These tips can help you prepare to turn on your air conditioner after it's been sitting idle for months. Cooling systems are built for rugged use, but they do need periodic attention to maintain their energy efficiency and dependability.
- Inspect the outdoor condenser. Rake away any dead leaves. The condenser needs about three feet of clearance around it for optimal airflow. Gently hose off coils if they are dirty or dusty. Look for grass clippings on the coils and use a soft brush to loosen them. Clean coils dissipate the heat from your home faster.
Check the insulated hose that comes off the condenser to make sure that it's in good shape and the insulation isn't deteriorating from exposure.
- Look over the air filter for the indoor air handler. If it's covered in dust, change it before you turn on your air conditioner. A clean filter stops airborne particulates from entering the air handler and flowing through your ductwork.
Consider upgrading the filter if someone in your home suffers from allergies. Higher-quality filters trap more particles, including pollen, mold spores, and pet dander.
- Schedule annual maintenance with your HVAC contractor. The technician will go through the entire system, cleaning and adjusting the parts. He or she will inspect the electrical components and clean and lubricate them if necessary.
The motors may need oil and the belt might need adjusting or replacement. The technician will inspect the evaporator coil at the base of the air handler and remove any dust or mold. If necessary, he will clear the draipipe and clean the drain pan.
Measuring the refrigerant level is a standard part of an annual maintenance visit. Systems with low refrigerant use more electricity. They also run the risk of a frozen evaporator coil, which could cause water damage around the air handler or harm the compressor.
Each of these steps is important before you turn on your air conditioner, especially having it professionally serviced. To learn more contact Sherlock Plumbing Heating & Air, providing trusted HVAC services for North County homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).