As summer approaches, the U.S. is witnessing an increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves, a trend that's been on the rise over the past 60 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Whether you're in the still-cool northern states or the already-warm southern regions like Missouri, it's crucial to prepare your HVAC system for the upcoming heat.

Here at SS&B Heating & Cooling in Springfield, MO, we're committed to helping you maintain optimal comfort and system efficiency. Here’s how you can get your HVAC system ready for the summer heatwaves:

What is a Heat Wave?

A heat wave is a period of excessively hot weather lasting two or more days, with temperatures much higher than the average for that time of year. What qualifies as a heat wave varies by location—what's normal in Houston could be considered a heat wave in northern Minnesota.

Causes of Heat Waves

Heat waves are typically caused by high-pressure weather patterns that trap hot air. These events have become more common and severe due to climate change, as seen In Missouri, 2023 was one of the hottest years on record, and one of the driest.

Tips to Prepare Your HVAC System for a Heat Wave

Tip #1: Check and Change Air Filters

Regularly checking and replacing your HVAC air filters is the best way to ensure efficiency. During a heat wave, when your system is likely running continuously, clean air filters are vital for preventing breakdowns and maintaining air flow. Standard 1” filters should be replaced every 30 days, while more advanced filters can last longer.

Air Filter Types:

  • Fiberglass Filters: These are typically the least expensive and have a shorter life span. They capture large particles to protect your HVAC system but aren't the best at improving air quality.
  • Pleated Filters: Made from polyester or cotton folds, these capture smaller particles and improve indoor air quality, ideal for maintaining a cleaner environment during dusty summer months.
  • HEPA Filters: High-efficiency particulate air filters offer the highest level of air purification and are excellent for homes with allergy sufferers or in areas with high particulate levels in the air. While HEPA filters provide superior air purification, they are denser and can restrict airflow. Before upgrading to HEPA filters, ensure your HVAC system is compatible or adjusted accordingly to handle the increased airflow resistance and maintain efficiency.

Tip #2: Maintain the Condenser Unit

Before the peak summer temperatures hit, schedule a professional inspection and tune-up for your air conditioner. This maintenance should include cleaning the condenser coils, checking the fan, capacitor, and refrigerant lines, and ensuring the refrigerant levels are optimal. Additionally, keep the area around your outdoor unit clear of debris and vegetation to improve airflow and unit efficiency.

We offer planned HVAC maintenance starting at the affordable rate of just $19.92 a month!

DIY Maintenance Tips:

  1. Trimming Vegetation: Keep at least a 2-foot clearance around the condenser unit to ensure adequate airflow.
  2. Cleaning Coils: Gently clean the condenser coils with a hose on a low-pressure setting to remove any buildup of dirt and debris.

Tip #3: Optimize Thermostat Settings

During a heat wave, set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests 78 degrees when you're home and 80 degrees when you're away. Keeping indoor and outdoor temperature differences minimal helps reduce the workload on your HVAC system. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to automatically adjust settings for the best balance between comfort and efficiency.

Tip #4: Additional Ways to Support Your AC

Utilize ceiling fans to create a wind chill effect that can make you feel cooler without lowering the room's temperature. During the hottest parts of the day, keep curtains and blinds closed to block out the sun. Seal leaks around doors and windows to keep cool air in. Finally, limit the use of heat-generating appliances to the cooler evening hours.

Passive Cooling Strategies:

  1. Reflective Window Films: Apply these to your windows to reflect solar heat away from your home.
  2. Strategic Shading: Plant trees or install awnings to shade your windows from direct sunlight.

Need Help? Contact SS&B Heating & Cooling

If your air conditioner struggles with the heat, starts blowing warm air, or completely breaks down, don't hesitate to contact us at SS&B Heating & Cooling, your local comfort specialists in Springfield, MO. We prioritize your comfort with prompt non-commissioned repair services to ensure your HVAC system is ready to handle whatever the summer brings.

Stay cool and comfortable this summer by preparing your HVAC system in advance. Remember, even hot dogs need to chill—make sure your HVAC system is ready to beat the heat!

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