Springtime in Colorado can often feel like winter, or at least like winter is doing its best to hang on! Depending on the day, it might feel too early to be thinking about your air conditioner. However, those cold temperatures and spring snowstorms disappear before you know it, so planning ahead to make sure your system is ready when you need it makes sense. Scheduling an annual tune-up with a qualified HVAC service technician is important to keep your system working properly and running efficiently all season. There are, however, a number of maintenance tasks you can do on your own.
Here are 5 things you can do to get your air conditioner ready for summer:
1. Replace or clean the filter(s).
Dirty filters are responsible for many system problems — if fact, they are the number one reason IAQ is contacted for A/C service calls — yet they are a simple and inexpensive way to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. When the filter gets dirty, the air conditioner has to work harder to move air throughout the home. Eventually, it will become clogged and prevent even minimally sufficient airflow, which will cause the system to malfunction and perhaps even freeze. Dirty filters also can reduce the air quality in your home, which can aggravate allergies and other respiratory conditions. To keep your system in good shape, replace the filter every one to three months. Buy several at once so you always have one on hand when you need it.
2. Clean debris, trim trees and shrubs from around the outdoor condenser unit.
While the air filters help keep the inside unit clean, it is also important to keep the outside unit clean. Turn off the power to the air conditioning system and turn off the circuit breaker that operates it. Once you are certain the power is off, clear away any leaves and other windblown debris that has collected on the top and around the base of the outdoor condenser. Next, use a hose to carefully spray the fan blades inside the condenser. Hold the hose about four inches from the sides, using an up-and-down motion, until the water running out of the bottom of the unit becomes free of large particles and runs fairly clear. Let it dry for at least ten minutes before powering the system on.
Plants that hang over or brush against the condenser can shed leaves and debris that collect inside the unit and interfere with its operation. They also make it difficult for the HVAC service technician to access the mechanism to inspect and service it. Keep the area around the unit free and clear of plants and other debris that can block airflow all year long.
A sturdy tarp or special cover for the condenser can prevent the unit from getting dirty over the winter. Once you are sure you are done using the air conditioner for the season, cover the condenser to keep it clean until you are ready to use it again.
3. Replace any deteriorated insulation on the coolant lines.
Inspect the lines that connect the condenser into the house. Replace any deteriorating or frayed insulated sleeves. These are available at any hardware store.
4. Reprogram your thermostat for summer.
Be sure your thermostat is programmed for the new season. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one.
5. Test the air conditioner.
Test your system before summer starts to make sure it is cooling adequately. If it is not, follow these simple steps:
- Turn the unit off for an hour.
- Set the thermostat at the ambient temperature, and then lower it in increments of four degrees each hour.
- If it does not work at all, make sure the power is on.
- If the house does not cool to a comfortable temperature, call an HVAC technician.
Schedule a Professional Tune-up
Taking care of these minor maintenance tasks can save time and money, but be sure to get a professional tune-up, even if you don’t spot an issue. By catching problems before the hot days set in, you will save time and money, and avoid the cost of an emergency repair. Be sure to get a professional tune-up even if you don’t spot an issue. A reputable HVAC professional will conduct a thorough inspection and service the inner workings of the system to ensure your air conditioner operates worry-free throughout the summer.
Call Indoor Air Quality today to schedule your spring maintenance in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver metro area.