While summer may mean vacations for most, your AC unit is running overtime. The combination of summer heat and humidity in our area puts your home HVAC system through its paces, and—if you don’t keep to a regular schedule of AC maintenance—it may decide to drop out of the race before the finish line.
There’s nothing worse than a call to an AC tech on one of the hottest days of the year. So here is a quick run-down of the ins-and-outs of AC maintenance provided by the good people over at the EPA.[ ] Ready, set…turn it off. Let it rest for a minute or two, then switch it on again. If it kicks into gear without a glitch, you’ve cleared the first hurdle. It may seem an overly simple test, but it’s better than finding out that this is a problem after a 3-day power outage. [ ] Clock the thermostat. Now is the time to take a second and review your thermostat settings. Make sure they are still keeping your house comfortable. Also, note whether or not the unit is turning on and off at the right times. [ ] Check the juice. Electricity is what powers your unit, so ensure that all connections are tight. If you feel comfortable doing it—and you have the proper tools—check the current and voltage of your AC unit. This AC maintenance check makes sure you’re getting the most bang for each buck you spend on your utility bill. [ ] Flush out the dirt in your drain pan. Yard clippings, leaves, and other airborne detritus can clog your drain pan. Peek in and make sure everything is flowing smoothly. [ ] Spray out your coils. The coils are exposed to the same dirty grime as the drain pain. Get a commercial-grade cleanser and a garden hose and clean out the yard clippings, dust, and pollen from your unit’s coils. This increases the life and efficiency of your unit. [ ] Clean or change your unit’s filter. This is probably one of the easiest tasks, but one that we can easily forget. [ ] Is your unit not cooling as well as it used to? If you’ve had it cleaned properly, and all of the connections are tight, you may want to have someone check the refrigerant pressure. Your refrigerant needs to be under enough pressure so that it can quickly cool the air as it flows through the coils. You will need to follow your owner’s manual carefully and adhere to all laws regarding refrigerant handling to perform this task. [ ] Check to see if the blower needs to be cleaned.
These steps are pretty simple. Just like putting one foot in front of another get a runner to the finish line, performing the basic steps to good air conditioner maintenance will keep us cool through the end of the summer.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about the maintenance of your air conditioning system and other HVAC topics, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.