The last thing you want to experience during the dog days of a searing Tampa summer is your AC going out. But the warmest months have arrived, and that means it’s prime time to ensure your AC system runs strong all season long. Here’s how to get started.
Get a Seasonal Inspection
If you didn’t schedule an HVAC inspection at the start of the warmer season, that’s a great first step. Or, if it’s been a few months since you last used your AC unit, it’s smart to get an inspection from a licensed professional, too. This ensures your AC unit is in working order and ready to handle the demands of the summer heat. After your unit earns a clean bill of health, you simply need to maintain it with cleaning and fresh filters throughout the summer.
Use Clean Air Filters
A clogged air filter can put unnecessary strain on your HVAC system and can lower your AC’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. You also need to change your air filters more often during the summer months — you’ll be running the AC more often, so set a reminder to check your HVAC system’s filter at least once a month.
You may also want to switch air filter types or sizes in the summer. Fiberglass filters are the cheapest but have the lowest MERV ratings (which measure how effectively an air filter removes particles from the air), while high-efficiency filters are the most expensive and most efficient. If you don’t have allergies or need a pricey filter, the best overall choice for summer is a pleated filter. They’re inexpensive and can capture smaller particles for longer periods of time without affecting the airflow of your system.
Weatherizing your home for the summer can save money on cooling costs, ensure your HVAC system remains efficient and reduce energy consumption. You can weatherize effectively by:
- Adding caulking around windows and doors to keep cool air from escaping
- Replacing worn weather stripping under doors
- Hanging up window treatments
- Insulating electrical outlets
- Installing fans
Maintain Your Outdoor Unit
Many homeowners forget the essential part of the HVAC system: the outdoor unit. It pulls in outdoor air to cool and pump through your home. Outdoor condenser coils can become dirty or blocked, so keep the area around the coil clean and make sure foliage is trimmed back at least 2 feet from the intake to avoid blocking the airflow.
To complete a simple cleaning, power down the unit and:
- Remove the protective metal case
- Vacuum or brush off the condenser fins
- Wipe the fan with a damp cloth
- Spray the fins from inside out with a hose
- Reassemble the unit
The soaring Tampa temps can bring unpleasant conditions if your home isn’t prepped to beat summer’s heat. Schedule a seasonal inspection with the licensed professionals at Cox Heating and Air Conditioning to get your HVAC system in order for one cool summer.