Here in the beautiful Tampa Bay area of Florida, summer is in full swing. And that means high heat, and even worse, high humidity. That humidity can make the already hot days feel even hotter. Fun fact: Tampa has a reputation for being hot, and it is, but did you know the highest recorded temperature in Tampa is only 99°F (37°C)? But the sustained high humidity of our subtropical paradise is the secret ingredient to how hot it feels.
This humidity can wreak havoc on air conditioning systems, and that’s why being proactive with maintenance can be the deciding factor between happy guests and angry, sweaty guests. Frozen evaporator coils, clogged drain lines, and dirty filters can and will compromise the efficiency of your air conditioning. And while proper maintenance does cost a few dollars, the small investment can prevent the high costs of emergency service.
FILTERS: As a generally accepted practice, 1” filters should be changed every 1-2 months, 2” filters can be changed every 3 months, and 3” filters can be changed 4 months, and 4” filter can go 6 months. Most commonly, 1” filters are found on systems here. A dirty filter will inhibit airflow, causing the system to struggle to keep up. And with less air blowing across the evaporator coil, there’s a greater chance it will freeze over, rendering the system useless until serviced. Get your property on a regular schedule to change out the filter on a set schedule. And of course, make sure you’re using the proper size and type for your system.
CONDENSATION DRAINS: Air conditioners do two very important tasks. 1, they remove the heat from the air and make the temperature comfortable. 2, they also remove that dreaded humidity from the air. And as I mentioned before, high humidity makes warm temperatures feel much warmer, and high humidity can lead to issues with mold and mildew growth. That’s never a good thing! Cleaning a condensation drain line is as simple as using a wet/dry vac, and adding a chemical algae inhibitor (like vinegar or commercially available treatment tablets). A clogged drain can also leak into places you don’t want water leaking into.
REGULAR TUNE UPS: The final step to properly maintaining your system is to have it checked annually by a licensed professional. The tech will check your refrigerant level, clean the coils to maintain efficient airflow, and in general make sure that your system is running properly to keep you cool! They should also inspect your ducts to make sure they aren’t compromised or dirty. It’s smart to foster a relationship with an HVAC pro, because things can break and you’ll want someone you trust to come save the day!
A final thought to keeping your system safe, don’t keep exterior doors open for prolonged periods. The sudden and sustained humidity can cause the evap coil to freeze. If you have to keep exterior doors open, it’s smart to turn your system off until the doors can be secured, if possible.
Beat the heat, be proactive, and enjoy all the wonderful things summertime has to offer!