4 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Air Conditioner For Summer
Waukesha AC Pros Help You Get Ready for Summer
A central air conditioning cooling system is a significant investment, and you need to do everything in your power to protect it. That, and it’s just plain annoying when your A/C unit refuses to fire up on the first hot day of the year.
As the snow melts and temperature starts heating up, your air conditioner, which lay dormant for so long, needs to start pumping cool air as soon as you need it. Like starting up an old car, flipping the switch on an aging and deteriorating air conditioner can be a close-your-eyes-and-pray situation.
Avoid the Headache—Peek Under the Hood
Give yourself some peace of mind and prepare for summer. Perform some simple preventive maintenance to ensure your air conditioner is running before you wake up to the first hot summer day of the year in a coat of sweat.
Remember: before performing any maintenance on your home cooling system, turn off the thermostat and flip off the breaker for your A/C unit to the “off” position.
Clean or Replace Filters
Here’s a simple one. Make sure to replace or clean the filter every month or so. A clogged air filter restricts airflow and can potentially freeze the coils on your unit. Restricted airflow makes your AC run harder and longer, using more energy and driving up your energy bill.
Keep in mind, there are many grades of available filters. A filter reducing allergens will accumulate dust and debris much faster, so it requires more frequent attention.
There’s no reason not to do this. It’s easy, takes little time, and prevents a ton of problems with your air conditioner.
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Clean or replace your filter every month or so—no exceptions!
If you’re using a forced air heating system, you’re most likely sharing ductwork with your central air. As long as you haven’t had any problems with the airflow from your furnace, your ductwork is probably just fine.
However, it’s never a bad idea to do a quick check to make sure there are no holes or chinks in the ductwork, and that every seal is intact. Preventive maintenance is never a bad idea. It doesn’t take too much time, and it gives you a lot of peace of mind.
Be Wary When Considering Duct Cleaning
In some cases, it may be a good idea to get your ductwork cleaned out by a professional. Note: many HVAC companies will try to sell you duct cleaning when you really don’t need it at all. Only in extreme situations will you truly need your ductwork cleaned.
Duct cleaning may be a viable option if:
- There's a bad odor coming out of your vents
- You can see debris or pet hair coming out
- The home has been recently renovated
- There's visible mold
- Animals have nested inside
Otherwise, duct cleaning probably doesn’t make sense. Beware HVAC techs trying to scam you into services you don’t need.
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Clean out the Condenser and Coils
Clean out the coils and condenser before starting your A/C for the first time in the summer.
Any buildup on the AC condenser can inhibit the flow of air and transfer of heat, limiting your AC’s performance and potentially causes problems. If you do not cover your unit over the winter months, you will definitely need to clean it out before attempting to use it when summer rolls around.
Clear away all debris, leaves, grass clippings or plants from the condenser around the outside of your AC unit. Use a soft cloth or low pressure canned air to clean the coils of any pollen or mold spores that have developed. Push dust and contaminants out the way it came in—not the other way around. Be careful to not bend any fins. After cleaning the outside, open up the unit and clean out the inside of the box as well.
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Check Coolant Lines
Inspect the refrigerant lines, the pipes or tubes running from the condenser to the inside of the house (to the evaporator). These should be completely covered in insulation to avoid energy loss. You may either cover them with foam insulation sleeves or use foam insulation tape.
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Now that you’ve double-checked to make sure all the essential maintenance is taken care of, test and make sure the air conditioner runs smoothly. Don’t forget to set the thermostat over to “cool.”
Browse all of our cooling tips to help beat the heat in summer.
If for some reason the air conditioner won’t start, it may be a dead thermostat battery. Replace the battery and try it again (it’s a good idea to replace the battery every year). If it still isn’t working, the thermostat could be bad. At this point, it’s probably best to call an HVAC professional at Hot Point to do a full inspection of your system to save yourself time, money, and a throbbing headache.