It’s summertime in New England and all across the region HVAC systems are working hard to keep homes cool and comfortable. In this month’s blog we are looking at 5 ways homeowners can minimize the strain on their air conditioner during the summer.

Before we go further, let’s take a look at common variables that can strain an A/C system:

Common Strains on HVAC Systems

1. Dirty and/or Clogged Air Filters

A primary responsibility for homeowners is changing HVAC air filters regularly. Overtime, air filters become dirty because they are working hard to filter the air. As a result, this means that filters need to be changed on a regular basis to prevent clogging. Too much gunk in a filter makes an HVAC work exceedingly hard to push air through the filter.

2. Closed Vents

By closing vents, air flow pathways are limited. Professionally installed HVAC systems are sized according to the specific home, including the number of vents needed in a home. Closing a vent adds a barrier to air flow and makes an air conditioner work harder. Temperature readings can also become uneven across the home making it difficult for your cooling system to regulate its settings.

3. Poorly Sized Air Conditioning Systems

If your air conditioner is too big it will cool your space down quickly but that isn’t giving enough time to remove the humidity, resulting in a feeling of dampness. A unit that is too small, on the other hand, will drive your energy costs up because it will run continuously trying to reach the desired temperature setting.

4. Unnecessarily High MERV Rating

While MERV Ratings (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) do indicate the effectiveness of filtration, a filter with MERV rating that is exceedingly high can strain an HVAC system. Commercial spaces, like hospitals that require high sanitation grades, require filters with MERV Ratings of at least 9. Residential homes perform best with filters ranging from a rating of 4 to 8, with most filters offering a rating of 5 or 6. Adding a filter with a MERV Rating that exceeds this range causes the HVAC to work tirelessly to push even the smallest particles of air through the filter.

With an understanding of variables that affect HVAC performance and longevity, let’s look at ways to minimize these factors. Here are 5 approachable tips for homeowners to reduce strains on your HVAC System this summer.

Summer heat can strain your air conditioner.

5 Tips to Minimize Strain on your HVAC this Summer

1. Schedule Tune-Ups

Skipping your AC and furnace tune-ups may seem like an easy way to save money, but the long-term cost can be huge. During regular maintenance checks, our HVAC experts will be able to share important information about HVAC health and catch any issues early on, saving you on bigger repairs or pre-mature replacement. Read more about why annual maintenance is important in our recent blog here.

2. Change Air Filters Often

We learned above that dirty and clogged filters strain HVAC systems. Set a reminder in your calendar to change air filters to keep your air conditioner in top condition.

3. Move Thermostats Out of Sun

Thermostats communicate with HVAC equipment. An incorrect thermostat reading due to a thermostat’s position in direct sunlight can put a strain on the HVAC system. Overworking to cool an area due to an incorrect reading reduces energy efficiency and will increase your energy bill.

4. Clean Equipment

All HVAC equipment needs to be cleaned and accessible to help with efficiency and longevity of your heating and cooling system. Coils and ducts can collect dirt and lead to a reduced lifetime of the unit. When equipment becomes dirty, it is more likely to wear out. Proper landscaping around outdoor units can also impact the effectiveness of your air conditioner. Keep bushes around heat pumps and A/C units trimmed to reduce the possibility of branches and leaves getting caught in moving parts.

5. Keep Vents Open

Especially in homes with multiple family members, temperature preferences likely vary. Still, it’s important to keep vents open.

Taking time to care for your HVAC system and minimize the strains your HVAC experiences will lead to long term rewards. The longevity of your system will be protected and your home will continue keeping you comfortable all year long.


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If your question isn’t answered here, contact the friendly team at Genove Oil & Air, and we’ll find a solution for your home or business.

Whether you need home heating oil or Bioheat delivery, or installation and service of oil & natural gas systems for HVAC, heating, and cooling—call us at 781-893-9191 or email us.