When the hot summer weather hits, you should already have prepped your air conditioning system to handle it. As a homeowner, taking care of your air conditioner should be another springtime maintenance task. In fact, there are many different preparation steps you will need to take to ensure that your air conditioner is ready to work through this upcoming hot summer season.
Program Your Thermostat
Most newer air conditioning systems have a smart or programmable thermostat. If your system doesn’t, then it is advisable to install one before the summer season hits. These are fairly simple to install as they just require connecting a couple of very low-voltage wires and inserting regular batteries. You’ll want to program your thermostat to remain at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home and 88 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re not.
For most people, this means programming their thermostat based on their work schedule. Simply program your thermostat to increase to 88 degrees when you’re getting ready to leave in the morning and have it decrease back to 78 degrees about an hour or so before you expect to return home. Most programmable thermostats allow you to program each day of the week, so you can program your work schedule for Monday through Friday and have the weekend left at 78 degrees.
Change Your Air Filters
Depending on the unique air conditioning system that you have, you may have one or more air filters. When you’re prepping your air conditioning unit for summer, it is vital that you replace your air filters. If you know what the filter model is, or you know your air conditioner model, you can easily find new filters at your local hardware store.
Air filters are designed to stop unwanted allergens, dirt, and debris from floating around in your air. As the filter does its job, it starts to become clogged with all this excess unwanted debris. When you can no longer see through your air filter, it is time to replace it with a new one. When a filter is completely clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder to move air through the venting system.
Remove Condenser Covers
If your region of the country experiences a very harsh winter, you likely use condenser covers. These are specifically designed to be temporarily installed in your outdoor unit. They get placed over your condenser coils to protect them from extreme temperatures throughout the winter months. Before you can use the condenser coils as part of the air conditioning operation in your home, you will need to remove these condenser covers.
Clean Your Condensation Lines and Drain
A necessary job of your home air conditioning system is to remove excess moisture from the air. When the moisture is removed, it is directed down the condensation lines and to the drain. Unfortunately, these lines and the drain can get clogged. You may find unwanted dirt, debris, or even hard water buildup in these areas. It is a good idea to thoroughly clean your condensation lines and drain in the early spring so that these components don’t get clogged up during the hot summer season.
Clean Your Outside Unit
Your centralized home air conditioning unit has an outdoor compressor unit that helps to cool your home. Over time, excess dirt and debris from outside can find their way inside of your compressor unit. When this unit gets overly dirty, it can decrease the efficiency of your entire air conditioning system.
You should take the time to remove excess debris and trim back shrubs that are near your outdoor compressor unit. Temporarily remove its cover and clean out any leaves and other loose debris from inside of the unit. If you notice that any of the fins are bent, now is the time to bend them back into their original position. Also, you’ll want to use a chemical cleaner to remove gunk from the condenser coils.
Assess Your Concrete Slab
Your outdoor compressor unit is installed on a concrete slab. This slab needs to be level so that your compressor unit remains level during operation. If the compressor is tilted one way or the other, it can drastically reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Take a level and ensure that your concrete slab is level. If the slab is not level, you’ll need to remedy the situation by installing gravel under the slab or by using another leveling method.
Assessing Your Venting
The ductwork that connects to your air conditioning system runs throughout the walls and floors of your home. At each entryway into a room, you’ll find a vent. These vents need to be opened the whole way and free from any obstructions. It is highly advisable to take the time now to walk through all the rooms of your home and ensure your vents are open and there is nothing blocking them. It’s not uncommon to move furniture and accidentally block a vent without realizing it.
Evaluate Your Ductwork for Leaks
Any leaks that are present in your ductwork can drastically reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Think about it like this: If your system is losing some of its cooled air, then it is going to need to make more to cool your home. Losing just 20% of the cooled air from your system can result in your air conditioner working 50% harder to adequately cool your home.
It is best to evaluate your ductwork to identify any leaks that are in it. While you may not be able to assess all of your ductwork because some sections are inside the walls, it is best to evaluate all the areas that you can get to. Even removing your vents and assessing what’s behind them is a necessity. If you do find some leaks, then you will want to use ductwork tape to seal them. Don’t settle for simple masking tape, as it won’t seal effectively. Make sure that you use foil tape that is specifically designed for ductwork to get the best seal possible.
Clean Out Your Ductwork
As the air is directed into your ventilation system through the return ducts, it can bring along dirt and unwanted allergens with it. These items can get stuck in the ductwork as the air moves. It is a good idea to consider having a professional company clean out your ductwork every couple of years. This can remove loose debris and ensure that the air in your home remains of high quality. This is especially important when you have family members with nasty allergies.
Reputable AC Services
Having one of our professionals evaluate your AC system is a necessity to ensure that it is operating optimally. We provide both residential and commercial AC and heating installation, preventative maintenance, and repair. We also offer custom ductwork design and indoor air quality assessments. If you need help with your indoor AC in Hanover, MD, give Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating a call today.