If you live in Texas, you know it gets hot in the spring and then progresses to almost unbearable temperatures in the summer. However, you shouldn’t wait until the thermostat hits triple digits to start thinking about your HVAC. Now is a good time to examine your system and see if it needs servicing.
According to Weather.com, most U.S. states will experience warmer than average temperatures this spring, and Texas is no exception. And by the summer, Texas will be one of the hottest states in the nation.
These are four reasons why it’s a good idea to start focusing on your HVAC now.
Winter wreaks havoc on more than just your skin.
“Harsh winter seasons can cause debris around the outside of the home to get in places it shouldn’t be,” warned Richard Ciresi, franchise owner of Aire Serv, a Lone Star State heating and air conditioning company.
He recommends clearing away any weeds, plants, and trash that may have found its way to your outside unit during the colder months. “A soft broom and a hose to wash off the unit should help to reduce any blocked sections of the unit and ensure air flows as it should.”
Texas has three cities – San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas – that rank among the top ten hottest large cities in the country. Regardless of where you live in the state, you already know the sweltering heat can be oppressive.
However, Ciresi says many homeowners don’t consider the strain this type of heat can have on their unit.
“Hot weather means you will be increasingly reliant on air conditioning to make the long, hot days more tolerable,” he said. “And the last thing you want to encounter is a broken-down AC unit because you didn’t service it as you should have in the spring.”
At a minimum, he says you should get the air conditioning condenser coils cleaned by a professional at least once a year. “It is best to clean the condenser coils before starting the system for the season and again later in the season if the weather starts to get hot for prolonged periods of time.”
It’s hard to believe that these slim, inexpensive objects can be crucial to your HVAC, but air filters play a major role in your system’s efficiency.
“The job of an AC filter is to remove debris from the air before it enters your system,” Ciresi said. “When things clog up, the unit will not cool as well and in fact, work much harder and use more energy–causing a substantial rise in the electric bill.”
And that’s not the only potential problem. “Dirt in the filter can shorten the life of your air conditioner, because dirt gets pulled into the inner workings of the unit,” Ciresi explained. “Strain on the fan motor from the increased effort will take its toll, as well.”
He recommends replacing your air filters at least every three months. However, if you have large pets – or a lot of them – Ciresi suggests changing the filters monthly. Also, if your home is in an area with a lot of pollution, or if you have allergies or asthma, those are other reasons why you might need to change the air filters more frequently.
Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t wait to service your HVAC: “During the off-season, many homeowners will find HVAC professionals are more readily available to repair or replace HVAC systems,” Ciresi said.
And, since they’re not rushed, they’ll also have more item to perform a complete evaluation.
“With hotter temperatures, AC units have a higher chance of breaking down if they weren’t properly serviced, which leads to a higher demand in HVAC service,” said Ciresi.
Depending on how busy these professionals are, you might be waiting days – or even weeks – before they can come to your home.
Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.