While it may not feel like it across all of North America, this week marks the official start of Spring! Cue the birds chirping, flowers blooming and air conditioners firing up. Before you make the switch from heating to cooling, there are some seasonal tune-ups we’d recommend to keep your system in its best health. Some of these items are perfect for DIYers and maintenance professionals, but others should involve a professional and certified HVAC technician. And if you’re ever uncertain, just give us a ring…we know a thing or two about heating and cooling!
Change Your Filters: One of the easier and most effective things you can do to maintain peak AC efficiency, changing your filters regularly is a must. They’ve probably been hard at work this winter capturing debris, mold or other contaminants, and you’ll want a fresh start for the spring.
Check Your Thermostat Settings: If you missed the start of daylight savings time, the schedule on your programmable thermostat may be off by an hour. (If you have ENASTAT, then we made the change automatically!) Configure your thermostat for the appropriate system mode, setpoint and schedule now that we’re saying sayonara to Old Man Winter.
Clean the Evaporator Coil and Drain Lines: Because warm, moist air travels through your evaporator coil, buildups of mold and algae are common. For the coil, you can use a spray cleaner from a home improvement shop, and a wet vac or garden hose can be used in the drain line. If you’re uncomfortable with these tasks or not sure where to begin, your certified technician should be doing this as part of a scheduled maintenance plan.
Deactivate the Humidifier: In many instances, the humidifier unit isn’t needed during cooling season. You can shut it down with a dedicated control switch, or simply turn off the water supply to the unit.
Clean the Condenser: Depending on location, the outdoor unit may have been subjected to dirt, leaves and other debris throughout the fall and winter, so it’s a good idea to remove the cover and vacuum out the inside. We’d also recommend cleaning up the area around the outdoor unit, especially around the ducting coming from the unit.
Professional Punch List
While some of the more routine maintenance items can help your system operate at maximum efficiency (and for longer periods of time), it’s best not to skip over the annual (or, ideally, semi-annual) preventative maintenance from a certified technician. Each company’s services may vary from one another, but the following are items you can generally expect to be tackled by the pros (in addition to those above):
- Visually inspect system
- Replace worn components such as belts or connections
- Gauge refrigerant levels
- Test for leaks
- Evaluate compressor and motor
While nobody enjoys paying for maintenance on things that aren’t broken, taking proper care of your HVAC system can save a lot of money in the long run by extending the life of the equipment and ensuring it’s operating at peak efficiency. The changing of the season is a great time for the changing of air filters and, of course, all the other little considerations that go into the care of your equipment. Happy cooling!