Now that the warmer days are starting to roll in, homeowners are thinking less about their furnaces and more about the preparedness of their AC units. Is it ready to go? Does it require an AC tune-up? What type of air conditioner maintenance may be needed once the winter winds subside and the sun makes it presence known?
Understanding how to approach Spring/Summer HVAC maintenance can mean the difference between a unit that runs effectively and one that ultimately gives you issues throughout the bulk of the hotter season. Below, we’ve put together a brief guide as to the best ways that you yourself can help prepare your AC system for the upcoming months and also ways in which you can best maximize the services of an AC technician to get your air conditioner where it needs to be.
A Careful Inspection
You can tell a lot by simply looking at the various components of your AC unit. From the condenser to the filter, performing a visual inspection will enable you to detect more than you might think.
- Check the Condenser. This is the outside component of your air conditioner. Think about it…the unit has weathered the leaves and debris of the Fall and the inclement Winter. It’s bound to have been affected. If dirt and other such matter have built up, this could very well prevent the condenser from functioning as it needs to. Look it over, remove larger debris from around the unit, you may also spray the condenser down with a garden hose.
Furthermore, you want to examine the condenser coil fins. These comprise the thin metal portion of the coil which directs heat away from the unit and keeps air circulating. Clogged and damaged fins can result in seriously restricted air flow. A soft brush such as a toothbrush, for example, can be used to help remove gunk and buildup from the fins. However, if you happen to notice that they are bent or damaged in any way, you are probably going to want an experienced HVAC tech to take a look.
Finally, check out the pad/slab upon which the condenser sits. There may have been some shifting, perhaps even cracking. This, in turn, could result in an AC unit out of level—and an out-of-level condenser is not going to function optimally.
- Check the Inside Portion of Your Unit. Most AC units are split systems; meaning, they consist of the exterior compressor and then the interior evaporator coil. This evaporator coil is where the real work of cooling takes place, and so you want to ensure that it is in tip top shape come the warmer Summer months. Critical to HVAC maintenance is a clean filter. Often times, letting the filter go too long without changing it can result in obstructed air flow thereby preventing you from achieving the desired output from your system. Know where your AC filter is located and just prior to the Spring/Summer season you are more than likely going to want to install a new one. Most brands are available through local hardware/box stores and also, of course, online.
Cleaning the evaporator itself may be something that you can also do by way of air conditioner maintenance to help prepare your unit for the warm weather. This really will depend upon the type of furnace/evaporator coil setup you have. Air continually blows across the coils, therefore whatever might be in the air, to include dust, pollen, and even pet hair can stick and basically clog the coils. Dirty, clogged coils use far more energy than newly cleaned ones, so if you can, in fact, get in there and clean up the coils, it definitely makes sense to do so. Your evaporator coil will have an access panel. Remove the screws and then using a mild detergent mixed with water you can spray the exposed coils. For more stubborn buildup, you might also get a soft wire brush and gently scrub. Some homeowners are not comfortable, especially when it comes to dealing with the more delicate and complex parts of their air conditioning units; this is where a bi-annual AC tune-up really does have immense benefits.
The Professional Approach
While doing what you can to help prepare and maintain your AC system is always a good idea, there are going to be elements of HVAC maintenance that are best left to the professionals. In anticipation of the hot summer months during which your system will be working its hardest, isn’t it good to know that your air conditioning is being thoroughly checked, tuned up and therefore prepared to face the challenging heat ahead…
There are a couple for options for optimal pre-Spring and Summer AC tune-ups. If you’re working with a trusted HVAC company, then you might already have a service contract with them. Essentially, a service contract is a guarantee the regular maintenance is being performed where your HVAC technician (depending on the type of plan you choose) will service your AC prior to the start of the Spring season. The tech’s more multi-faceted approach will ensure that your system runs as it should; not to mention, it prolongs the life of your air conditioning.
Additionally, you can call and schedule routine HVAC maintenance. In anticipating the warmer months, it is certainly always a good idea to have a trained specialist come out and carefully inspect all components of your AC unit. This way if they do detect anything that could potentially turn into a larger issue, they can address it before it escalates and becomes far more costly.
At M.B. Kiser we offer a few different options when it comes to AC tune-ups in preparation for the Spring and Summer. Our affordable service contracts help ensure optimal AC operation, while our HVAC maintenance programs address everything from duct blockage/leakage to coil issues, to drain line clogs. If you’re concerned about your AC unit preparedness—which you should be—call today and one of our experienced and trustworthy technicians will be out to take a look at your system.