Monsoon season has rolled in, and we’re enjoying the increased precipitation. But you know what might not be? Your HVAC! This time on the ACE Home Services blog, we are taking a look at monsoons and everything you need to know to ensure your HVAC makes it through the storms!
For those unfamiliar, yes Arizona has a monsoon season. Technically we are the northern extent of the North American Monsoon, which is, according to the folks over at the Arizona State Climate Office when “ the dry westerly winds that persist through fall, winter and spring shift to moist southerly winds, bringing thunderstorm activity into Arizona.” It begins in mid June and runs till the end of September, a little over 3 months when the winds and temperature are just right to create the monsoon. The heat throughout the day helps build the power of the storms before they roll in at night, crashing throughout the Valley and then dissipating by morning, before starting the process all over again.
In practical terms, it’s when we here in the Valley get almost half our rain for the year and the thunderstorms with it. Sometimes there are incredible gusts of wind that come with it, bringing great sweeping dust clouds (the ever popular haboob). If you’d like some more general knowledge about our specific monsoon weather, check out the Wiki on it. Regardless of exactly how the monsoon shakes out, one thing is for sure – it’s a heckuva time for storms, not what the usual weather is like, and that can have an impact on your HVAC!
Monsoons and Your HVAC
So, with that out of the way what kind of impact can the monsoons have on your HVAC? Well, you’ve likely already guessed it; but the increased weather can do a number on your HVAC if it’s not prepared for it. The dust can cover your unit, caking the condenser coils in dust making it harder for the heat to transfer from the unit to the outdoor air. The increased dust can affect the indoor air quality and more! But there is something you can do about it! Here are a few tips to help your HVAC survive the season!
Clean Your Air Filter
As we mentioned the high winds and potential for dust storms will kick up a whole mess of dust in the air. That dust (and other particulates) can get into your home and into the filter. When your filter is covered in dust and what not, the efficiency of the AC will immediately suffer. The filter itself will have it’s expected lifespan cut drastically. So you need to be ready to clean your air filter regularly! First things first, clean your air filter – right now! Make sure you have a fresh one in there.
And remember, this isn’t just a monsoon season concern, you should be changing your air filter regularly. If your filter is disposable, make sure that you are replacing your filter throughout the year at least as often as the filter indicates or as directed by your AC professional. If your filter is permanent, make sure that your filter is being cleaned at least as often as directed.
During the next few months, think about changing your air filter as soon as the storm has passed. Get a couple of spares on hand so you can swap them out ASAP. One bad storm can use up all the filtering goodness a filter has.
How Often Should I Be Changing My Air Filter Normally?
Each filter and system can be different so it’s best to follow the guidelines for your system. If a filter says it should be changed once every three months, well there you go. However, there are a number of factors that might have you speeding up the rate of filter swapping.
Here’s a great piece from Carrier all about it, but the short of it is this: change your filter at least once a month.
Clean Up Your Yard
Those string winds with monsoons can move a whole lot more than just dust! If your yard is full of cherubs, debris, palm fronds, or branches you might be just asking for trouble! If the strong winds pick up any of those and send them flying towards your AC unit you could end up with a damaged piece of machinery, whether it’s denting the sides and daming the inner workings or just smashing up the delicate coil that allows for the heat transfer. That kind of damage won’t do you any good!
To prevent it, make sure that there is sufficient clearance around the outside of your air conditioning unit. Clear back any brush or small items so there’s no chance they’ll get blown into your unit. If you have trees, palm or otherwise, make sure they are getting trimmed regularly and the dead parts are cleared away.
Preventive HVAC Maintenance
As you can guess, we’re big on preventative maintenance here at ACE! For one, it saves our clients so much money when minor repairs are done early before they completely fail – and routine maintenance is a breeze for us! Consider getting your AC unit tuned up before the monsoon season hits to ensure your AC is in the best possible condition to start the rough and tumble season. Plus the summer is so hot already, having an AC that’s clean, efficient and working right means you’ll have a cool comfortable home. Nice!
While anybody should be able to, with a little confidence and know-how, perform the maintenance steps outlined previously, there are bigger pieces that should be looked at professionally.
Oh and one more thing!
All the information provided so far should be a great help for you to monsoon-proof your AC unit, but it doesn’t take into consideration one big piece. Part of the reason our climate generates monsoons into the powerful storms that we get, is the heat. That heat is what your HVAC is fighting against day in and day out to keep your home cool and comfortable. Should your HVAC fail or not be as effective as it once was, whether due to poor maintenance, or dirt and debris from the monsoon, you’re in for a world of discomfort while trying to get through the summer. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can’t control the heat, but by making sure your AC unit is in tip top shape, you can give it it’s best chance to stand up to the intense heat and perform admirably all summer long.
Need professional help to get your AC where it needs to be? Have more work needed than a simple filter swap? Look no further! ACE Home Services has been serving the Valley for over 25 years and a 9 Time Carrier President’s Award Winner! Give us a call, schedule a maintenance appointment and you can be sure your HVAC is ready to weather the storm!