Follow this AC maintenance checklist before turning on your air conditioner for the season to avoid harming your HVAC system.
Stop! Don’t just switch the thermostat to “Cool” when things start heating up outside.
You can make your home a summer oasis by properly prepping your AC system. Do it wrong, though, and there could be HVAC repairs in your future that you could have avoided.
INFOGRAPHIC: How Your Air Conditioner Works
1. Clean the condenser coils
Cleaning the condenser coils makes it easier for the air conditioner to remove heat from the air, which also helps the condenser use less energy. Ideally, take care of this job before air-conditioning season starts.
First, make sure the condenser unit is shut off (which you did last fall, right)? Look for a metal box attached to the outside of the house near the AC’s condenser unit—the lever on the side should be in the down position.
Then remove dried leaves, overgrown vegetation and other clutter from on and near the condenser unit.
Next, use a garden hose without a spray attachment to gently rinse the condenser coils with water. Avoid the electrical connections on the back. Flush the space between the coils too. Keep the water pressure low, or you could bend the fins.
Allow ample time for the coils to completely dry.
2. Turn on the condenser 24 hours before turning on the AC
To prevent damage to the condenser unit, give your central AC 24 hours to convert refrigerant from liquid to gas. Locate the metal box attached to the outside of the house, near the condenser unit. Push the lever to the up position.
3. Check the insulation on the coolant line
A coolant pipe connects the evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside. If the foam insulation that covers the line is torn, replace the insulation.
4. Shut off the furnace humidifier
Your air conditioner helps keep you cool by removing humidity from your house—so you definitely don’t want the humidifier attached to your furnace to be pumping moisture into the air. If your furnace is equipped with a humidifier, turn off the humidifier. If your humidifier doesn’t have an on/off switch, move the damper door lever to the Cool position, which reroutes the cooled air so it doesn’t go through the humidifier.
5. Check the fan
Turn the thermostat fan switch to On. If you don’t hear the fan kick on, call for service.
6. Replace the air filter
At the start of cooling season, check the air filter in the furnace and replace it if it’s dirty. Then check it every month that you run the air conditioner (and the furnace, for that matter). Check the air filter in your furnace every month and replace it if it’s dirty. A dirty air filter blocks the flow or air, making your HVAC system work harder.
Something not working right? Need help getting your AC ready for warm weather? Keep your cool and let our experts handle it, schedule your appointment today.
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