Everybody likes cool indoor air in the summer season, right? With the regular rise in temperature outside, air conditioners come as a sigh of relief. But, your air conditioner has not been used since last summer and has been sitting ideal. During this time, it might have suffered some wear and tear, collected some dust and grime, and even need some component replacements. Before you start your system for this summer, make sure it is in a condition to run safely and efficiently. There are some tips or steps that help you to get your AC summer-ready. Let us have a look at them here in detail.
Steps to get your AC summer ready
Fixing the system before turning it on for the system will increase efficiency and save costs that you will have to spend on repairs if your system breaks down during the season.
Following are some steps that will help you to get your AC summer-ready:
- Change the filters:
The filters used in air conditioners have a certain lifespan, after which they worsen your indoor air quality instead of improving it and thus, need replacement. Some filters need to be changed at least once every month while some need to be changed once every three months. It is best to check and replace the filters at the beginning of the summer to get a cool start to the season. Make sure to get the right filter, as per the requirements of your system and your home. Also, get an expert to replace the filters.
Image credit: Flickr
Some recommended air filters for you:
1. Trophy Air 20x25x1Pleated Electrostatic Air Filter Replacement | Washable | 6 Stage HVAC | Micro Allergen Defense, Healthier Home Environment | AC Furnace Air Filter Replacement | Made in the USA
2. Air-Care 16x20x1 Silver Electrostatic Washable A/C Furnace Air Filter – Limited, Never Buy Another Filter!! – Made In the USA
3. Flanders PrecisionAire 10155.011212 12 by 12 by 1 Flat Panel EZ Air Filter
4. Purolator/Indigo Fiberglass Filter 20x20x1 (12 Pack)
5. AIRx Filters Allergy 16x25x1 Air Filter MERV 11 AC Furnace Pleated Air Filter Replacement Box of 6, Made in the USA
6. Aerostar Allergen & Pet Dander 16 3/8×21 1/2×1 MERV 11 Pleated Air Filter, Made in the USA, (Actual Size: 16 3/8″x21 1/2″x3/4″), 6-Pack
7. Aerostar Home Max 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter, Made in the USA, Captures Virus Particles, 6-Pack
- Clear the area around the outdoor unit:
When there are dust and debris around the outdoor unit of your AC, it blocks the unit and may interfere with the working of the components inside that unit. These blockages affect the performance and efficiency of your system. So, before starting your AC after the winter break, make sure that you clean all the leaves, shrubs, dust, debris, etc. from around the unit. You can also put a net around it to prevent the leaves and other debris from reaching the unit.
- Install a programmable thermostat:
A thermostat is crucial for you to get the desired temperature inside your house. Smart or programmable thermostats are the upgrades over the old mercury ones. The programmable thermostats help you in controlling the temperature of your home via your smart devices, from anywhere. These also help in saving energy and costs. It is easy to install a programmable thermostat and you can do it on your own, but if you are even a little bit hesitant, contact a professional.
Image credit: pixy.org
- Clean the condensation lines:
If the condensation lines get clogged, the condensation they carry away from your air conditioner gets trapped inside the system. A blocked condensation drain line will lead to an overflow of the drain pan, causing leaks in your home. Leaks from the drain line will create a mess in your house, resulting in heavy repair bills. So, before you start your AC for the summer season, either soak up the water with a rag or use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any water in the drain lines. After getting rid of the water, you should clean the drain pan with soap and water to remove any type of algae or any other biological growth.
- Check the insulation:
There is a refrigerant or coolant line running from your outdoor unit to the AC system inside your home. The refrigerant lines have two copper lines that are responsible for carrying cool air and hot air. The larger line carries cold air and it is usually insulated. This insulated larger line is also known as the suction or vapour line. The suction line is insulated to protect it from the condensation forming on the pipe that may lead to accidents, and also to prevent the refrigerant from collecting extra heat. So, check the refrigerant lines for any damage to prevent any accidents and increased repair bills. If the insulation is completely missing, or frayed, or cracked, or peeling, contact a professional before starting up your AC. Get the insulation fixed at the earliest.
- Clean the fins of the outside unit:
The outdoor unit of your system has fins on it, that allows air to pass in and out of the unit. Dust, grime, and other debris may accumulate on it over a period of time, which will block the passage of air. Clean the fins beforehand to get your AC summer-ready. You can use a soft brush or cloth to clean the fins. If you notice any bent fins while cleaning them, straighten them for a smooth airflow for your condensation unit. There are various tools and equipment that help in cleaning and straightening the fins.
Some of the recommended tools and equipment are:
1. Air Conditioner Condenser Fin Comb, Fin Cleaning Brush Air Conditioner Fin Cleaner Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush Metal Fin Evaporator Radiator Repair Tool (2)
2. Robinair 18403 Fin Straightener
3. SUPCO FCR6 Heating and AC Fin Comb
4. Schaefer Brush 2026, Condenser Fin Whisk Brush
5. Air Conditioner Condenser Fin and Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Whisk Brush
6. 4 Pieces Air Conditioner Condenser Fin Cleaning Brush Coil Condenser Brush AC Fin Comb Stainless Steel Air Refrigerator Fin Cleaner Whisk Brush, 3 Styles
- Check the ductwork for leaks:
If there are any leaking ducts in your home, it will affect the efficiency of your air conditioner negatively. Leaks in the ductwork either leak the cool air outside or they leak the hot unconditioned air inside the home. If there are any leaks in the ductwork, it will cause your AC to work harder to cool the air inside your home. The overall flow of cool air is also affected. Therefore, you better check the ductwork for any leaks beforehand. Remember to keep the air ducts of your home clean and leak-free. You can also get the ducts insulated as they help in sealing the leaks and also help in keeping the air inside the ducts cool for a longer period.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
- Schedule a tune-up:
You can inspect and check the entire system before turning it on for the season on your own or you can call an expert. It is advised to get your system tuned-up once a year. The expert will check the entire system and make sure that it is in good working condition. Regular maintenance increases the efficiency and lifespan of the system.