Make sure your air conditioning system is ready for the summer heat


Hot and humid weather is right around the corner, so this is the best time to make sure your HVAC system is up to the challenge.

Zach Collins, co-founder with wife Crissy of World’s Greatest Heating & Air, recommends an annual maintenance, which should suffice if done correctly. While no company can guarantee an HVAC system won’t eventually fail, proper maintenance is important.

In fact, spring and fall are the offseason, and many HVAC businesses will offer specials on the work.

One of the most important issues is duct leakage. Collins’ team can seal ducts from the inside using Aeroseal technology, which also removes human error from the equation.

One important thing residents can do to extend the life of their system is change the filter monthly. In fact, the better the filter, the more critical it is to change it. Dense filters trap more dust and pollen, but that also means they can clog up more frequently. And a clogged filter will restrict airflow, which could actually damage the equipment.

Collins recommends installing a one-inch-thick filter with a MERV rating of 8.

But what should you do when your HVAC system stops working? Suddenly, the home is stiflingly hot. And homeowners with young babies or elderly parents will be tempted to react emotionally. That could open the door to an expensive mistake.

A system will last between 10 and 20 years, but many homeowners take them for granted until a crisis hits.

“Air conditioning in this area is not something you want to be reactive on,” said Collins. “That’s when you make emotional decisions.”

And emotional decisions can lead to dissatisfaction.

It’s a good idea to consider the age of your equipment, whether it cools or warms properly, whether your energy bill seems high and the quality of your air is sufficient. Make a list of what you may need, and what you might like to have. Take the time to find a contractor you trust while everything is working well; ask questions, get answers and approach your HVAC status logically. Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured and has received all the proper training to both install and service the equipment.

Collins highly recommends getting at least three estimates before having the work done.

When purchasing a new system, it’s very important to get the right size. Numerous factors contribute to what professionals call the home’s “tonnage.”

“If you oversize it, you won’t dehumidify properly,” Collins said, “and if you undersize it, it’s not going to keep up.”

Collins, who has been working in this field for 26 years and is licensed in three states, said each state is different. If you were able to move a “3-ton” home from Northeast Florida to Arizona with the same orientation, square-footage and foliage, it might only be a “2-ton” home there.

For more information about World’s Greatest Heating & Air, which serves communities throughout Northeast Florida, go to