- On February 17, 2020
Your air conditioning system has lain dormant for several months while you and your family enjoyed a heated, comfortable home throughout the winter. However, spring months are fast approaching, and you’ll need your cool air before you know it. Rather than waiting until the first sweltering day to switch your air on and simply hoping everything still works, take some time to check out and prepare your system for the upcoming warm seasons.
Springtime brings with it a wide range of challenges for A/C systems, especially after it’s sat largely unused for months on end. Take the opportunity to check out your system, clean things up, and make repairs before the hot spring weather arrives to ensure your home can maintain the comfort levels you’re used to.
Clean Out the Area Around Your Unit
The first item on your list should be ensuring your outside unit has room to breathe. Over the winter, landscaping and lawn upkeep often goes neglected, which means your unit is likely to have a serious buildup of dead leaves, tall grass, and potentially even overgrown bushes to contend with.
Clear out the area beside your unit, aiming for at least three to four feet of clear, open space. Furthermore, take the time to clean up the unit itself to handle dirt and debris that have settled over the months it’s been stationary. All of this work ensures proper airflow and allows you to run your system freely without worrying about overtaxing its most crucial parts.
Take a Look at Your System’s Refrigerant Levels
Your home air conditioner uses a chemical that changes from liquid to gas and back to liquid again quickly in order to keep rooms cool. This chemical is your refrigerant, and without it, your A/C won’t be able to cool at all. That’s why checking on your refrigerant levels before spring rolls around is absolutely imperative. You can certainly check the levels yourself, but this is a part of your system’s upkeep that should really be handled by a trained professional. This way, if you are low on refrigerant, they can figure out why and repair any leaks that might’ve developed over the winter.
Check Out the Belts
As is the case with most machines with motors, your unit has a number of belts. These run between the motor and the blower and keep things running smoothly while your unit is working hard. However, they’re made of rubber, meaning that over time they’re likely to wear out or crack, stopping operations altogether. Have a professional check out and replace these parts before the hot weather sets in to ensure that a simple cracked belt isn’t keeping you from experiencing complete comfort in your home.
Replace Your Filters
One thing you don’t need a professional’s help with is replacing your filters. This is something that should be done regularly, usually on a monthly basis. When your air filters become clogged, it makes the blower work much harder to get the proper amount of cool air into your home because the blower is having to force the air through a filter that’s already full of dust and debris. Over time, this leads to your blower wearing out, which can mean expensive repairs. Fortunately, replacing your hair filter is an easy process that you can complete in as few as four steps:
- Buy the new air filter, matching the same size as your old one in most cases. If this size doesn’t seem correct, you may find the information in your owner’s manual or can measure the filter’s slot for the correct dimensions.
- Turn off the unit, either with the unit’s switch or at the breaker. It’s always a good idea to power down the machinery of any sort before working on it.
- Remove the old filter and dispose of it. Most air filters are attached to the indoor unity and are easy to find and remove, but in some rare cases, they may be installed in individual air vents themselves. If this is the case, it may be easier to contact HVAC professionals to handle the job.
- Slide the new filter into place and switch the unit back on. Ensure your blower is working correctly and that cool air is coming from vents.
This is perhaps one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to ensure proper airflow in your home. You don’t need a professional hand for this, but you can always contact your preferred HVAC company to discuss the size of the filter you’ll need or get recommendations on the best brands and materials for the job.
Check the Fuse Box
In an attempt to save money, some homeowners turn off the A/C unit at the fuse box at the beginning of winter, so the system doesn’t kick on automatically and use up energy unnecessarily. If you are one of these homeowners, don’t forget to flip that switch back on before running your unit again. This might seem like an obvious step, but when it’s been months since you’ve touched either your air conditioner or the fuse box, it can be easy to forget this crucial part of the process.
Furthermore, if you’re encountering issues with your unit and the fuse box switch is set to “on,” you can mark this off your list and call in the pros to find what else might be keeping your system from running.
Make Sure Vents are Clutter-Free
Both your supply vents and return grills should be entirely unimpeded when you start up your system. The air supply needs to be able to draw air in to keep the system going, and grills need to be clear so cool air can flow freely throughout the home and keep the pressure inside the vents at a minimum.
Remove any clutter and take a moment to vacuum dirt, dust, and pet hair from grates and vents around your home. Keep furniture a reasonable distance from vents, too, to avoid blocking airflow.
Set Up an Inspection
There are many steps you can take on your own to ensure your unit is in tip-top health, but there are some issues that simply need a set of professional eyes and professional tools to identify and take care of.
Problems such as leaks, a damaged blower, damaged insulation, or a failing motor will require some know-how to spot and fix, so it’s a great idea to set up an appointment to have your air conditioner inspected by a professional in preparation for spring.
Contacting a pro for system maintenance before these crucial yearly changes help to extend the life of your system and generally saves you money in the long run by preserving the integrity of your system’s various parts.
As you get your home ready to take on the changing seasons and all the difficulties that come with it, you’ll need a good, reliable team of professionals on your side to handle the big jobs. To ensure your system’s on the right track, contact Howard Air to schedule an A/C tune-up for the spring. Whether you need a simple belt change or you need extensive leak repair, this team has your back and can get you the results you need in no time.