From high temperatures and humidity to summer storms, there’s a lot your home has to deal with this summer. Keep your family and home safe and efficient by going through these simple steps for getting your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems ready for summer.
1. Conduct an Outdoor Inspection
Inspect the outside of your home by checking the foundation, exterior walls, roof, chimney, windows, and doors. Use a pair of binoculars to see if your have any roof damage, which could spell disaster when you experience your first storm of the summer. Be on the lookout for damaged roof tiles and gutter sections.
Clean out gutter and drain spouts. Your gutters should be cleaned and inspected every couple of months. In addition to mold risks, there is also a big chance that you could develop water leaks and subsequent water damage to your foundation. Either get out the ladder and remove the gutters blockages yourself, or hire someone to do it for you.
Trim back trees from your power lines, roof, and outdoor HVAC system. NEVER work on trees near power lines! Call your local utility company instead. While it’s a good idea to shade your outdoor HVAC unit, make sure there are no overhanging tree branches that could cause damage to the system. If there are major storms or winds, it could fall down right on top of the unit.
Inspect for leaks. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to detect water leaks. Either you see or hear it, or you can check your main water meter for the leak detection dial. If you see the leak dial spinning, then you have a water leak. Even if you don’t know where it is coming from, you can call a local plumber to check it out for you. Simply tell them that you have a leak somewhere win the home and let them use their pipeline cameras and other devices to pinpoint the source of the leak.
Test outdoor GFCI outlets. GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) automatically cut off power if there is a leaking current. They protect you from shocks and electrocution, and are required to be used in any indoor or outdoor area that may come into contact with water. GFCI outlets should be tested every month (set a calendar reminder!). The test shouldn’t take you more than 30 seconds.
Press the RESET button
Plug in a light to the GFCI outlet
Make sure the light is on
Press the TEST button
The light should turn OFF
Press the RESET button
The light should turn on
If the TEST button did not turn the light off, don’t use that outlet until a qualified electrician can take a look.
2. Inspect and Clean Outdoor Condenser Unit
In addition to checking trees, foundations, window, and doors, make sure there are no obstacles or debris blocking airflow to your outdoor HVAC unit. Over time, grass clippings, leaves, and other debris can gather on the condenser unit, causing air blockages and other problems.
Maintain a minimum 2-foot clearance around the entire outdoor unit. This includes fences and plants. If there are any plants encroaching on the heat pump’s space trim them back.
While your professional HVAC technician will probably clean your outdoor condenser unit during their annual tune-up, it’s best to check and maintain the system on your own as well. Your outdoor condensing unit should be checked every 1-3 months (*and after every major storm) to make sure it isn’t damaged or clogged.
Turn off power to the unit
Remove any large debris by hand
Wash off the smaller debris with your garden hose.
If you have any questions about maintaining your outdoor heat pump unit, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at OnTime Service.
3. Minimize Solar Heat Gain
Minimize the amount of solar heat gain your home receives by remembering to close your windows, shutters, blinds, curtains, and whatever else helps shield the home from sunlight.
Consider installing window overhangs and other devices to shield the summer sun before in hits your window. Landscaping and planting trees around the home are also great ways to provide shade for your house and windows. If you can, shade outside heat pumps and air conditioning units.
In addition to reducing solar heat gain, window shades and coverings also reduce cooling loss from interior rooms. Save your HVAC system from working more than it needs to by closing curtains and minimizing solar heat gain while you are away.
4. Test Your Sump Pump
Late spring and early summer are the prime times for storms and hurricanes. Make sure your plumbing system is prepared
Test your sump pump:
Disconnect the sump pump from the outlet.
Remove any debris that may be in sump basin or pump inlet screen.
Plug the power cord back in.
Pour a 3-5-gallon bucket of water into the sump basin to see if the pump turns on.
Head outside to make sure the water is released to the proper location.
If the sump pump doesn’t turn on (the float does not trigger the pump), contact you’re a professional plumber as soon as possible.
Speak with your plumber about a battery backup for your sump pump. If there is a storm that knocks out power to the unit, you will want a battery backup to prevent water damage.
5. Schedule Professional Maintenance
Waiting until summer to schedule your annual air conditioning tune-up is better than nothing, but it’s highly recommended that professional maintenance happens in the spring before the temperatures get too high. By scheduling your annual heating appointment in the fall before heating season and air conditioning maintenance in the spring (before cooling season), you can successfully ward off expensive repairs and increase the efficiency of your unit.
If your air conditioning system isn’t turning on, remember to check:
The air filter
The outdoor unit
The thermostat batteries
If you hear any strange noises from your air conditioning unit or thermostat, call a professional for a thorough diagnosis. For instance, a fast clicking sound can indicate a faulty capacitor or relay board.
Don’t forget to schedule annual plumbing and electrical inspections as well! Summer is the peak time of year for air conditioning, swimming, boating, and using power tools. Water and electricity don’t mix. Call your local plumber to conduct a full electrical safety inspection before summer gets into full swing.
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Call OnTime Service at 205-942-1405 to schedule your next HVAC, electrical, and plumbing service. We can help protect your home from flooding damages, install sump pumps, and much more!