Summer is coming in Florida. That means it’s going to get hot. The last thing you want is a scorching, humid day with a broken air conditioning unit. As the temperature rises and we move into the Summer months, it is crucial to take steps to ensure that your AC is running efficiently. It is recommended that you call up one of our professionals; however, Coastal Climate Experts would like to provide you with some general tips on preparing your AC unit for the summertime.
First and foremost, before you begin working on anything, you must turn off your circuit breaker. Be sure to turn off the power to the condenser at the service panel before working on your AC. The last thing you want is to get electrocuted.
Inspect Your Wiring
After shutting off the power, take a look at your wiring. Ensure there are no exposed wires and that all of your connections are tight. Look for any frayed wires or if the insulation has been damaged. Additionally, you want to check the wiring in the condensing unit for any signs of overheating or wear. If you see any of these problems, you will need to have an electrician come and fix them.
Check the Filter
The AC filter should be checked monthly and replaced when it becomes clogged with dust and dirt. A dirty filter will decrease the unit’s efficiency.
The most important maintenance task to perform is to clean or replace your air filter. A dirty filter will restrict airflow and cause your AC unit to work harder, leading to higher energy costs and potential system failure. Be sure to check your filter every month and replace it when it is dirty.
Another critical maintenance task is to inspect your outdoor unit for damage or debris. Ensure the area around the unit is clear and there is enough space for air to circulate.
Clean the Outside Unit
The outside unit, is more commonly known as the AC condenser, needs to be cleaned at least twice a year. Debris like leaves and grass can build up and cause the unit to work harder than necessary. This can lead to decreased efficiency, as well as higher energy bills.
Use a soft brush or broom to remove any loose debris to clean the unit. If there is any built-up dirt or mud, use a hose to rinse it off. Make sure to avoid getting water inside the electrical components.
Understand the Air Handler
The air handler or furnace blower blows the cooled and dehumidified air through ductwork into the home’s rooms. Repairs to your central air conditioner’s sealed refrigeration system are not a simple do-it-yourself project. They should be handled by a professional HVAC service pro. Luckily Coastal Climate Experts is here to help.
Inspect the Inside and Outside Coils
The coils on your AC unit play a vital role in its efficiency. They need to be clean and free of debris to allow the unit to cool your home effectively. Clean your air conditioning unit’s condenser coils and fan of debris.
The condenser unit of a central air conditioner is often positioned outside. It’s a big fan in a metal box with grille-like sides. To inspect the coils, remove the front panel of the indoor unit. You should be able to see the coils from this vantage point.
To clean the coils (it is recommended that you call a professional)
- Remove the condenser unit’s side and top covers or grilles. Ensure the condenser unit’s power is off before removing any panels or grilles.
- Remove the top. It may be difficult to lift because of the fan. Note: Don’t pull on any wires linked to the fan.
- Using a refrigerator coil brush or a soft brush on a vacuum, gently clean the coils from the outside of the unit. After you clean the outside, vacuum coils from the inside. Note: Be careful not to bend the delicate fins or damage the coils.
You can also check the outside coil by removing the access panel on the side of the unit. Again, if it is dirty, use a hose to rinse it off.
Check for Air Leaks
Air leaks can cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary, leading to decreased efficiency and higher energy bills. You can test for leaks by holding a lit incense stick near the seams of the unit. If the smoke wavers, you have an air leak.
Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal any cracks or holes to fix air leaks.
It would be best if you also replaced the filters on your AC unit every three months. Dirty filters will decrease the unit’s efficiency and can even cause damage. This damage can cost you a lot of time, money, and stress.
Pay Attention to Your Ductwork
Even in brand-new houses, the ductwork may be dirty due to construction debris and dust accumulation. If you’ve had an insect, rodent, or other pest infestation,, their droppings and nests will also be clogging up your ducts. These droppings can cause severe illnesses and should be cleaned soon as possible. Cleaning the ductwork is a dirty, time-consuming job. When the air conditioner is turned on, microscopic particles are drawn into the house and worsen indoor air quality. They also return through your air conditioner which can heavily hamper airflow.
It is highly recommended that you hire a professional as they have the proper equipment and know-how to safely and effectively clean your ducts.
Test Your AC Unit
After allowing the equipment to dry thoroughly, test your air conditioning unit. You’ll need to restart your condenser device after turning it off.
Turn the power to the condenser back on by doing the following:
- Set your thermostat off.
- Turn the electricity on at the disconnect box and the main panel.
- Switch the thermostat to cool mode.
Upgrading to a Smart System Can Save You Money
Upgrading to a smart system can extend the lifespan of your air conditioning unit. With a smart thermostat, you can remotely control your AC anytime, anywhere, and easily create custom cooling schedules, so you’re saving as much energy as possible.
Shopping for a New AC Unit
It is suggested that you begin shopping for a new air conditioning system so you can be prepared when your old one fails. Keep in mind that a new system is not a cheap investment, so be sure to do your research before buying.
If you are looking for an AC unit that will save you money on your energy bill, then consider investing in a high-efficiency model. Coastal Climate Experts offers a wide variety of high-efficiency models by leading Trane, Runtru, and Mitsubishi.
Schedule Your Tune-up Before the Summer Begins
Before the summer heat arrives, it is critical that you have your system inspected at least once a year. Most HVAC businesses provide tune-ups to keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently. A tune-up will include tightening all electrical connections, lubricating fans, and cleaning the system. The technician will check the coolant levels and identify more severe concerns that might occur with age, such as refrigerant leaks, and then repair the damage to get your high-performance air conditioner working again. This can prevent any future damage and extend your unit’s life.
Schedule Summer Maintenance Today
Our technicians are factory certified to service your unit. This keeps you covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Coastal Climate Experts offers maintenance plans for all types of AC units. When you take our Coastal Comfort Plan, we make it simple by calling you when it’s time to book your next maintenance service, and we guarantee that we’ll arrive on time! Here are some of the things we do in both the spring and fall:
- Check and tighten electrical connections inside and outside
- Clean inside and around units
- Check and clean the drain line
- Inspect and calibrate your thermostat
- Lubricate moving parts
- Inspect all elements for proper operation
- Check belts, motors, and fan blades
If you have any other questions about how to prepare your AC for summer, Coastal Climate Experts are happy to help! We are experts in the coastal climate and can help you keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long.