Three Tasks To Tackle Before Turning Your AC On For The Summer

Air conditioning is a lifesaver when temperatures rise in the summer. But if you want your AC system to keep working well all summer, you need to do a few simple maintenance tasks before you turn it on for the year.

Clean the outdoor unit.

The outdoor condenser unit has been sitting unused for some time, so chances are, it has accumulated some dirt and perhaps even some larger debris like leaves and twigs. This can decrease the efficiency of the unit and cause it to work harder, leading to premature breakdowns.

To clean your outdoor unit, start by turning off the power to the unit. Then, spray off the exterior of the unit with a garden hose. Next, spray down the entire unit with coil cleaner (available at most home improvement stores.) Let the cleaner sit for at least 10 minutes. It should begin to look foamy. Then, rinse the cleaner off with the hose and allow the unit to dry before turning the power back on.

Change the filter.

Especially if you have a heating system that uses the same ducts as your AC system, it's very important to change the filter before the cooling season begins. A dirty filter is harder for your AC unit to push air through, which may lead to overheating of the unit. A dirty filter also lets dust build up in your system, leading to a dusty, dirty home as well as a dirtier AC unit.

Replacing an AC filter is easy. Pull yours out of the slot. (The slot is typically found between the blower unit and the main air return duct). Purchase one that's the same size, and slip it into the slot. Then, mark your calendar to ensure you remember to change the filter once a month throughout the cooling season.

Make sure vents are clear.

As you switch your home décor out throughout the changing seasons, it's all too easy for furniture and spare items to end up in front of your air vents. If some vents are blocked, your AC won't cool evenly and may have to work harder to maintain the proper temperature in your home. Move everything out from in front of the vents, and makes sure they're all switched to "open" before you turn the AC on.

If you've had trouble with your AC system in the past, make sure you have a professional out to check it over before cooling season. It's better to fix problems when they're little than it is to invest in heating and air conditioning repairs after they've progressed.