Your thermostat becomes your best friend when the mercury rises. Nothing is better in the summer heat than walking into your air-conditioned home. You want to ensure you hear that “click” when you set the thermostat low enough to force the unit on. You also want to make certain that your unit responds to thermostat’s directive. In the spring, take a few hours on your day off to prep your AC for the hot summer months by the doing the following.
Replace the Dirty Air Filters
You should have changed your air filters regularly throughout the winter. In the event it slipped your mind, now is the time to replace them. Your indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. Change the filters wherever they are, including your intake vent and the AC’s air handler. You should also clean your air vents, including the ones that cover the ducts blowing air into your home and the ones for the outdoor ventilation. Check your ducts, too. It’s recommended they be cleaned annually to reduce dust and allergens in your indoor air.
The Condenser Coils Are Next
If your air conditioner unit is up on the roof, this isn’t going to be much fun; hopefully, it’s on the ground. Many people equate the condenser to a fan, because that’s what it looks like. It is protected by a grilled cover. You need to clean the fan and the coils underneath this cover. To do so, cut the power to your AC unit at the breaker and remove the condenser cover and/or side panels. Gently lift the fan and clean it with a wire brush. Brush the coils underneath as well.
Don’t Forget the Coolant Lines
Your coolant lines are the pipes or tubes that connect the evaporator to the condenser. They are wrapped in foam insulation to help your air conditioner conserve energy. Make certain all the insulation is intact. If any of it is torn or showing signs of wear, hop in the car, head to your local hardware store, and ask the sales clerk for foam insulation sleeves or tape. Rewrap the lines once you get home and check your coolant level as well. Replace the condenser cover.
What a Mess!
Now, it’s time to clean the area around your air conditioning unit. Sweep away all the dirt, debris, and leaves. You want the area around your AC to be spotless, as the fan will draw all that dust into the unit. If your condenser drains into the ground, clean the drain, too. You’ll be surprised at the mud and leaves that have filled the drain space during the winter.
Give it a Test Run
Go inside and flip your thermostat from the heater to the air conditioner. Lower the temperature enough that the unit will flip on. Listen to hear the click the thermostat makes to turn on the AC. Wait for the unit to run and begin blowing cool air into your home. After a few minutes, place your hand in front of one of the air vents to ensure it is cold.
You did it! You’ve just prepped your air conditioner for its summer job. Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the cool air when the mercury rises outdoors.