Hopefully you're enjoying the comfortable, cool weather of spring. But don't forget that hotter temperatures are just around the corner. Get one step ahead by preparing your AC system for the summer now. Here's what you'll need to do:
Change the Filter
Your air conditioner's filter is meant to trap dust, mold spores and pet dander so they don't accumulate on the coils and decrease the efficiency of your unit. Trapping these items also leads to cleaner indoor air. But filters don't last forever. They become clogged with dirt and debris, and once this happens, your AC unit has to work harder to push air through the filter. Experts recommend changing your filter once a month during cooling season. Starting off the season with a new, fresh filter is a good idea. Just remove the current filter and take it with you to the hardware store to ensure you purchase the right size.
Note: Usually, the AC filter will be located between the largest air return duct and your AC blower. If you cannot locate your filter, contact your HVAC contractor or look in your owner's manual.
Clear Space Around the Condenser
If weeds, grass or bushes block air flow to your outdoor condenser unit, your AC system won't function properly. It may not even kick on when needed! Take some time to trim back weeds and shrubs to make sure the unit has plenty of space around it for airflow.
Clean the Outdoor Condenser
Once you have cleared branches and weeds away from the outdoor unit, turn the power off to the unit. Spray it down with a coil cleaning product. (These are widely available at most hardware stores.) Let the coil cleaner rest for as long as recommended on the package – 15 or 20 minutes is usually sufficient – and then hose the entire unit down with a garden hose. Let the condenser air dry for a few hours, and then turn the power back on. Your condenser should be a whole lot cleaner, which will improve its efficiency and help prevent malfunctions during the summer months.
Vacuum the Vents
When your ducts have sat unused for a while, dust and debris can accumulate within them – especially near the vent openings. Use the wand attachment on your vacuum to suck as much dust as possible out of the vents. You can even unscrew the vents from the wall and vacuum down inside the ducts a little if you want to be extra thorough. Cleaner vents will mean cleaner indoor air once your AC starts kicking on.
If you have any trouble with your AC unit, don't hesitate to call professionals from a company like Affordable Plumbing & Heat to come take a look.