ROSIE ON THE HOUSE

Getting your home and air conditioning ready for the summer heat

Mar 31, 2022, 3:00 PM
(Shutterstock Photo)...
(Shutterstock Photo)
(Shutterstock Photo)

When the outdoor temperatures start soaring, it is important to get your home and air-conditioning system ready for summer. A little maintenance and preparation now will ensure your home is not only cool and comfortable but free of costly breakdowns and high energy bills.

Did you know …

… that just like your car, your air-conditioning system requires proper maintenance to operate properly?

… not all maintenance services are the same? Some AC companies offer fake or loss leader maintenance just to get a commission salesperson in your home to sell you products.

… the conditioning of your home will have a big impact on how well your air-conditioning system can cool your home?

… ductwork can be just as important as the air conditioner in keeping your home cool?

Tick tock, tick tock

Rosie-Certified Partner, REEis Air Conditioning, says it’s time to get your home and air-conditioning system ready for summer.

Air conditioning system maintenance – real service vs. inspections: There is a big difference between real maintenance and the highly discounted inspections advertised by some air-conditioning companies. Some companies may offer a highly discounted inspection and then hope to sell you high-cost, high-margin upgrades. You must do your homework and ask the right questions when searching for an air conditioning maintenance plan or service. Ask about what is included in the service. Make sure it offers actual maintenance, not just an inspection.

Actual maintenance takes time and includes items such as:

• Detailed inspection of all components of the system – included in most services.
• Chemical condenser cleaning.
• Refrigerant adjustments up to 1 pound.
• Proper condensate system flush.

You may think you are saving money purchasing a $69.99 tune-up, but there could be big ticket expense when the technician arrives. Also, you may be asked to purchase maintenance items à la carte which is much more expensive.

Replacing worn parts on your air-conditioning system: If you own a car, you are accustomed to replacing brakes and tires. Well, your air-conditioning system is no different. It has parts that will wear out over time and need replacement. After completing the air-conditioning maintenance, your technician may identify parts that are at the end of their lifespan. It is important to consider replacing worn parts to prevent breakdowns or large-scale failures. Parts which routinely wear out on an older system can create catastrophic failures if not addressed.

The age of your system: If your HVAC unit is more than 10 years old, you should start planning on installing a new system sooner than later. While you probably want to delay investing in an entirely new system, it’s worth noting that efficiency has come a long way over the last decade. If your system is old and outdated, upgrading to a new one can set you up for better comfort and efficiency.

Note that in today’s supply chain-challenged environment, if you need a new system, you really should start planning now. If your system fails, you could find yourself in a position of waiting a significant amount of time for materials and equipment to arrive or having to make a difficult choice with an alternative product.

Home performance plays a big part in your air-conditioning system’s performance: Your air conditioning system is designed to remove heat from your home. The AC system will distribute cold air throughout the house. The best air-conditioning system will never keep your home comfortable if the home itself is not performing properly. Insulation failure, air balance issues, improper airflow from poorly installed ductwork, etc. will have a HUGE impact on how comfortable and energy-efficient your home is.

The rooms are not evenly cooled: If you find that you have uneven temperature in your home or one room is either hotter or colder than the others, there could be an easy fix to correcting the issue. One of the easiest solutions to a hot room is correcting airflow issues associated with room pressure imbalances or improper air distribution. Many times, these solutions are simple and yield significant results. Insulation and home performance can also be a big factor in temperature imbalances. A free evaluation or home performance audit will help identify a path to a guaranteed solution.

Do this now

If you are a regular Rosie on the House listener, you have heard Rosie talk about the importance of a whole-house energy audit or home performance audit. “It’s such a great place to start,” Rosie says.

For example, REEis offers a free visual evaluation that looks for air leaks in windows and doors, visual signs of leakage in the duct system, attic insulation levels, and ensuring the unit is correct for the home’s square footage. They will even check that the thermostat is programmed effectively and look over the utility bill for any surprises or concerns.

However, for just $99 you can have an inspection that will provide an in-depth evaluation that includes all of that plus:

• Whole-house blower door test: Identifies leaks in your thermal envelope and connectivity between spaces.
• Pressure pan or duct blaster test: Identifies the amount of leakage in the HVAC system’s ductwork.
• Thermal imaging: Thermal imaging cameras identify thermal envelope and insulation failures.
• Pressure testing: Identifies pressure imbalances that exaggerate leaks and draw polluted air into the home.
• Static pressure: Identifies if your HVAC system has the right amount of air to function as it should.
• Airflow testing: Measures airflow to determine if the right amount of cubic feet per minute (CFMs) are getting delivered to any given space.
• Combustible appliance zonal: This safety test makes sure that combustible appliances are operating safely.
• Visual assessment: The attic, interior, and exterior of the home will be inspected to identify problems.

Some companies also offer plan that include a la carte maintenance services, discounts on repairs and equipment replacement, and no after-hours or weekend fees.

Other cooling considerations

• Ensure you are on the correct utility plan that suits your household needs and lifestyle.
• Use your ceiling fans when you are in the room, turn them off when you are not.
• Do not close off air vents to cool a different room of your home, this causes back pressure on the HVAC system and can lead to premature failures.

Having your HVAC system serviced in the early spring before the heat sets in will save you from sweltering indoors come June. Plus, the longer you wait to call, the longer you will wait to be seen because everyone else waited until the last minute.

Not sure where to start, or unsure if you have an issue? Get started with a free home evaluation with a REEIS home performance analyst. REEIS is a home performance contracting company. They deliver guaranteed results by analyzing and improving more than just the A/C. As one of the top Home Performance contractors in the nation, REEIS has been the recipient of the Century Club award given by Energy Star and the Department of Energy.

REEis offers the following plans

• REEIS Comfort Club’s Advance Air Conditioning Maintenance Plan — $159.99
• Home Performance Audit — $99
• Visual Evaluation — Free

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:info@rosieonthehouse.com. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.

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Getting your home and air conditioning ready for the summer heat