When the first hot day of summer comes, the last thing you want is a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. Fortunately, you can keep this distressing scenario at bay by conducting routine AC maintenance before summer arrives. Spring is the ideal time to get your air conditioner ready for summer.
Aside from ensuring you invest in regular AC and heating tune-ups, below are some of the ways you can prepare your AC units for the hot summer months:
As soon as the weather warms up, there are ways you can set your home up for a cool and hassle-free summer. When preparing your AC unit for the summer months, start with the following basics:
Check your outdoor unit:
- Remove the coil blankets, condenser covers, and lids from the outdoor unit.
- Inspect the outdoor unit panels.
- Remove any debris from the outdoor coil.
- Replace or repair pipe insulation that has been damaged.
Inspect the indoor unit:
- Change the air filters.
- Ensure you check the indoor condensate drain lines.
- Take time to clean the return grills and supply vents.
- Ensure your system is working accordingly on startup (make it a point to turn the system off immediately when not working).
Below are other maintenance essentials you need to keep in mind:
Turn the circuit breaker on carefully.
Most homeowners turn the circuit breaker of their outdoor unit off during the winter. During spring, it would be a good idea to turn the circuit breaker back on at least 24 hours before powering up your air conditioning unit. To turn your indoor circuit breaker, you need to find your breaker panel at home first.
Open the panel carefully and look for the breaker switch labeled AC. Turn the unit on by flipping the breaker switch to the on position. It is also essential that you do not use any tools or stand in water while turning the breakers on and off.
Adjust your humidifier and turn it down.
Most homes with central AC have a furnace-mounted humidifier for the entire home. The units are designed to maintain the power humidity levels during the cold winter months. Before starting your AC unit during springtime, it is recommended that you turn your humidistat off.
If your humidifier has a screen or pad to hold the water during evaporation, you need to also check for mineral deposits. This is also the best time to replace or clean the unit when necessary. If there is dust or debris that has accumulated inside the humidifier, they should be vacuumed out as well.
Wait until it gets warm before starting up your air conditioner.
Ideally, you need to wait for a warm day before you start your air conditioner unit up. When possible, stand by the unit and have someone else turn the thermostat to cooling.
Listen to your outdoor fan and compressor. After the initial start-up sounds, you should hear the unit humming after 30 seconds.
You need to make sure your unit does not start or stop erratically. Also, cold air should be blowing inside your house, while hot air should be blowing out of the top of the condensing unit outdoors. It is also crucial that you set your system to run for 15 minutes the first time it is turned on.
If you encounter any issues, turn the unit off immediately.
If there is no air at all or if the air does not feel cool, something is wrong. In similar scenarios, you should turn the system off immediately. It is recommended that you go through the checklist one more time. If the problem continues, turn the system off and have a seasoned professional check your unit.
Looking after your AC unit accordingly can help warrant your system runs smoothly during the hot summer months. When doing routine maintenance, take note of your system’s overall health so you will know when to invest in the services of a trusted professional.
About the author
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
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