Summer is a wonderful time of the year. You get to shed those extra layers of clothing and enjoy the outdoors. Barbeques, the seaside, and long walks are all on the cards. And there’s nothing more satisfying than walking into a perfectly temperature-controlled home after a hot day out. The one thing that can put a damper on all the fun summer has to bring is when your air conditioning doesn’t work as it should. An air conditioner that doesn’t function as it should leads to high energy bills and some serious discomfort in the house.
Air conditioners that have been lying idle for long periods of time are prone to the build up of dust and debris like leaves (for a central unit). A quick tune-up of your A/C before the hot weather really kicks in is a great way to make sure you remain comfortable all summer long. Read on for how our top tips on how to prep your AC for the summer.
- Turn Off the Electricity
The first thing you need to do before handling any part of your air conditioning unit is to make sure that it is not connected to a power source. Turn off the circuit breaker located in the 240-volt weatherproof disconnect box and the power to your air conditioning unit before checking your unit.
- Clean or Change the Air Filters
One of the most common problems faced by air conditioning units is restricted air flow due to clogged air filters. Air filters capture particles from the air that can damage your system. If you have reusable filters, clean them by vacuuming or rinsing them according to your care instructions. Replace disposable air filters every few months.
- Clean the Air Ducts
Your return air ducts typically have a protective cover on them. Make sure these covers are clean of lint and dust by vacuuming them. This will help your air conditioning unit work more effectively. Make sure there are no objects like furniture blocking the vents to allow air to flow more freely. Make vacuuming the vents a part of your regular cleaning schedule to keep your unit functioning at its optimum level.
The interiors of your air ducts can also collect dust. Have them professionally cleaned to improve air flow and air quality in your home.
Ducts can also be leaky which reduces the efficiency of your air conditioning’s cooling properties. Patch accessible leaks with aluminium foil tape and call in the professionals for more serious leak repairs.
- Check the Insulation Covers on Coolant Lines
The refrigerant tubes or pipes that run from your air conditioner’s evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside are usually covered with a foam coolant line insulation. You should check to see if there are areas where the insulation is frayed or missing. If you find any such areas, you can replace it with new foam insulation sleeves or wrap the lines in a spiral fashion with foam insulation tape.
- Clean the Compressor
A central A/C unit typically has a condenser unit outdoors. Make sure you remove the winter cover before turning your air conditioning on. If it wasn’t covered, you’ll probably have a lot more work to do, cleaning it of any leave, dirt and other debris that would have accumulated over the colder months. Clear any grass or weeds that may be growing within two feet of the unit. Make sure the fan in the unit is clean and can move freely.
If dirt has accumulated over the condenser coils, then you’ll have to clean those by removing the protective grilles from the condenser. The top panel may have the fan connected to it which can make the entire process tricky. Use a soft brush on the coils to clear them of dirt and gently vacuum the area to get rid of it. Be careful not to bend any of the delicate fins though.
It can be a good idea to call in the professionals to do this.
- Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
Give your system a rest when you’re not at home by turning the temperature up slightly. A smart thermostat lets you program timings to automatically increase or decrease your indoor temperatures or even control it remotely if necessary, making the entire process even easier.
- Call in the Pros!
The best thing you can do for your air conditioning unit is to call in a professional HVAC maintenance company to give your entire system a tune-up. It can help you avoid unnecessary (and expensive!) repair bills later.
Get in touch and schedule your A/C maintenance visit for a cool summer today!