by Kate Berube
Summertime sizzle on Long Island is no joke. While the bay breeze often makes life on the south shore pleasant, stifling humidity at times forces the heat index to levels that can make the outdoors nearly unfit for human habitation. A perfect storm of residences being home more this past year, disruptions in the supply chain, and a skilled trade shortage have put a strain on our local HVAC industry resulting in longer wait times for service calls just as residents need their A/C systems the most.
To get to the bottom of the issues, we recently sat down with Therm-A-Trol’s own Carol Seitz-Cusack and John Flaherty, to find out the best ways to avoid costly repairs to your equipment and head off service interruptions before they have a chance to disrupt your much earned vacation.
When is the best time to schedule to have you’re A/C equipment serviced?
Once a year, when the temperatures are above 65-70 degrees. Typically from late April to early June.
When is the best time to install or replace old HVAC equipment?
When it can no longer be serviced, and the cost to repair outweighs the age. If you know that your system is struggling because it’s outdated, be proactive. A/C systems can be replaced all year round, so there’s no reason to wait for the summer months when teams are busy with service calls. While systems replaced during the colder months would need what we call a "spring start up", to come back when it's warm enough to check refrigerant levels and functionality of the system, it will still be better than attempting to have an entire unit replaced when it gives out under the strain of a July heatwave.
What are 5 things you can do as a homeowner to maximize the life of your equipment?
· First and foremost: Change your filter regularly. This can’t be understated. You should be changing your filter once a month in the summer and once again during the fall.
· If you burn a lot of candles, do so with the system off and no indoor fan running.
· Get an annual service checkout, easily fixable issues become larger costly problems when left uncheck.
· Keep all windows and doors closed while operating A/C.
· Be realistic with your temperature setting. It's not a refrigeration system, the goal is to adjust conditions in the air so it's not as harsh as the outside. The lower the temperature, the harder your system has to work. It's not only about temperature but also about controlling humidity within the space. Setting your system so low that you're wearing sweatshirts in July is unrealistic and the fastest way to break your equipment.
With the rising number of COVID cases nationally is there anything that can do can done to improve indoor air quality going into the fall?
There’s a growing number of sales gimmicks out there, like high MERV filters and UV systems, that despite claims to the contrary, honestly don’t do much at all. Keeping windows and doors shut and changing filters regularly is truly the best way to improve indoor air quality. If you’re looking for something to catch more allergens, viruses, bacteria and mold, installing an ionizing-type system is the better option. We personally recommend the I-Wave R and have found it to be the most effective.
Therm-A-Trol, established in Blue Point in 1967, is a 54 year veteran leader in the HVAC industry.