Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What to do to get your home "ready for summer"

Before it gets too warm, it's time to make sure you're ready for hot weather.

 This doesn't mean running out and buying the latest swim wear. It means checking your home's heat and air-conditioning system.

First, change your filters in your heating/cooling system. Change them regularly - at least monthly.

Next change your thermostat over to "cool" and test the system by turning the temperature down. If the air conditioner does not turn on, first check to make sure no breakers are tripped. If you can't figure out the problem, call your heating and air conditioning technician. Calling early may prevent you from making an "emergency" call when the temperatures are soaring and the technicians are too busy.

If your cooling system turns on, make sure it is producing adequately cool air. If it's not, and you can't identify the problem on your own, call your heating and air conditioning technician. Make sure you set your thermostat at or above 78 degrees.

If your air conditioner needs to be replaced, do it BEFORE the HOT WEATHER HITS because heating & air conditioning technicians will become increasingly busy. Also, it's likely other things around your home will need attention as well. For instance, your air ducts may need to be tested for leaks and sealed; your attic insulation may be compacted and require an additional 5 to 8 inches; your windows and doors and other parts of the building envelope may need to be caulked and fitted with weather stripping; you might benefit from solar window film to keep out the heat.

Consider changing your old thermostat to a programmable one. You might be surprised how much one of these thermostats can save over its lifetime. If your older thermostat uses a mercury switch (a glass tube filed with silvery substance), be sure to dispose of it properly as it is a hazardous substance that should not enter a landfill.

Consider installing a whole-house fan that uses cool air in the evening to cool the entire house and push hot air out of the attic area.

If you cover your air conditioner's condenser unit (the part that is outside the house) for the winter, take off the cover and hose down the coils. Clear areas around the condenser unit so that it has full air flow.

Install ceiling fans or whole house fans to help reduce your need to use the air conditioner.
Open up any storm windows and clean your screens to enjoy cool morning and evening air.

And don't forget your car. Get it ready for summer and any vacations by filling up the tires, changing filters, checking the fluids and getting a tune up if it's needed.