How to Prepare Your A/C for Summer
While we may still see snow in the months we typically consider to be summer, those days when the sun is shining means we’ll start to experience temperatures into the 70s, 80s, and even higher. Such is the way Colorado weather works.
But, before you turn on your air conditioning system, it’s important to make sure it is ready for the weather that lies ahead. It has been lying dormant all winter and the parts that are designed to move have instead been stuck in place. These parts, along with wiring, ducts, coils, and filters should be thoroughly checked before flipping the on switch for cool, comforting air in your home.
By following our steps for preparing to turn on your A/C this summer, you’ll have an air conditioning system ready to go from the time you turn it on all the way through summer and into fall when the leaves start their yearly transition.
Start With a Visual Inspection
The beginning of your summer season preparation starts with a visual inspection of all components, indoors and out. This will give you a good idea of the condition each part is in and if you spot anything that looks questionable or worn, you can replace it now.
If you have any exposed ductwork throughout your home, give it a once over to check for potential leaks or exterior damage. This ductwork may run through your attic or basement, so those are both great places to start. Identifying leaks or issues with your ductwork now will prevent inefficiencies in cooling your home later on.
With life mostly spent inside in the winter, there may be some things lying around your house that aren’t always there. Or, during your spring cleaning you may have decided to do some rearranging of your living spaces. Either way, your vents can inadvertently become blocked by furniture, a bookshelf, or numerous other objects. Check behind large pieces of furniture and move any items that might now be blocking airflow into your home. This will make sure that your hard working A/C system isn’t putting in all the effort with no reward.
One way air conditioning systems keep you cool is by removing the moisture in the air. Throughout the condensation process, any humidity is drawn from the air and directed to outside of your home. This moisture is sent through a drain line and it is important to keep this line clean and clear of debris. Clogs can be caused by a number of things including a buildup of dirt, algae, or even insects building a nest. During the summer, water being drained through the line would flush these out and keep the line clear. During the winter, and before you turn on your A/C, you’ll need to manually clear the drain line if it is clogged.
An air condenser is the most important part of your A/C system and needs to be maintained for everything to run smoothly. To initially inspect your condenser this summer, look all around the unit for any blockages, damage, or other issues. You’ll want to clear off any leaves or other debris that might be blocking airflow. Then, give all sides of the condenser a once over for damage that may have occurred over the winter and could affect performance.
Refrigerant lines connect your outdoor air condenser to the indoor evaporator coil and inside each of these lines are cool gases or warm liquids. The cool gases travel through a thick pipe, typically copper, and is insulated. The warmer liquids also travel through a copper pipe and is left exposed. Visually inspect these lines for damage or leaks and be sure to also check the insulation being used. If there are any tears or weathered cracks in the insulation, remove and replace it so there is no efficiency loss in keeping those gases cool. If there is damage to the pipes themselves, call a professional to have these pipes replaced.
The final piece for your A/C system inspection is to check the wiring. Over time, the coating on these wires can become brittle, leading to cracks and exposure. If the wire becomes exposed, you may suffer shorts and other electrical issues. Additionally, if the wiring is around any moisture, check for corrosion that can cause the wires to break prematurely.
Replace Your Air Filters
With the inspection of your air conditioning system complete, the next step is to replace your air filter. This is a good way to ensure you are starting off with the complete system operating at 100%. It will also prevent any dust or dirt that built up in the ductwork over the winter from getting into your A/C system and causing damage. A clean air filter also breathes better, resulting in a 5-15% decrease in energy consumption.
Get an A/C Tune-Up
If you found any issues during your inspection, or are just unsure of what to look for, your best bet is to get an A/C tune-up. At Carbon Valley, our tune-ups will ensure your system will run as efficiently and reliably as possible all summer long. Our hour and a half service includes:
- Cleaning of your condenser unit
- A check of your refrigerant levels and compressor performance
- Ductwork cleaning
- A review of electrical connections for wear
- And more!
Turn On Your Thermostat
With your complete A/C system inspected, cleaned, and ready to power on, it’s time to turn to the thermostat. This control center is the hub that lets you set your home’s temperature to whatever number you desire. Without it, the system would not function.
Turn on your thermostat to get started and set it to your desired temperature. Once on, head outside to make sure the fan in your condenser is spinning smoothly and doesn’t sound irregular. After running for 10-15 minutes, you should start to feel cool air coming through your vents and into your home.
If you want to get the most efficiency out of your system this summer, consider upgrading to a digital programmable thermostat. These thermostats are truly set it and forget it and can even save you 33% or more on your energy costs.
Enjoy Cool Air All Summer Long
After following these steps, you can trust that your A/C system will run reliably all summer long. Be sure to use diligence when visually inspecting all components, replacing air filters, and cleaning any ducts or piping. The reward will be a comfortable home, no matter the temperature outside.