Summer 2014 Health Link Online

HealthLink Online

Uniting Children, Parents, Caregivers, and Health Professionals

HVAC Summer Maintenance

HVAC Summer Maintenance

Arrange for a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professional to check your system. Have this service annually, preferably before the hot summer months. A tune-up of the HVAC system can save money and make everyone more comfortable. Schedule another check of the system in the late fall, before the heating season.

The professional should clean key parts of the HVAC system. For summer, this includes flushing the drain pipe for the water that the HVAC system takes out of humid air. A clogged drain makes the unit work harder and less efficiently. In addition, the service should include cleaning the fan blades on the outdoor unit and removing the dust and other buildup from the indoor evaporator coil.

Check and change dirty disposable air filters once a month. Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition standard 5.2.1.8 requires changing disposable filters routinely at least every 3 months. Wash the reusable ones on the same schedule. A clean air filter can substantially reduce energy consumption. The Alliance to Save Energy says having a clean filter can lower an air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%. In addition, the Alliance recommends keeping vegetation at least two feet away from the unit. This allows the unit to freely pull in air. Take away debris that may have fallen into and around the unit too. For more information, go to .

Be sure you have a programmable thermostat. This relatively inexpensive device allows decreased use of the HVAC system when the building is not occupied. For warm months, set the thermostat to around 78 degrees F. That setting should be comfortable and will keep the humidity at a healthful level. The Alliance to Save Energy says that every degree you lower the thermostat for air conditioning costs about 1% more on your energy bill.

Check all the heating and cooling ducts, window and door seals to be sure you keep cool air in and hot air out when air conditioning. The HVAC system should turn over the volume of air in occupied spaces according to the recommended standards for the level of occupancy in your building. The air turnover standards are set by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. To learn more about these standards, go to https://www.ashrae.org/about-ashrae/.

Open windows to allow fresh air into occupied spaces on days when the outdoor temperature is near the comfort level, and when pollen levels are not a problem. Enjoy the summer!