The Perfect Time to Start Prepping Your Home Cooling System for Summer
No one wants to turn on their cooling system on the first hot day of summer only to find it doesn’t work. Instead of relaxing in a cool house, you end up having to tinker around with the system or call in a repair service, all while putting up with the blistering heat and humidity. That’s why the best time to prepare your home cooling system for summer is in the
That’s why the best time to prepare your home cooling system for summer is in the spring before it gets hot out. Taking the time in the spring to perform a few simple cleaning and maintenance steps can help save you time and money when you need your cooling system most. Here are some tips to get you started.
Before you do any work on your cooling system, be sure you’re going about it safely. You should turn off the thermostat and turn off power to the condenser by switching off the circuit breaker.
It’s also helpful to understand how your system works. Most air conditioning systems consist of an outdoor cabinet containing a condenser coil and compressor and an indoor evaporator coil. When warm air inside your home blows across the indoor evaporator coil, its heat energy transfers to the refrigerant inside the coil, cooling the air. The refrigerant is pumped back to the compressor and the heat absorbed is moved outside your home while cooled air is blown inside.
Change or clean the filter
The filter in your heating and cooling system helps keep the workings free of dust, dirt and other debris. When the filter gets clogged, it restricts airflow through the system and can cause the evaporator coil to freeze up, halting your AC system. Even before it leads to your evaporator coil freezing, a dirty filter can also lead to dust recirculating in your home and can mean your cooling system has to work a lot harder for a lot longer to produce the same amount of cool air as before. Those inefficiencies can rack up energy use and contribute to high energy bills for your home.
Springtime, before you turn your cooling system on, is the perfect time to check the filter and replace or clean it if necessary. A good guideline is to change your filter every two to three months, or more frequently if you notice that it’s clogged or dirty. Some filters, such as those aimed at reducing allergens, accumulate dust and other debris more quickly than other filters, so they require changing more frequently. If you have difficulty locating your filter or have questions about how to change it, call a professional for assistance.
Clean the condenser coils
Any buildup on the outdoor condenser can lead to problems with your cooling system. Covering your unit during winter will help prevent buildup of debris, but you should check the unit whether or not you have it covered. Leaves, dirt and other debris that get into the condenser coils obstruct the unit’s air flow and cut down on the efficiency of your cooling system. Cleaning these in spring before you start using the unit will help prevent clogs and keep your energy bills down.
To do a quick and safe clean yourself, you should remove any debris from around the unit and then can hose off the outdoor fins. Be sure not to touch them, however, to avoid injury. To thoroughly clean the condenser coils, you should call a professional to open the unit and conduct an in-depth cleaning to avoid any hazards.
Check coolant lines
The refrigerant lines running from the condenser to the inside of your house are a key component of your cooling system. They are usually coated with foam insulation to prevent energy loss during the transfer. You should take time in the spring to inspect the coolants lines to see whether the insulation is intact. If there are frayed areas or places where insulation is missing, you should replace it with foam insulation sleeves or call an HVAC technician to replace the insulation.
Test your cooling system
Once you’ve completed these maintenance steps, turn your cooling system back on to see if it runs smoothly. If you don’t feel cold air after a few minutes, you likely have an additional problem in your system that requires diagnosis by a licensed HVAC technician.
Schedule a check-up
If your system isn’t running smoothly during a test or you have difficulty with any of the maintenance steps, scheduling a tune-up with a cooling system professional is the best way to ensure your system will be running smoothly when summer hits. A licensed HVAC professional will examine all components of your cooling system and clean the coils if necessary. Having a tune-up completed preemptively will allow you to fix problems before the hot days of summer hit and you need your AC.