Don't Run Your AC Without Performing These 3 Critical Maintenance Tasks
Early spring weather can often be unpredictable. You may have cool and comfortable temperatures one day, followed by unseasonably high temperatures the next. Once the thermometer reaches for the sky, you'll probably reach for your thermostat to turn on your home's air conditioning system. However, turning on your air conditioner for the first time each season can be a little nerve-wracking.
While a system that worked well last season should generally fire up without a problem, maintenance issues can sometimes develop in the off-season. To maximize the likelihood that your AC will work as expected, always perform these three critical maintenance tasks before running your air conditioner for the first time each spring.
1. Inspect Your Condenser
Your air conditioning system comprises the outdoor condenser unit and the indoor air handler (or evaporator) unit. The evaporator is hard to reach and requires opening up your air handler cabinet, but your condenser is easy to inspect. Before running your system for the first time, take a step outside and thoroughly check the condenser unit.
Remove any tarps or other protective items you've installed for the winter. You should also check for and remove any debris trapped in the fan. Finally, you may want to perform a simple coil cleaning. You can handle this job on your own but don't use harsh chemicals or attempt to clean a severely soiled condenser. In these cases, contact an HVAC technician for a more thorough cleaning.
2. Check Your Thermostat Settings
Your thermostat settings can greatly impact your air conditioner's performance, and one small setting can even lead to problems with your systems and unnecessary service calls. In addition to switching to cooling mode, always check the current fan setting. When using your air conditioner, you should always set your fan to "auto."
When you set your thermostat's fan to auto, the blower will only run while the compressor runs. If the blower runs continuously (such as when using the "on" or "recirculate" settings), you will prevent condensate from draining off the evaporator coils. As a result, you may notice increased humidity in your home or cause your evaporator coil to freeze.
3. Schedule Your Annual Maintenance
Annual maintenance visits are an important part of maintaining any residential HVAC equipment, including your home's air conditioner. While there are plenty of small tasks (such as coil cleaning and filter changes) that you can handle, more in-depth maintenance requires a professional's attention. More importantly, an expert can inspect your system for early warning signs of trouble.
You can perform your annual maintenance at any point during the year. However, scheduling a visit after the cooling season ends or before a new season begins will help ensure your system functions efficiently and reliably.
For more info about AC system maintenance, contact a local professional.