. Leaky or blocked ducts can drastically reduce system efficiency. You want to inspect the ductwork and all vents to ensure cool air can properly circulate in your home this summer. 

 

To-Do

  • Inspect for Visible Leaks: Look for gaps or holes in the ductwork to ensure there are no leaks where cool air can escape, lowering cooling efficiency and raising energy bills
  • Seal Leaks: Use foil tape or mastic sealant to seal any leaks you find; for larger damage, contact an HVAC company for AC repair.

Step 5: Test the System's Performance

After all of your checks are complete, it’s time to check your HVAC unit for cooling efficiency. You want to turn on the unit and monitor the temperature throughout your home. Check all vents for airflow and make sure each room cools down. This is your chance to inspect performance with attention and care.

 

To-Do

  • Turn On Your System: Set your thermostat to the cooling mode and lower the temperature.

 

  • Monitor Performance: Check if the system starts and cools your home evenly.

 

  • Temperature Consistency: Ensure there’s an even temperature throughout your home.

 

  • System Response: Pay attention to how quickly the system cools the space and if there are any unusual noises or if the unit cycles on and off frequently.
Residential HVAC Repair Washington, DC

Schedule a Professional HVAC Inspection Twice a Year

If your HVAC system shows persistent issues despite your best efforts, it’s time to call a professional. They can conduct a thorough inspection and address complex problems. HVAC inspections in general are recommended before winter and before summer in Maryland, to address any problems and catch repairs before damage happens.

 

Professional HVAC companies can spot issues that might be overlooked and can perform detailed tasks like refrigerant level checks and electrical component inspections. These inspections are best for homeowners who are unfamiliar with HVAC maintenance.

Common HVAC Problems and Solutions to Be Aware Of

Thermostat Malfunctions: Before replacing an entire HVAC unit, check the thermostat. Replace batteries or recalibrate your thermostat if there are any issues controlling the temperature. Smart thermostats allow an additional level of control and troubleshooting. 

 

Refrigerant Leaks: Call a professional to repair and recharge if you notice leaks or damage to the refrigerant levels.

 

Dirty Coils: Regularly clean evaporator coils to maintain efficiency. If you’re unsure about this process, local HVAC companies can do them as part of your HVAC maintenance.

 

Preventative Measures: To stay on top of repairs, schedule annual professional inspections. Keep up with regular maintenance tasks including seasonal cleaning and inspections.

Benefits of a Well-Maintained HVAC Unit

  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Extend the lifespan of the equipment
  • Enhance indoor air quality
  • Prevent costly repairs
  • Lower energy bills
  • Avoid breakdowns
how long does it take a house to cool down

Get Started on Summer HVAC Maintenance Today

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is essential to ensure it runs efficiently and effectively, especially as summer approaches.

 

By following these five easy steps – cleaning or replacing filters, inspecting the thermostat, checking coils, examining ductwork, and testing the system’s performance – you can keep your home cool and comfortable all season long. Don’t forget, when in doubt, call a professional to ensure your HVAC system gets the care it needs.

 

You could be saving money, extending your HVAC unit, and having a more comfortable home with only a few easy steps. Get started today or call our HVAC company in Maryland to help with summer HVAC maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace my HVAC filter?

It’s recommended to replace your HVAC filter every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and usage. You may need to replace your HVAC air filter more often if you have pets in the home.

 

What temperature should I set my thermostat in summer?

A comfortable setting is typically around 78°F when you’re at home and higher when you’re away to save energy. Monitor energy-saving tips from BGE to save more on energy bills.

 

Can I clean my HVAC system myself?

You can perform basic maintenance like cleaning filters and coils, but it’s best to leave more complex tasks to professionals.

 

How do I know if my HVAC system is energy efficient?

Look for Energy Star ratings, check your energy bills for unusual spikes, and ensure regular maintenance is performed.

 

When should I call a professional for HVAC maintenance?

If you notice persistent issues, unusual noises, or inefficient performance despite your maintenance efforts, it’s time to call a professional.