One of the things to do before the summer season sets in is to ensure your air conditioner is in tip top condition. The scorching outdoor temperatures and high humidity levels ahead require an efficient air conditioning system in Houston, TX.
But after months of low usage due to moderate temperatures in the spring, your air conditioning system has accumulated dirt and debris and needs servicing to get it up to task. In this AC preparation guide for the summer, we’ve outlined 10 things to keep in mind as you prepare your air conditioning unit for the hottest season of the year.
How to Get Your AC ready for Summer: What You Need to Know
1. Spring is the Best Time to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer
The best time to prep your air conditioner is in the spring, right before the summer months set in. Not only is it easy to get AC service professionals to check and service your unit during the spring season, but it also ensures you will have enough time to fix issues and get your AC ready for peak performance once the heat of summer really kicks in.
The last thing you want is to realize your cooling unit isn’t working properly when you need it most. Plus, the summer is a busy season for AC repair professionals like Alpha4Real AC Repair & Heating.
You may end up waiting days for AC maintenance in the summer and paying top of the season prices for AC repair.
2. It Might Be Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner
How long has it been since you installed your AC unit? Have you had it for 10 to 15 years? Did it break down and require frequent repairs last summer? Then it might be time for a HVAC upgrade instead of servicing the old unit.
Upgrading you air conditioning unit with the newest models will ensure you do not have breakdowns and your home is cooled optimally as the temperature shoots up into the triple digits in the summer.
3. You Can Perform Some Maintenance Tasks Yourself, but Some Repairs are Best Left to an AC Repair Company
The best time to schedule the yearly professional AC maintenance is just before the summer season. Your AC maintenance contractor will perform a thorough inspection, fix any issues, and tune up the air conditioning system in readiness for the hot season.
While you can perform some basic AC maintenance tasks such as replacing the filters, setting the thermostat, and removing debris, some tasks are best left to qualified AC contractors. For example, repairs to the electrical components and sealed refrigeration system should be handled by a qualified AC repair technician.
4. Safety Precautions to Observe as You Prepare Your AC for the Summer
Your air conditioner is an electrical appliance that should be handled with care. If you choose to inspect and clean it yourself, you should observe some safety precautions to reduce the risk of electrical shocks and other injuries such as cuts, and also ensure you don’t damage the system.
Here are the safety measures to take:
- Wear Personal Protective Gear: Wear goggles, a face mask, and gloves to protect your eyes, face, and hands. Dorn an overall or old clothes as AC maintenance is bound to get messy.
- Switch off All Sources of Power: Inspecting and servicing your conditioner with the power on is risky. Touching a powered unit with bare or sweaty hands can result in shocks, burns, or even electrocution. Ensure the system is completely powered off by turning off all power sources. Turn off the power to your indoor AC unit at the main service panel. Turn off the disconnect box for the condenser unit. Turn off the furnace or air-handler cabinet switch or circuit breaker. Finally, wait about 30 minutes for the charge in the condenser capacitor to dissipate.
- Handle the AC components with Care: You should also be careful when handling the AC components. Avoid tugging and pulling on lines, wires, or pipes and exercise care not to bend the coils.
How to Maintain Your AC Unit for Summer Heat
1. Clean or Replace Your Air Filters
The most basic AC servicing task in preparation for the summer is to clean or replace the air filters. For the air conditioning system to work properly in the summer, the air filters must be in top-notch condition. Clean air filters also ensure quality indoor air.
2. Clear and Clean the Outdoor Unit
An integral part of AC tune-up for the summer is to clean and clear the outdoor unit of debris and obstructions. Trim the grass and any bushes encroaching in and around the condenser and leave about two feet of room to breathe all around.
Sweep away debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt on and around the unit. You should also make sure that the condenser pad is sitting flat, level, and higher than the ground around it.
After months of neglect, dirt and debris has probably accumulated on the condenser coils so you will need to clean them too. Simply remove the fasteners with a screwdriver and use a small brush and vacuum to gently clean all parts of the radiator style fins including the grilles and fan blades.
3. Clean the Indoor (Evaporator) Unit
The evaporator unit located on the air handler or furnace will also require cleaning to eliminate any debris and gunk buildup. This entails cleaning the evaporator coil, the air inlets and outlets, the pipe/tray, the covers, and the fan barrel/scroll.
Check the evaporator coils and examine the air ducts and their insulating material. Clean your filthy air ducts and repair or replace damaged insulation if any. Take a look at the furnace too, as it can also contribute to airflow issues in the summer.
4. Check the Coolant Lines and Drain Lines
Coolant lines are the tubes or pipes that carry refrigerant to and from the indoor and outdoor air conditioner units. Examine these lines for damages and leaks.
The refrigerant lines are covered with insulation to prevent loss of energy. Inspect this insulation for damaged and missing parts and replace them.
Check the drain pan and pipes for signs of leaks, blockage, or damage. Inspect the drain lines for debris and clear the blockage by flushing the drain and then rinsing it. This will keep the drain clear and ready to remove moisture through the summer.
5. Check for Airflow Problems
AC maintenance in the summer also entails making sure that nothing obstructs the flow of air. This involves checking all the potential sources of airflow problems like leaks in the air ducts, obstructed vents, and blocked air registers. These problems should be fixed as they can cause the AC system to overwork and break down in the heat of summer.
6. Check the Thermostat
Another crucial step when preparing your air conditioning unit for the summer season is to ensure the thermostat is working properly. If you don’t see a digital display of the temperature, then the batteries need to be replaced with the exact kind of batteries.
If you don’t have a smart thermostat, consider installing one as it will give you more control of your air conditioner and cut down on energy usage. You can program it to shut off and turn on automatically.
You can choose to do this yourself, or you can call a trained, experienced air conditioning repair technician in Katy, TX to take care of this for you and ensure it is done right. Call 281-347-7325 24 hours and a technician will be on the way to take care of all your AC repair needs in Houston, Katy, Sugar land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Sealy, Pearland, or nearby cities.
How to Test the Air Conditioner
After you’ve checked, cleaned and tuned up all the components, it’s time to check whether your air conditioner is running smoothly.
Follow these steps to test your air conditioning unit:
- Put together all the components and allow some time for any wet parts to dry
- Turn the thermostat to the off position
- Switch the power back on at both the main panel and at the disconnect box
- Return to the thermostat and set it to cool mode
- Monitor the air conditioner in action. Check that the vents are blowing cool air and listen for any strange noises. Contact your AC service professional if you notice any issues.
Proper AC maintenance is essential to getting the most out of your unit this summer and also to prolong its lifespan. Keep the above pointers in mind as you prep your air conditioner for the summer and you will have a fully-functioning air conditioner able to chill your home effectively during the hottest season of the year.