With spring weather just around the corner in St. Paul, MN, many people start to daydream about and make plans for the upcoming summer. Even though there’s definitely still a chill in the air, the ground is starting to thaw, heaters are being used less and less, and is it just us, or is the sun shining just a little brighter?
Heating and AC repair for your home may not be at the top of your mind, but spring is actually the perfect time to think about it. This period in between winter and summer is considered a “shoulder season” because it’s not quite warm out yet, but the heat of the summer hasn’t arrived yet, either. Neither your heater or your A/C is working much, if at all, during this time. With the threat of below-freezing temperatures and heavy snowstorms behind us and 90-degree summer days still some time off, now is an ideal time to have a heating and AC repair company take a look at your home’s HVAC systems to make sure everything is in proper working order.
Start with the Thermostat
How old is your thermostat? If you don’t know the answer to that, or if you’ve had it for more than 10 years, it’s probably time to have a new one installed. Most modern thermostats are programmable, and you don’t have to know anything about professional heating and AC repair to work them.
Programmable thermostats have many, many benefits. They optimize your home’s HVAC system, which increases efficiency and in turn, saves you money on electricity costs. The EPA estimates that programmable thermostats provide annual electricity cost savings of 10-30%. Many electricity companies also offer money-saving “time-of-use” plans with peak and off-peak hours, and having a programmable thermostat makes it easy to take advantage of those programs.
Inspect Vents and Ducts
Walk around your home and visually inspect all vents, as well as any exposed ducts. Look for anything that could interfere with their functionality, such as something physically blocking a vent or the grates or ducts being exceptionally dirty. Pay special attention to any signs of wear or damage, also.
If you do see anything out of the ordinary or something that looks concerning, don’t hesitate to contact your local heating and AC repair company. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s better to be safe now than sorry later. Air conditioning repairs can be extremely costly if something fails, so being proactive about it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
You may find that everything is in good working order but the ducts are filthy. Don’t worry, your home isn’t the only one: The average four-person household accumulates nearly 40 pounds of dust each year. Guess where that dust is going? It’s being circulated through your vents and ducts!
Heating and AC repair companies like Blue Ox Heating & Air provide professional duct cleaning services, which do a lot more than just make everything look nice and tidy. The air quality is improved, reducing allergy symptoms and improving the HVAC system’s efficiency.
Change the Air Filter
This is such a simple step you can take to help your home’s heating and cooling systems work more efficiently, yet it’s something that often goes overlooked.
Dirty or clogged air filters have to work significantly harder than clean ones, which can cause the entire HVAC system to overheat or fail. Not to mention the fact that a clogged air filter doesn’t have the same ability to take all the bad stuff out of the air, leaving you with things like pet dander and pollen just floating around your home.
Air filters should be changed at least every three months and in the summer, more often, every one to two months.
Check Outside Equipment
Now that you’ve inspected your HVAC system’s indoor components, it’s time to do the same outside your home. Many homeowners only pay any attention to their condenser unit or wiring if a problem arises, but it’s a smart idea to get into the habit of giving them a once-over periodically. Doing so may prevent you from needing to call for emergency heating and AC repair later on.
Make sure the area around the condenser is free of debris such as branches or leaves. If necessary, cut back any overgrowth to prevent potential blockages. Next, inspect all lines and wires for signs of erosion or damage. If you do spot any signs of wear or other red flags, it’s important to call a professional heating and AC repair company. No matter how much you enjoy DIY projects, this is one best left to a professional.
Run a Pre-season Test
Before you actually need to turn your A/C on regularly, it should be tested. Turn the system on and head outside to the condenser. Let the system for 10-15 minutes, listening to the fan and paying attention to the air coming out of the unit. The air should be slightly warm, since that’s what’s being removed from your home, but not hot.
If the air is getting increasingly warmer or the fan is running irregularly or making strange sounds, turn the system off and call a local heating and AC repair company. The issue could be something minor, but in the event it isn’t, you want a professional to assess it.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, your A/C is ready for summer! Even if everything appears to be in good working order, it’s wise to have your HVAC system inspected annually by a professional heating and AC repair company. When it comes down to it, it’s better safe than sorry.
Whether you want to schedule a seasonal inspection, need your heater or A/C unit serviced, or have an HVAC emergency, contact Blue Ox Heating and AC Repair in St. Paul, MN. You can call us at (612) 389-8385 or schedule a service appointment online. We look forward to serving you!