The year hardly feels like it’s even started, and spring is already here! We’ve gotten a few warm days already, and anyone who lives in or around Sacramento knows that it’s going to warm up fast over the next couple of months.
Watch the video above for a few tips on what you can do to prepare your air conditioner for warm summer weather, or read on below.
Change the filters.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, many homeowners forget to change their HVAC system air filters on a regular basis. If air can’t easily pass through the filter, you’ll receive less of that wonderfully cool air, and your air conditioner will have to work harder and will break down sooner.
Remove any covers or lids from the condenser.
Whether you own a normal air conditioning system or a heat pump, you have a condenser installed somewhere outside your home, either in your backyard or in a side yard. While appearances can vary a great deal depending on brand and age, it will look something like the unit below:
If any protective covers or lids have been placed on the condenser to protect it from winter rain and debris, make sure to remove them. Running your air conditioner with a cover still on the condenser can cause extremely costly damage to your A/C.
Clear away debris from the condenser.
It’s very easy for condensers to become obstructed by windblown leaves and branches, or by gardening mulch and soil that have been placed too close to the unit. Take the time to carefully remove all of the foreign material heaped up against the unit or jammed into the vents. Please note that condensers are installed on cement slabs. If you can’t see the slab, then you need to dig down and remove all debris on and around it until it’s visible and the surface is well elevated above the surrounding ground, as in the photo above.
If you find that vent guards or electrical panels are missing from the condenser, be sure to call us immediately, as these issues present safety risks.
If you’re well versed in basic A/C maintenance, it’s also wise to take the time to clean the coils in the condenser (these are the small metal tubes running around the condenser, just beneath the metal guards). However, many homeowners inadvertently damage the coils with improper cleaning methods. If you don’t know how to clean the coils, and they look like they are covered with dirt or other debris, then we recommend calling your local Gilmore Heating & Air for assistance.
Make sure the registers and ductwork are clear.
Walk around your home and check all of the registers. Make sure that they aren’t covered by carpets, furniture, or other obstructions. Then, open up or remove each register and check to see if anything has fallen into the ductwork beneath it. For homes with pets or children, it’s very common for all sorts of interesting items to end up lodged in HVAC ductwork. Also, take a flashlight and carefully check the surface of the ductwork for any signs of mold. Mold is an extremely serious issue that can cause respiratory distress and other health problems. If you find signs of mold, call us immediately.
Run your air conditioner to make sure it works.
Now that you’ve checked over everything, it’s time to fire up your air conditioner. Chances are that it’s been five to six months since you last ran it. That’s enough time for water leaks to cause corrosion, pests to build nests in long-unused ductwork, or any number of other problems that can lead to one big problem: an A/C that doesn’t work, despite all of your hard work.
That’s why we advise taking a few minutes and turning your A/C on to make sure that it’s functioning properly, long before you actually need it (yes, even if it’s cold outside). Every year, when the first hot day hits, we receive an avalanche of phone calls from homeowners in a panic because they can’t get their A/C to run, and the temperature on their thermostat is on the rise…
So, don’t wait. Test it out now so you have time for any necessary repairs before you actually need your air conditioner to be in good working order.