The long, hot months of summer are almost here. Is your air conditioner ready for its annual cooling marathon? If the answer is no or you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Use this 7-point checklist of things to prepare, clean, or fix.
1. Turn Your Air Conditioner On
If you live in a warm climate, your AC is probably already on full blast. But if you live in a cooler climate, it may have been months since you turned on your AC. Turn it on now and check the air that comes out of the vents. Is it cold? That’s a good sign that your air conditioning is running properly. If not, that’s the first sign that something’s wrong. But before you rush to call an HVAC professional, run through the rest of the checklist. You might be able to figure out the problem on your own.
2. Check Your Thermostat
Does your air conditioner turn on when you switch on your thermostat? If it doesn’t, make certain your thermostat is getting power. Does your AC run, but not turn off? It could be time to replace your thermostat.
3. Remove Outside Debris Away from Your Air Conditioner
Check the outside unit. Blown leaves, fallen branches and even overgrown grass can have a negative effect on your AC unit. Clean up any debris on or near it. Trim back branches and cut the grass around it. These steps will help the air flow better and the system work more efficiently.
4. Change the Air Filter
Change your air filter every other month to keep the air cleaner and to ensure your system runs smoothly. If you can’t remember the last time you changed it, it’s been too long. If you don’t have a disposable air filter, just rinse it with water once a month to clean it. Shake off the excess water and put it back in the unit. The air flow will automatically dry the filter for you.
5. Inspect the Air Conditioner Ducts
First, turn on your AC, so you can spot any leaks. Start with the duct connected to your outside unit and then check the ducts that are visible in your home. Hold up a stick of lit incense, a thin piece of toilet paper, or even your wet hand, and move it along the outside of the ducts. If there is a leak, smoke from the incense will be sucked up or twirled in an unusual pattern. The piece of toilet paper will flutter. Your hand will feel air. All of these indicate that there could be leaks.
6. Clean and Check the Vents
Do your vents look a little dusty? You can unscrew the grilles and clean them with a small brush or clean cloth. While they’re off, check inside for any blockages or debris. And if you have vents in the walls or floor, make sure that houseplants or furniture don’t block them.
7. Clean the Air Conditioner Coils
The condenser coil on the outside unit can get dirty from sitting out in the elements. Turn the AC off, unplug the unit, and spray it down gently with your hose to remove dirt and grime. The evaporator coil on the inside unit can also get dirty. You can use a can of compressed air to remove dust and debris, or a light detergent. If your coils are severely dirty, call a professional.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be that professional, call Porter Chester Institute today. We offer an HVACR Training Program in Connecticut and Massachusetts that you could complete in as little as one year. Fill out the form to request more information.