Spring is just around the corner, so it's time to switch gears from heating to cooling. That means getting your HVAC system ready to handle the transition. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for the upcoming seasonal changes.
Reprogram Your Thermostat
Each season needs a different set of temperature set points for maximum comfort and efficiency. For optimal spring and summer energy savings, set your programmable thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit for times when you're at home.
When you're away from home, your thermostat's cooling set point should be at least eight degrees higher than your at-home temperatures. Maintaining a small difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures can help increase energy savings without sacrificing comfort.
Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
An air filter that's completely impacted with dust and debris is no longer useful for filtering out harmful particles in your home's indoor air. A completely clogged filter can also drag down your HVAC system's performance, resulting in added strain on the unit and increased energy consumption.
You should swap your current air filter with a fresh replacement at least once every three months, unless otherwise specified by your HVAC system's manufacturer. Monthly air filter changes are recommended for improving poor indoor air quality.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
It's not unusual for dust and gunk to accumulate on the evaporator coil, especially if the air conditioning portion of your HVAC system goes unused during the winter. You should carefully clean your evaporator coil using a mild detergent, warm water and a soft bristle brush and disinfect it using diluted white vinegar.
Be sure to do the same for the condensate collection tray located below the evaporator coil. Also make sure the drainage lines connected to the collection tray are clear of any debris or algae buildup.
Give Your Unit Some Shade
Exposure to direct sunlight can also soak an outdoor HVAC unit in unnecessary heat, making it harder for the unit to operate efficiently. Well-placed foliage or a man-made awning can help bring some well-needed shade to your HVAC system. Be sure to position your shade so that it doesn't interfere with the HVAC unit's air flow.
Check Refrigerant Levels
Refrigerant is the lifeblood of any air conditioner or heat pump system. However, months of disuse can allow leaks to go unnoticed. For this reason, you should have your HVAC technician assess the unit's refrigerant levels and check for any corroded lines or faulty seals that could cause leaks.
If your HVAC system still uses R-22 refrigerant, be aware that the refrigerant may become harder to find in the coming years. Fortunately, you can prepare by switching to a newer HVAC system that uses R-410A instead of the now-outdated R-22. Contact an HVAC service for more help.