9 Steps to Take Before Turning on Your Air Conditioner
Preparing for summer starts with checking your A/C unit. Tennesseans have many days in the spring that include opening the windows and enjoying the gentle breeze. But, summer settles in quickly, and we immediately reach for the thermostat. Cranking on the air conditioning when the heat index spikes put pressure on the operations. Inspect some aspects of the unit yourself and have your HVAC contractor come out to complete the rest.
Inspections You Should Complete Before Turning on Your A/C
1. Free Your Air Vents
Air vents are located throughout the house and are the final point in the sequence before you enjoy the fresh, cold air. Check vents to confirm there are no obstructions. Furniture and toys can restrict the air that comes out. You’ll not get as much regarding circulation if there’s a blockage.
2. Change Your Filters
We talk about this all the time, but many homeowners forget. So, here is your quarterly reminder that it’s time to replace the filters. Change them before you turn on your A/C and consider replacing them every month in the summer. We’ve talked about choosing the right filter before. You’ll want to be familiar with the MERV and efficiency rating.
3. Inspect Exposed Ductwork
Gaps in the ductwork seams leak air. Leaks like this could rack up your energy bill quickly. A quick inspection of exposed ductwork will give you more information about any repairs that need to take place. Hiring an HVAC contractor is excellent for inspecting internal ductwork. Lots of energy is used in the summer. Any additional steps you can take to maximize efficiency is helpful.
4. Clean Condensation Lines
Water accumulates when you use your unit. The condensation pipe moves the fluid away from the machine to limit rust or deterioration. Condensation pipes clog, and you’ll need to clear them before you begin to blast cold air throughout the house. Pull out your manual and locate the condensation pipe. Ensure it’s draining properly. Algaecide is used in pools to eliminate algae buildup and can be used to clean your pipes without causing damage. Algaecide is found in most pool stores.
5. Upgrade Your Thermostat
The flow of cold air revolves around the temperature you set your thermostat. Slight variations mean the device works harder to pump air. Thermostats that use mercury to read indoor temperatures aren’t the most accurate. Switching to a programmable option saves quite a bit of money each month due to its accuracy. Entry level options start around $90, but you have the opportunity to set the temps to optimal levels. Smart thermostats that let you use apps to log in and program the A/C with a few swipes and taps of a button start around $200.
6. Replace Damaged Pipe Insulation
A copper pipe fixed to the outdoor unit supplies refrigerant to the compressor. It’s part of the process that creates cold air. The pipe’s insulation needs to be free from damage. Sun rot, a dip in temperatures, and animals reduce integrity. Not repairing or replacing the insulation reduces the cooling and can damage your entire system. It also makes the unit work harder meaning it’s not efficient in energy consumption. Check the pipe yourself or have your contractor do it before launching into summer. Leave replacements to a professional.
7. Clean Your Fins
Fins are part of the compressor. As the machine works it begins to heat up. The hot air needs to move away to keep the unit working effectively. Keep the fins clean and the entire operation runs very well. Cleaning the fins requires a soft brush. A car or toothbrush works just fine. Take care not to bend the tiny pieces of metal that make up the fin. During the clean, thoroughly inspect the metal prongs. If many are already damaged, you can have it fixed during your routine inspection.
8. Check the Foundation
A stable foundation is crucial to the workings of your A/C unit. Concrete slabs are the preferred foundational choice for the outdoor portion of the network. The concrete needs to be free from cracks that cause the unit to lean to one side or the other. An unstable foundation puts pressure on one or more parts of the unit. It could cause the device not to pump cool air or overheat as it strains to make connections. Speak to your HVAC contractor who can either fix the slab for you or make the appropriate recommendations for efficiency.
9. Remove Visible Debris
Get rid of any visible debris. The outdoor portion of your air conditioner is exposed to all of the elements year-round. Harsh winds and rain move dirt, grass, leaves, and branches around which sometimes clog your unit. Keep the area clear. A pile of leaves, while light in weight, can cause overheating. Branches get stuck in the fan creating damage. Dirt seeps into other working parts that might either slow down, deteriorate, or stop working altogether.
Hiring a Nashville’s Best HVAC Contractor
Don’t switch on your air conditioner until you’ve had it looked at by a pro. The summer heat asks for the machine to work extra hard. Obstructions, damages, or leaks will disrupt service or cause it to stop working. A Nashville HVAC contractor like Busy Bee can confirm your air conditioner is in great shape.