Getting your air conditioning system ready for summertime - South Lake Press: Community

Getting your air conditioning system ready for summertime

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:00 am

A s the days turn warmer, the demands on your air conditioning system will dramatically increase. Getting your system ready for Florida’s hot, humid summertime is important. Taking simple steps in maintenance today could prevent an air conditioning unit from breaking down during the hottest days of summer.

For 50 years, Munn’s Air Conditioning and Heating has been servicing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in Lake and Sumter counties. Munn’s Service Manager Charlie Thompson is considered one of the top experts in HVAC systems.

Thompson has three pre-summer tips to help keep your HVAC system running smoothly. “I’d say the number one thing to do is to make sure you have a clean filter installed. A dirty filter is a major cause of unit inefficiency.

“Make sure you cut plants and bushes back at least 18 inches away from the outside unit so it has plenty of room to breathe.” Thompson’s final recommendation is, “Don’t forget to flush out your condensation drain line with a gallon of hot water to make sure it is freely flowing.”

Thompson recommends that a home central HVAC should be serviced twice a year by a professional technician for optimum performance. He suggests most filters be changed every 90 days, and possibly sooner, depending on whether the home has pets or a lot of traffic. For homeowners who are concerned about air quality, a full house air cleaner can be installed in the duct system, which only requires a yearly filter change.

Thompson also recommends that the home’s duct system be periodically cleaned and checked for leaks. Depending on the location of the home and its surrounding environment, a home’s duct system can collect a lot of dust and dirt, and the efficiency of the system depends upon its ability to move and transfer air.

Leaks in duct systems can occur due to the normal aging or settling in the home, pests in the attic and inattentiveness when storing items in the attic. When a leak occurs, the cool air meant for the home typically escapes into the attic. Homeowners with very high power bills during the summer months should check their duct systems.

Another helpful tip from Thompson includes keeping vents inside the home open. Thompson says, “A properly designed A/C system is designed to move a certain amount of air around, and by closing off several vents, you are literally suffocating the unit.”

When asked if ceiling fans help air conditioning systems, Thompson said, “Ceiling fans cool people, not air — a ceiling fan running in an unoccupied room is a waste of energy.”

In regard to the idea of closing the door to make a room cooler, Thompson says most systems are designed with return air grills to transfer the air, and closing the door puts more stress on your unit if too much pressure builds up in a room.

To help you save money and prevent getting ripped off by unethical service companies, next week’s column will focus on understanding how air conditioning systems work and diagnosing common problems.

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