May 2020

Cover Page

Air Conditioner Care
How to Prep for the Cooling Season

Taking the time to properly prep your air conditioner before the high temperatures really hit will help you stay comfortable. It will also keep your air conditioning unit running more efficiently, which means lower energy bills and lower maintenance and replacement costs over the long term. Make sure your air conditioner is ready to go with these seven steps.

1. Clean up debris around the unit

Over the fall and winter, a lot of debris might have collected around your outside unit. Left unchecked, it can hinder your air conditioner’s performance. Make sure you cut tall grass, trim back plants and branches, and clean up leaves. During the spring and summer, continue to check around your unit for debris on a regular basis.

2. Replace or clean the air filter

The simplest and most important air conditioning maintenance task to stay on top of is to replace or clean the air filter. A dirty air filter can substantially hinder your unit’s performance by blocking airflow and reducing its efficiency. The filter might need to be replaced every month or two over the season, depending on how dirty it gets.

3. Clean the condenser coils

Over time, an air conditioner’s condenser coils will collect all sorts of debris that can clog up the unit and cause it to run less efficiently. To clean the coils, you can physically remove any debris that has settled on them and wash away dirt and dust with a garden hose. Make sure you shut off power to your air conditioning unit before beginning.

4. Inspect and clean the fins

The fins are an essential part of the condenser, and they will have a negative impact on performance when they are dirty or bent. You can clean the fins using a small brush like a toothbrush or a car cleaning brush, but make sure not to scrub too forcefully as they are easily bent. A special tool called a fin comb can be used to straighten out any bent ones.

5. Inspect the refrigerant lines

The coolant lines that run from the evaporator to the outside condenser should be insulated in order to prevent energy loss. Inspect the insulation for any signs of wear and tear and replace it with either foam insulation tape or foam insulation sleeves.

6. Clean the condensate lines

If the condensate lines of your air conditioner become clogged, it might lead to excess moisture in your home or even cause the unit to back up. You can help prevent and clear up clogs by occasionally inserting a stiff wire into the lines. A shop vacuum can be used to clear clogs as well.

7. Give the unit a test run

Allow your air conditioning unit to thoroughly dry before turning the power back on, setting your thermostat, and letting it run. Pay attention to whether everything seems to be working properly or whether you might need to call in a pro for a tune-up. If any issues arise, it’s best to get them taken care of as soon as possible.

With your air conditioner ready to go, you’ll have no problem beating the spring and summer heat. A well-maintained unit that you can rely on will ensure that your home remains a cool oasis all season long.

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