If you’re like most modern homeowners, you probably already know that one of the essential keys to keeping your air conditioning system up and running throughout the summer is to have it serviced by a professional before the warm season begins in earnest. Although this is an excellent way to get the summer of to a great start, it’s also important to consider other aspects of HVAC maintenance that may not be quite so obvious. For instance, homeowners should also think about the potential havoc that pests can introduce to their air conditioning system, and some ways to help them from entering the unit or home.
Maintain the Area Around the Outdoor Compressor
Outdoor units are usually located in areas that don’t get much traffic, such as the side of the house — after all, you probably don’t want a compressor right up next to your outdoor dining area. This means that basic maintenance can often get overlooked. Overgrown weeds and brush provide habitat for insect and rodent pests. Regularly cut back any vegetation around the unit and make sure to thoroughly remove any spiderwebs.
Seal Up Ductwork
Everything from small black ants to rats can potentially access your HVAC system through unsealed, cracked, or otherwise broken ductwork. Your strategy for getting your system summer-ready should include a thorough inspection of ductwork to make sure it’s properly sealed and intact. Rodents in particular can cause significant damage to ductwork because they often make their nests in household walls using insulation materials.
Use External Air Vent Screens
Another popular way for pest to enter home interiors is to crawl in through the outdoor vents. If you don’t already have screens on these, now is the perfect time to have them installed. If your existing screens have any holes, rips, or tears in them, replace them now before pest populations begin to increase. Keep in mind that the average-sized mouse can squeeze through a hole as small as a nickel.
Clean or Change Air Filters
If your unit has a permanent air filter, make sure you keep it as clean as possible to discourage infestations by pests. If your system uses the disposable type, change them once a month during the summer. This not only helps keep pests at bay, you’ll have lower utility bills because dirty filters make systems work harder, resulting in more energy usage.
Also, scheduling regular air conditioning maintenance can help with all of these issues.