When summer arrives, those of us who live here in Kansas City know almost immediately. The temperature starts rising rapidly, sending us all indoors to the blessing of your air conditioner and a nice cool home.
Getting your air conditioner ready for the high temperatures is important to ensure you’re comfortable as the temperature rises. Here are a few tips from Anthony’s Heating and Cooling to get your AC unit ready.
#1 Clear Your Outside Unit
Before you start the AC up, you need to make sure the outside unit is clear of debris and other obstacles. Rake up any leaves that became trapped in the unit’s grills or vents. Cut back any plants that are blocking the air flow around the unit. Remove weeds and other unwanted plant growth near the unit.
Make sure you or an AC technician can access all sides of the unit easily. Remove any obstacles that make it difficult to access the unit.
If you covered the unit to protect it during the winter, remove the cover before you try the AC. A common reason for Kansas City air conditioner repair in the summer is running the AC while having a cover over the outside unit. This can cause severe damage to the unit and can be quite costly to repair or replace.
Check Refrigerant Lines
There are two refrigerant lines going into the house from the outside unit. The smaller one sends the refrigerant into the house while the larger one brings it back out. Make sure both lines are straight and undamaged. If there is any damage, call for AC repair immediately.
The larger line should have insulation around the entire run of the pipe going from the outside unit to the side of the house. This helps keep the refrigerant cold as it arrives into the outside unit. This improves efficiency and prevents damage to the outside unit. If the insulation is damaged or missing, replace it. You can get inexpensive insulation sleeves at any hardware or home improvement center.
The smaller line does not require insulation, though it will not hurt to have it in place.
Change Your Air Filters
To run properly, your AC needs a clean flow of air. Filters help keep dust and debris from getting into the AC unit. However, if the filter is clogged, airflow gets slowed down or blocked, which can cause the AC to work harder than necessary. This is a common reason for a broken air conditioner.
Before starting the AC for the first time, change or clean the air filter. Then, at least once a month, check the filter to make sure it’s not clogged. Change or clean as needed.
You can purchase air filters at your local big box store or home improvement store. It’s a good idea to have a few on hand so that you won’t run out.
Clear Your Condensate Drain
Your inside air handler has a pan beneath it with a drain attached. When warmer air hits the cooler surface of the coils, water will condensate on the exterior. This water drips off into the condensate pan below. That water then goes down the drain and outside the house. If that drain isn’t in place or is clogged, you may have water flowing out of the pan onto the floor.
Make sure the drain is firmly attached to the tray. Also, check where it comes out of the house to make sure it’s still intact and that there’s nothing blocking it.
Pour a small cup of water down the drain to make sure it’s flowing freely down and out of the house. If it isn’t, you may have a clog. You can use a shop vacuum to try to clear the clog. Place the vacuum hose over the end of the drain pipe outside, and turn the vacuum on. Use your hand to close the end of the hose over the pipe for enhanced suction. Run for a few minutes, then check the drain to see if the clog is gone.
Pouring a 1/4 cup of vinegar down the drain can help prevent algae and mold growth.
Clear and Clean Your Vents and Grills
Walk through your house and locate the supply vents and return grills for your air conditioner. Remove anything obstructing the front of them, such as curtains, furniture, and toys. Airflow restriction can cause the unit to work hard, causing excessive wear and tear and avoidable costly repairs.
After removing obstructions, use a vacuum attachment to remove dust and debris from the vents and grills. You don’t want the dust getting blown into the house and it doesn’t need to get sucked into the AC unit either.
While you are cleaning the vents and grills, take a moment to assess the inside of your ducts. If you see holes or split seams, you need to have an AC expert make repairs. Every opening in the ducts allows cooled air to escape, driving up your energy costs. If the inside of the ducts are dusty or show signs of mold, you need to have them cleaned.
Change the Batteries on Your Thermostat
Many thermostats have a battery backup to make sure they work even if the electricity is off. The spring is a good time to change the batteries for fresh ones. While you are at the thermostat, take a moment to dust it. Accumulated dust can interfere with the thermostat’s ability to detect the room temperature.
Also, if you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, spring is the perfect time to have one installed. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically control the house’s temperature at any time, day or night. You can have the temperature higher when you are gone during the day and have it cool down just before you get home. It will lower your energy bill without compromising your comfort.
Schedule Spring Maintenance
A common cause for Kansas City air conditioner repair is delayed maintenance. Your AC unit requires routine maintenance to run effectively and efficiently. Delaying maintenance can cause minor issues to become major ones; costly AC problems could be avoided. Delayed maintenance also shortens the expected lifespan of the entire system.
Spring is an excellent time to get routine maintenance performed. The technician will clean the unit, make sure it’s properly calibrated, and check for any problems. Resolving minor issues early will prevent costly AC repair in the future.
Consider signing up for an annual maintenance program. You get an annual tune-up for your cooling system and discounts on repairs if needed.