Summer is not a good time for your air conditioner to breakdown! One of the things you can do to prepare your AC for summer in Tampa is to test and clean your air conditioner in the months before summer arrives. By taking steps to prepare the unit for the long, hard season ahead, you can avoid an unexpected breakdown. Here’s what you need to know.
Check and Replace the Filters
Your home’s HVAC system uses a filter to clean the air that circulates through the ducts. This air filter collects dust throughout the year as the HVAC system runs. According to ENERGY STAR, this air filter should be replaced every three months at minimum. You may wish to replace the air filter more often if you or someone in your household suffers from allergies.
To replace the air filter, turn off your air conditioner. Find your current air filter, most likely located in a slot near the blower. Remove the air filter from the slot and take it to a hardware store or home improvement store. You should be able to use the old filter to find a replacement filter. Once home, put the new filter back in the slot, and turn your HVAC system back on.
Clean the Condenser Coils and Fins
Your air conditioner condenser (the part of your air conditioner that’s on the outside of the house) relies on good airflow to keep functioning. Unfortunately, the coils and fins in your air conditioner condenser can easily become covered in dust and grime throughout the season.
When this happens, the air flow around the condenser is negatively impacted. If it becomes difficult for your air conditioner condenser to expel hot air from your home, your AC may become less efficient. You can prevent this from becoming a problem by cleaning the condenser coils and fins. You can buy a special cleaner for an air conditioner condenser at the local hardware store.
To clean the unit, cut the power. Next, remove the lid on the condenser. Apply the cleaning product as directed on the manufacturer’s instructions, then rinse with a hose. You can also use a condenser fin comb to remove debris from the fins. Like the condenser cleaner, fin combs are sold at home improvement stores. Put the condenser lid back on the unit, then restore power to the unit.
Clear the Space Around the Condenser
Just as your air conditioner condenser needs to be free from grime that can impact its ability to expel hot air, your condenser also needs to have good airflow in the space around the condenser. Check the area around your condenser. Look for:
- Twigs and debris
- Pieces of mulch
You should also look for structures that could stand in the way. Your condenser should be at least 12-inches away from all other structures, including privacy fences and walls. If someone from your household placed a structure too close to your air conditioner condenser at some point in the recent past, that structure should be moved or removed.
Test the Unit
Once you’ve cleaned your air conditioner, replaced the filter, and cleared the area around the unit, it’s time to test your air conditioner. Turn on the power to the air conditioner and step outside to be sure your condenser is running. Next, stand at the air vents in your home to feel the air flowing through the vents. The air should be coming out strong from each air vent in your home.
Check the vents in each room. If you recently rearranged the furniture in your home and a vent is now blocked, unblock it. If you notice that one room is far stuffier or cooler than another, this could be a sign that something is going wrong. Have it checked by a professional.
Get a Tuneup
The final step when you’re trying to prepare your AC for summer is to get a tuneup from a professional. It’s important to get your air conditioner tuned up once annually, especially if your air conditioner is getting older.
During the tuneup, your air conditioner professional will check the wires and connections, check the coolant and replace the coolant if needed, clean the filter if it’s needed, and finally, your air conditioner professional will check your AC for damage.
If your air conditioner professional has identified any damage, then he or she will make recommendations for necessary repairs. Get repairs as needed to ensure that your air conditioner will continue functioning throughout the summer.
When you’re looking for a professional to perform air conditioner repairs, check for the following:
- License. Your contractor should be licensed in the state of Florida.
- Good reputation. It’s best to hire a contractor that you can trust to do the work right.
- Good references. This is especially important if you’re thinking about hiring a professional to make repairs to your air conditioner. Remember, the HVAC professional you hire to perform your tuneup could one day turn out to be the professional you hire to replace your air conditioner – so get good references before hiring anyone to do the work.
Prepare for Summer: Call the Experts
Summer will be here before you know it! Prepare your AC for summer in Tampa. Call Alvarez Plumbing & A/C today to make an appointment for your HVAC tuneup.