The first hot week of summer is crazy. Not many people have used their AC yet and its a scramble once they’ve figured out it needs maintenance before its going to work. When all the heating and cooling companies are booked out, it’s common that people have to wait a few days for service. That means you could be stuck through the whole stretch of hot weather with no AC whatsoever. Often times, this scramble can be avoided by making sure your AC is up and running before the first humid 90 degree day.
If you’re looking for ideas and tips on how to prepare your AC for the winter, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll be going over some preventative maintenance tips and also safety measures you should take before doing anything.
What you can do
Before doing anything, make sure the power to your AC is off
This is a common mistake that can lead to safety hazards and more problems down the line. To turn off the power to your AC, it is good practice to turn it off from the breaker box AND the 240v disconnect that is connected straight to your AC. The disconnect is commonly located right next to the AC on the outside of your house and has a lever that you can switch off.
Change your furnace filter
This seems simple but it can solve common issues. When the air flow to your furnace is restricted, the AC coil inside your furnace can freeze up. This can lead to leaks in your furnace room and your overall system not working.
Clean debris off of outdoor unit
Over the course of fall and winter, your outdoor unit might have collected lots of leaves and other debris. It’s important to clear the unit of as much debris as possible before running it to ensure that everything can run as it’s supposed to. Also, try and clean the outside of the condenser. The outside of it is composed of metal fins that can collect dirt and duct and become clogged up. You can clean this using a brush attachment on a vacuum. Be sure to be gentle enough to not bend the metal fins.
Other tips and suggestions
Replace your existing thermostat with a smart thermostat
This can help your AC run more efficiently and save you money over the course of summer. It can also lead to a more comfortable home with the programmable settings they offer.
Check your ductwork for leaks
If you notice any holes or leaks in your ductwork, it is important to seal them using metal duct tape. If you notice large disconnections or holes in your ductwork, make sure to call a local heating and cooling professional.
Check the drain line
Your AC coil will have a drain line coming out of the coil box (top of your furnace), make sure it’s not obstructed or clogged, this can lead to bigger issues.
Turn the power back on
It’s easy to forget to reconnect the 240v disconnect outside and turn the breaker back on. Be sure to do so after you're done with your maintenance.