With the warmer weather right around the corner, staying cool will become an essential part to your summer. Ensuring that your air conditioner is ready to go for the summer is important, and a lot of the time over looked. This article will give you a quick insight on how to make sure you are ready for heat of summer, general maintenance tips and what you need to do at the end of summer.
First things first, you need to be aware of the basics. There are three main parts of your central air system: the condenser (the large outdoor unit), the blower unit, and the ductwork.
When preparing for summer you should follow these four steps:
- Change the filters – located at the blower unit, usually placed where the return duct meets the unit. Filters should be checked once a month clogged filters could result in slowed down airflow, which will cause the cooling coil to ice up and the unit will stop working.
- Clear the debris – The exterior condenser needs a minimum of 2 feet of clear space around it. The condensers fan will suck in air, leaves, and pollen, giving your unit a spring-cleaning will help in maintaining it. You can easily do this by using your garden hose to wash it out.
- Check the ductwork – Ensure there is nothing covering the registers in your house that will obstruct airflow. Check the ductwork that leads to either your attic or your basement, all connections should be sealed, and the ductwork should have no holes or corrosion. If there happen to be holes, you can easily cover these will aluminum foil tape as opposed to regular duct tape.
- Temperature difference check – Using two thermometers at the same time measure the warm returning air entering the evaporator coil, and the coil discharge air entering the house. Between them should be around 12-16 F or greater, if lower it’ll be important to get your refrigerant checked by an HVAC serviceman.
A couple quick tips to help save energy, and money are: to ensure on hot sunny days to close the blinds where the sun is shinning to help keep it cool, use fans to circulate air, temporarily change thermostat to a warmer temperature when going out, and make sure the windows and doors are closed while your air is running.
When the summer dies down, and the cooler weather is approaching be sure to turn off your unit for the winter. Some units have a shutoff switch; that will be in a metal box attached to the outside of the house, next to the compressor. If not, you are able to shut it off at the main electrical panel. It also would be beneficial to cover your outdoor condenser with a cover to keep the snow out and keep your unit in good working condition.
By following these steps for maintaining your air conditioner, you are ready for the hot summer months meanwhile saving energy, money and keeping your unit in top condition.
By: Mercedes McLean