Spring is here, and it’s time to think about getting into shape for summer. Don’t worry; we’re not talking about dropping pounds or hitting the gym. It’s time to get your air conditioning and HVAC maintenance done so your system is ready to work all season long. No matter where you are from Las Vegas to Kingman to Lake Havasu, you can count on your AC running hard for months on end. In such an extreme climate, you just can’t afford to let this slide. The comfort specialists at Ambient Edge have put together a list of five ways to get your HVAC system ready for summer.
Springtime HVAC Maintenance: Prepping Your AC
Invest a little time and a little money in preventive HVAC maintenance. Your system will run better and have a better chance at a longer operating life, notes Energy Star. You are likely to enjoy lower utility bills and fewer repairs. Most manufacturers actually require annual maintenance as part of the requirements of the warranty.
- Change the AC filters. Clogged filters block airflow through the system, which forces your AC to work harder to keep you cool. Vegas temperatures are punishing enough without the added stress of a dirty filter. Do your respiratory system and your AC a favor: Check the filters monthly and clean or replace them as needed.
- Clear plants and debris away from the outdoor unit. Your system needs some breathing room, so check for overgrown landscaping, sagging fence panels and other debris that may have blown up against the outside unit. If it looks particularly dusty and dirty, feel free to give it a quick rinse with the hose. You want the vents and blades free and clear to do their work.
- Clean indoor registers and vents. While you’re tackling spring cleaning chores, make a point to vacuum off the indoor vents and registers. Some buildup of household dust is totally normal. If the amount of dust seems excessive or if you notice a bad odor or pieces of insulation, the ductwork could be damaged. Call in a pro to inspect the ducting, make any repairs and seal against leaks. You also might want to consider having the ducts cleaned by a certified HVAC technician.
- Check the thermostat. Make sure the battery is working. Update the programming to reflect the changing season. If your thermostat isn’t programmable, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Even a lower-priced model could help you shave 10 percent or more off your cooling bills by adjusting the temperature overnight and when the house is empty. Most hardware store models are simple enough for a DIY-er to install. You’ll need to hire a manufacturer-trained installer if you want a high-end version with extra features and reporting capabilities.
- Schedule a preventive maintenance checkup. This step probably should be first on the list. Other than checking the AC filters, it’s the single best thing you can do for your system, and it’s something that you should do every year. Your technician will clean the coils and fan blades, clear the drains, check for loose parts and inspect the system for wear. The goal is to find and repair any problems before a breakdown occurs.
Evaluate Your AC System
As you go through the process of spring HVAC maintenance, be mindful of the overall performance of your system. Think about its age, how well it cools and how many times it has needed repairs over the past two seasons. The added demands on AC systems in the Las Vegas-Lake Havasu-Kingman region are extreme, so the lifespan tends to be shorter than in milder areas of the country. Spring is a great time to beat the rush and start shopping for a new air conditioner. For more information about spring air conditioning maintenance or the decision to replace versus repair, ask the Ambient Edge expert.
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