Oceanside CA— As California continues to swelter under a summer heat wave that has trigged flex power alerts across the state, encouraging people to conserve power, expert Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) instructors from UEI College have some advice on how to ensure your home’s air conditioning system is running at peak performance, minimizing your home’s impact on the power grid during this critical time.
“I always recommend that you have your HVAC system serviced by a licensed contractor prior to the summer season, so that’s a good first step,” said Justin Debondt, HVAC program instructor at the UEI College Oceanside campus. “We recommend that you have your system professionally serviced at least twice a year. Not only is this required if your unit is under warranty, but it will also help your equipment to maintain its designed efficiency and cooling capacity.”
Debondt says there are some other simple things you can do to ensure your system is operating at peak performance and making the most out of your HVAC power consumption:
Change the return air filters regularly. If your system uses disposable filters, it is recommended that you change them every 30 days during the summer season. “Believe it or not there are many reasons for this not just to maintain clean healthy air but a dirty filter will also cause the unit to work less efficiently using more electricity and producing less cooling,” Debondt said.
Clean and clear out your vents. Your HVAC system works at its best when the airflow through the ducts and vents is unobstructed. “You can hire a professional service for duct cleaning throughout your home, but you can also check each vent in your home and clean out any dust or debris, and make sure that the appropriate vents are open or closed to create the ideal airflow for your home during the summer,” Debondt said.
Keep the outdoor unit clean, and make sure the area it is free of plants, weeds, or debris. “Every time I change my indoor filter, I also hose down my outdoor unit to help keep the coils clear of debris that would restrict airflow and reduce cooling capacity,” Debondt said. A good rule of thumb is to have an open space of around two feet surrounding your HVAC unit to avoid debris accumulating inside the coils.
Install a programmable or “smart” thermostat to regulate for those times when you are not home. “There is great new technology available through digital or smart thermostats, which make it possible to customize your air conditioning schedule rather than turning the unit off while you are gone. Turning the equipment off while you’re gone causes the unit to have to work much harder, and for much longer than it was designed. It is actually more cost effective to raise the temperature than to shut it off and have it play catch up upon your return,” Debondt added. The recommended temperature setting for air conditioning during peak hours is 78 degrees. “If you’re working from home right now during the pandemic, you can pre-cool your home by running air conditioning at cooler levels in the early part of the day (when it is more efficient) then turn your system to 78 or higher during the hottest part of the day when demand is the highest,” Debondt said. 78 degrees is the recommended thermostat setting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“As you might imagine, HVAC service providers are in high demand and many of them are hiring new technicians. I joke with my students that during peak summer heat waves like this one, you’ll be everyone’s best friend as an HVAC technician,” Debondt added.
If you are interested in an HVAC career, the program at UEI College provides the knowledge and experience needed to qualify for entry-level positions selling, installing, or maintaining HVAC equipment – all in as little as 10 months.
About UEI College
Founded in 1982, UEI College is an employee-owned, accredited institution that provides students with post-secondary career education programs in high-demand verticals such as healthcare, trades, business, and criminal justice. Each of the hands-on training programs offered are designed to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and training they need to be successful in their futures. Programs are tailored to meet the needs of students and focus on smaller classes to ensure each student can learn and get the attention they need. Students can train for entry-level careers and start building their future in as few as 10 months at campus locations throughout California. For more information visit www.uei.edu.