Goodbye Winter! See you next year! Today is the second day of spring, and after the harsh 2010-2011 winter months, we are welcoming this new season with open arms, open hearts, and open windows. With warmer weather comes a few HVAC changes as you turn off the furnace and open the windows. Most important is the preparation for the inevitable day in which you turn on your AC unit. It is bound to happen, and if the summer is anywhere near as furious as last year, that day may come sooner than expected. It is a smart decision to get AC maintenance out of the way sooner and to avoid disastrous breakdowns in the middle of the sweltering summer heat. Here are a few things to look for.
Clear Surrounding Area
A lot can change in your yard in the 6ish months you don’t use air conditioning. Inspect the surroundings of your AC unit and clear the area of any shrubs, plants, weeds, bushes, or other greenery or debris that has accumulated in the winter. Clearing the space around the AC unit helps make sure that the unit can access enough air to cool the house and keeps debris from entering the unit and causing bigger problems.
Test AC Early
Sometime in March or April, turn the unit on and let it run for at least an hour. This lets you be sure it is working properly and if maintenance is required, there is plenty of time to get it repaired before the true heat sets in. It is best to be able to get the AC fixed on your own time instead of running into an emergency situation in the hot heat.
Check Air Filter
Some filters need to be changed annually and some filters are permanent and need to be cleaned regularly for the best performance. Either way, dirty filters can be a huge problem. Energy usage increases with dirty filters and can cause much larger problems, like a frozen evaporator, and other issues. Make sure you service your filter early in the year and clear the filter of all debris that can cause issues.
Check Freon levels in your AC unit. Low Freon can be a sign of a leak, which could potentially be a huge problem. Low Freon levels decrease the lifespan of an AC compressor, which is the key component of all Air Conditioners. If your levels are low, schedule a Freon recharge to help prevent overheating.
This one may seem like common sense, but be sure to check that the AC thermostat is set in “cooling” mode. Make sure the temperature is well below room temperature to make sure the AC unit turns on automatically.
AC basic maintenance
It is a great idea to call a trusted HVAC professional to do some basic AC maintenance before the heat sets in. A trained service technician will be able to check all of the above as well as perform some more technical maintenance and troubleshooting, if necessary. If you are in the Triangle area, call Air System Services today to make an appointment for AC maintenance, or click here to schedule a service online.