Air Conditioning Preparation for the Summer

With warmer weather ahead, we daydream of 90-degree weather, fruity popsicles, and floating in the swimming pool… then reality hits. You suddenly remember the all-important and much-needed air conditioning tune-up on your “to-do” list. When it’s time to turn on the AC and your system has been dormant for the last six months, a few things should be done to ensure your air conditioner runs smoothly…

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Table of Contents

The Basics

There are two main parts to an air conditioning system. An exterior condenser unit and an interior evaporator unit that’s mounted on the air handler or the furnace. Essentially, these two pieces of equipment extract heat from your home using the same process as a refrigerator. After that, the air handler or furnace blower pushes chilled air through your home’s ductwork. Overall, detailed system maintenance is not a do-it-yourself job and should be done by a professional. However, specific cleaning and maintenance can be done yourself.

Be Safe!

Before you start cleaning, the main thing to check is to turn off the power to your condenser at the service panel. Ensuring that everything you touch is wholly powered down is the most important thing to remember. Not doing so is extremely dangerous. Most condensers also have a 240-volt disconnect box near the unit. Once everything is turned off, you still need to wait 30 minutes for the electrical charge in the capacitor to dissipate. Again, not doing so is extremely dangerous, as you could be electrocuted.

Set Your Thermostat Appropriately

A simple tip that most don’t think of –– set your thermostat at an average temperature. Don’t turn your thermostat down. That won’t help your house cool down faster; it will make your AC work longer. Lowering the temperature in your home won’t work unless you switch the setting to “cool.” If the cool air doesn’t kick in a few minutes after changing the environment, consider calling a service technician for repair.

Clear Any Obstructions

When maintaining your air conditioning unit, starting outside your home is the most accessible place. Check the exterior and clear away anything that could impede airflow. This includes cutting back grass, hedges, or trees that could get in the way. It’s also common to find grass, leaves, or trash that the condenser should remove. Make sure the grills are clear, and you can also spray the coils off with a hose. If you’d like, you can also use a specialized brush to clean the fins.

Clean or Replace Filters

The filter for your air conditioner can be found on your interior unit. You should check this filter monthly to remove any dust or debris. Filters are critical as they keep particles out of the AC mechanism. A dirty filter restricts airflow and makes the air conditioning system less efficient. It also recirculates dust back into your home and increases allergens.

Put in a new filter at the start of summer and at least once every three months after that. If you live where it is windy or there is construction, or if you have allergies, you might need to change it more often. So the shortened version is air filter- check, clean, or replace the standard. *Specialty filters might be pricier but are worth the money.

Dirty air filter beside a new, clean filter

Check Your Ductwork for Leaks

You don’t want all the cold air to leak into your attic, so check to see if you notice any holes where air escapes. There are two common types of ductwork: flexible ducts and rigid metal ducts. Flexible ductwork is often used because it’s faster to install but doesn’t last as long. Metal ductwork lasts longer. If you have holes or leaks in your flexible duct, it’s time to replace it. If you leak metal ductwork, you can seal it with…you guessed it- Duct tape.

Clean Your Outside Unit Annually

Dirt and debris build up on your outside unit (the condenser), which blocks airflow and makes your air conditioner work harder. Collect any free water that might have occurred from condensation. Once a year, you want to wash off the debris; first, turn off the power, and then you can use a garden hose. Gently rinse it so the water cleanses between the thin metal fins on the condenser.

Check the Drain Line

It’s essential to check the drain line to it’s your air conditioner regularly is running smoothly. This pipe or hose attached to your interior unit moves excess water away from the coils and into a drainage area. If the drain line is blocked, the water can return to the system, causing damage and potentially expensive repairs. If you suspect the drain line is blocked, it’s crucial to call a professional technician as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Consider Upgrading

There are more efficient and cost-effective air conditioning systems made every year. If you’re considering upgrading, look for equipment with the Energy Star logo on them. You’ll likely save money on your energy bills with the suitable model.

Before / after of an air conditioning replacement by Shipley Energy
Before / After AC Replacement by Shipley Energy

Get Your A/C Tuned-Up By a Professional

Ultimately, keeping your home cool and comfortable in any weather shouldn’t require a lot of worry or expense. As the weather starts to warm, there’s no better time to schedule an A/C tune-up. Shipley Energy offers a thorough 16-point inspection to ensure your air conditioner operates at peak efficiency. The system is checked, and the technician will verify that all electrical and mechanical systems work correctly.

Experts suggest getting your air conditioner inspected annually. This helps reduce energy costs for you and can help ensure that your system runs longer and cleaner.

reasons why

  • Increase the energy efficiency of your unit
  • Ensures the safety and peace of mind that your unit works properly
  • Reduce repairs and increase the longevity of your system
  • Maintain manufacturer’s warranty

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