When your summer is heating up and your air conditioner is raising your electric bill, we often look at ceiling fans and wonder whether they’re working at all to help save money. The simple truth is that ceiling fans do a great job at a significantly lowering cost, but only if they’re turning in the proper direction. Why does it matter to your HVAC system and how can you ensure your fans are spinning in the right direction?
Summer is fast approaching. Residents in some parts of the country would laugh at that statement, but here in Clearwater, FL, area, we know to prepare for its arrival in just a few weeks. That makes now the perfect time for Tampa area homeowners to schedule routine preventive air conditioner maintenance. This way, you can be sure that your air conditioner is ready to handle the heat and humidity we’ll get this year. Once the summer heat, rain and thunderstorms get started, your HVAC contractor will be very busy. Don’t chance a long wait for service.
When you want the most from your heat pump, don’t neglect heat pump maintenance, some of which you can do yourself. You can use a professional for the routine tasks that need to be done to keep your system performing without any potential problems or breakdowns.
Routine maintenance provides these significant benefits, improved energy efficiency, better indoor air quality, and a prolonged life span for the system.
The most important thing you can do to keep your heat pump performing as it should is to check and change the air filter for the air handler regularly. Dust can build inside the air handler and the ductwork and circulate through your home’s air. A clean filter will keep your equipment and indoor air cleaner. When dust covers the evaporator coil inside the air handler, it slows the heat transfer process which will drive up heating and cooling costs.
Keeping the outdoor condenser’s coil clean also improves energy efficiency. In the winter, the coil collects the heat outdoors to warm your home and in the cooling cycle, it dissipates the heat the pump collects from your home. Clean the coil with a light spray of the hose occasionally and be sure no vegetation collects around the unit that could impede airflow through the condenser’s coil.
Professional Heat Pump Maintenance
The heat pump works hard year-round. Professional heat pump maintenance will keep your system running optimally. One of the simplest ways to manage the maintenance is with a service agreement between you and your HVAC provider that simplifies scheduling and monitors the system’s performance over time.
- Check the thermostat’s settings and recalibrate if necessary.
- Verify that the refrigerant level is within the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Clean and inspect the electrical connections, lubricating them if necessary. Dirty and loose connections present a safety issue.
- Lubricates the motors.
- Checks airflow levels and inspects the ductwork for leaks, sealing with proper materials when necessary.
For more information about the importance of heat pump maintenance, contact the pros at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Tampa and St. Petersburg area since 1958.
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A heat pump is an energy-efficient choice for heating and cooling your home in the Tampa-St. Pete area. Our mild winter days and nights usually have temperatures well above freezing, which is the ideal situation for efficient heating with a heat pump. Heat pumps are also very efficient air conditioners. There are several steps that you can take to make your system run more efficiently, both during the winter heating season and the summer cooling season:
- Replace your filter regularly. Check the heat pump’s air filter several times every season to make sure it’s not clogged with dust. A dirty filter restricts airflow in the system, requiring more energy to keep your home comfortable and decreasing the life of your equipment.
- Get a programmable thermostat. You’ll save energy by automatically setting a programmable thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter during regular times when nobody is home or at night when everybody is asleep.
- Let the thermostat do its job. In cool weather, set the thermostat and leave it alone. Avoid the temptation to temporarily bump it up to get a short blast of heat. Raising the temperature setting too quickly will make your backup heat source come on, wasting energy on electric resistance heating when you don’t really need it. Save your energy dollars for those times when temperatures get cold enough outside for your system to need that extra boost.
- Don’t block airflow. Check with your HVAC contractor before you close vents in unused rooms. Be sure all of your supply and return vents are free of obstructions. Keep grass and shrubbery trimmed away from the heat pump’s outdoor unit and make sure it’s free of dead leaves and other debris.
- Call for expert help. Other than changing your filter, you should leave most maintenance and repair tasks to your HVAC pro. Call for help if your outdoor unit freezes frequently, if your system is not keeping your house at your set temperature, or if you hear unusual noises coming from the equipment.
Call us at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating for more tips for efficient operation of the heat pump in your Tampa, Clearwater or St. Petersburg area home.
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