Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner! Is your air conditioning system prepared for the heat after its long hibernation? Let’s face it, winter sucks; at least the freezing temperatures do. But even if you are a fan of the winter, don’t deny that you’re not a little excited for the nice sunny days ahead of us. So even though your shorts, t-shirts and sandals are ready for their long awaited appearance when that first 75+ degree day arrives, that doesn’t necessarily mean your AC is. The last thing anyone needs to worry about is expensive air conditioning repair; so while you’re putting away those sweaters and picking out a new pair of summer shades, don’t forget to share the love and properly prepare our good ole friend that keeps us nice and cool. Here’s a quick run through of some common, yet overlooked, things you can do to get your system ready so it stays as efficient and consistent as you do cool and comfortable.
*Prior to checking your AC system, make sure you turn off the power from the circuit breaker*
Filters – Basic Good Air Conditioning Manners
The first and easiest thing you can do is replace the air filters. They will often be clogged with dust (especially if you’ve been neglecting them…tsk tsk) which will restrict the airflow causing your system to be less efficient. It will also result in poor ventilation as dust will be circulated back into the house; so be sure to check the filters in any return-air registers in addition to the furnace or the unit’s air-handler cabinet. Replacing or cleaning the air filters is a simple solution for most alleged issues and it can help eliminate the need for a costly AC repair.
Condenser – The Thing with the Big Fan
Next on the list is the actual condenser unit. This most likely sits outside alongside of your house; you know, the big box with the fan in it. Now, a good preventative measure is to protect the unit with a tarp or cover of some sort during the winter so that dirt and debris doesn’t make its way inside. However, I realize many people don’t do this and that’s fine, but now you just need to clean any dirt in the unit. This process requires several steps and is rather difficult as many things can go wrong or get damaged, costing you even more money. Since cleaning and maintaining the condenser coils can be tricky, and not necessarily for the do-it-your-selfer, calling in a professional HVAC technician or contractor is highly recommended.
Insulation – An Easy Check
This is an easy one, check to see if the coolant lines are properly insulated. You will notice there is black foam around the copper piping going from your unit into the house. The winter weather can take its toll on the insulation so any pieces that may be ripped, torn, or missing entirely must be replaced. Luckily the foam insulation is relatively cheap, we carry all sizes and additional materials in order to fulfill your HVAC service needs.
Refrigerant – It’s not Leaking Out
Refrigerant is last on the list because despite its necessity, most homeowners assume they need air conditioning repair, meanwhile most complications are not caused by this. Homeowners often think they have low refrigerant because of warm and/or low airflow, meanwhile the issue is something more simple like dirty filters and condensers, as previously mentioned. Refrigerant is a “self contained system”, meaning it cycles throughout the unit and does not actually get used and run out. However, if you have your levels checked and they are in fact low, that means you have a leak, so now you do have a more serious problem. One of our professionals can provide you with air conditioning service by first going over the previous steps, then safely checking the refrigerant levels with the proper gauges if required.
No one wants to be hot, uncomfortable AND spend more money than necessary. Properly maintaining your system allows it to last its full life span and ensures that it will run effectively and efficiently, ultimately saving you money. With proper preparation, you’ll be sure the cool air comes-a-flowin’ when you hit that thermostat switch!