It’s that time of year when it won’t be long before you start preparing air conditioning for summer. If you live in a year-round warm sunny climate, this is a good time for annual maintenance. If you live where there are more defined seasons, now is the time to be getting the equipment out and prepped for summer.
According to the Energy Information Association, most air conditioning companies recommend keeping up with AC maintenance to make sure their units last longer. However, only 43% of Americans perform yearly maintenance, and their AC units last about 40% longer.
To make your AC unit last, you’ll need to do your air conditioning preparation for another long, hot summer. Your AC can keep you cool and comfortable all summer long with a little preparation, including checking the filters, cleaning the condenser coils, and paying attention to other details.
Preparing AC for summer
Start with the filters
Before preparing air conditioning, the first thing you should do is to make sure your power is turned off by flipping the circuit breakers. Hopefully the circuit breaker that powers your AC system is labeled, so you won’t have to keep flipping breakers to find the right one. If you have to do that, be sure to mark it for next year. Don’t forget to check the ductwork while you’re at it.
Next, check your filter. Made of fiberglass or paper, your filter is designed to keep dust, dirt, pet hair, lint, mold, bacteria, and other irritants out of your home. Depending on your system’s requirements, you should clean or replace the filter to start the new year and at least once more during the season. Some experts recommend changing the filter every three months, and more often if you live in a dusty environment or have pets. If you neglect this step, your system will be far less efficient, and in today’s high-energy-price environment, inefficiency is to be avoided at all costs.
Clean the condenser
To continue with your air conditioning preparation, once you have a clean filter, clean the condenser coils. They are located in the outside portion of your system. You may have kept it covered over the winter. Now is the time to take off that cover and find out how winter treated your unit. Clean the internal fan, located at the top of the unit, of debris, leaves, nests, and anything else that shouldn’t be there.
Find your condenser coils behind the panels of the outdoor portion of your air conditioning system. Remove the panels carefully and, even more carefully, remove any debris accumulated around the condenser coils’ copper tubing and aluminum fins; using a coil brush will make this part of the job a little safer for the coils. If you find any bent coil fins, use a fin comb to straighten them. Next, use your hose to gently clean away any debris on the coils and follow with a foaming coil cleaner. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before gently rinsing it away. This cleansing will allow air to flow more easily through the system and give you highly desirable increased efficiency in your system.
You will also want to make sure your condensate drain line is clear of debris and mold. If you don’t clean it properly, you will get mold and mildew, creating musty smells and perhaps mold toxins in your home. The line’s drain should be clear and free of rubble around the bottom of the unit.
The last step to finish preparing your AC unit for summer is to check your coolant line and make sure that the insulation is still good. Efficiency, or lack of it, can happen here too.
Put the whole thing back together and give it some time to dry completely before you try to use it. When it’s dry, test your unit. If there are any problems, it’s time to call in the professionals before the heat of high summer makes them so busy you may have to wait for days.
Improve your cooling with help from First Centennial Mortgage
If you’ve been getting along with window units or your whole-house system has seen better days, it may be time to consider a new system for cooling or for both heating and cooling. Installing or replacing a central air conditioning system is not a small financial commitment. Contact First Centennial Mortgage to learn more about financing major home renovations.