DIY Checklist for Summer – HVAC, Air Quality, and Insulation

Air Specialty  HVAC

Summer is the perfect season to spend a little time taking care of home maintenance tasks, and this should include ensuring your HVAC system is functioning efficiently. The investments you make will pay dividends in the form of greater home comfort, lower utility bills and lower long-term maintenance costs.

Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently

You can do many of these projects yourself, but some will require professional assistance from an HVAC contractor. Keep safety in mind and ask for help for any work beyond your level of expertise. Tasks most homeowners can tackle include:

  • Changing the air filter. A clean filter keeps dust and pet hair out of the internal parts of the HVAC system. A clogged filter puts unnecessary strain on the air handler, which increases energy costs and decreases equipment life.
  • Removing obstructions to A/C ducts. For proper airflow balance, keep the supply and return ducts open in every room. Do not block them with furniture or carpeting. Closing the vents will not save energy. Clean dust from the outside of registers and straighten any bent fins.
  • Cleaning the outdoor A/C unit. Remove leaves and other debris from around the outdoor unit so air can flow freely through it. Trim grass and shrubbery away from the unit, and consider building a fence or planting trees to shade the unit from summer sunlight.

Keep Indoor Air Clean

Air trapped inside a closed-up house can be more polluted than outdoor air and can threaten your family's health and comfort. Here are a few things you can do to improve your indoor air quality:

  • Eliminate mold. Plumbing leaks and high humidity can lead to mold growth, especially in closed off areas like the crawl space or damp areas such as your bathroom. Get plumbing problems repaired quickly. Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks and get them repaired to prevent mold growth and damage to insulation. Use mild bleach to remove existing mold from indoor surfaces.
  • Use vent fans. Install and use vent fans in bathrooms and the kitchen to remove odors and steam from inside your home. Talk to your HVAC contractor about possible solutions if the air conditioner does not adequately control your indoor humidity.
  • Consider a whole-house air purifier. Your HVAC contractor can discuss air cleaning systems with you. Portable air purifiers or UV light systems and HEPA filters in the ductwork can keep mold spores, dust and pet dander from circulating inside your home.
  • Grow plants indoors to freshen your air. Ornamental plants such as a Boston fern or a Pothos, add beauty to your indoor space while also improving the air quality.

Seal Air Leaks and Upgrade Insulation

You can reduce the strain on your heating and cooling systems and save money on utility bills by stopping energy loss from air leaks and insufficient insulation.

  • Seal and insulate ductwork. Have your HVAC pro inspect your ductwork for damaged joints and leaky seams. Repairing leaky ductwork and insulating ducts that run through your attic or other uninsulated spaces can result in significant savings.
  • Check attic insulation. If the top edges of your attic floor joists are visible above the insulation, you probably don't have enough attic insulation for our hot Alabama summers. Add insulation by blowing in loose-fill cellulose or rolling out fiberglass batts. This is a dirty job that requires knowledge and attention to detail, so it might be best to hire an insulation contractor to do it for you.
  • Seal leaks around doors and windows. Use expanding foam insulation or caulk to fill holes and cracks in your home's exterior walls, around door and window frames and wherever plumbing or electrical wiring enter the home. Replace worn weatherstripping around the moving parts of doors and windows so they seal tightly when they are closed.

Call your HVAC pro to inspect and perform routine maintenance on your cooling system. Learn more about HVAC system maintenance provided by Air Specialty, Inc. or contact us at 251-545-3337 to schedule an appointment today.