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Tips to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer

air conditionerIt’s the first warm day of the year. You flip on your AC only to find it won’t turn on. As the temperatures rise, a well-maintained air conditioner becomes a necessity, not a luxury. Don’t wait until the first heat wave hits to discover your AC isn’t working correctly! Below, our team will share some helpful tips to get your air conditioner in the best shape possible before the warm weather strikes.

Prepare Your Indoor Unit

One of the most crucial components of your unit is the air filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow, making your AC work harder and less efficiently. This can lead to higher energy bills, uneven cooling, and system breakdowns. Here’s how to keep your filters clean and maintained:

  • Check, clean, and replace – Inspect your air filter monthly during peak cooling season (typically summer and early fall). Most filters need changing every 1-3 months, depending on usage and household factors like pets. 
  • Choose the right filter – Not all filters are the same. Look for a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating between 8 and 14 for optimal performance and dust capture. Check the filter’s size (usually printed on the side) to ensure a proper fit. Most filters list their length, width, and depth in inches.
  • Easy access – Ensure your filter is easily accessible and clear of obstructions. If you’re struggling to find or remove it, consult your AC’s manual or call an expert for professional air conditioner services

Replacing your air filter is a simple yet essential step in AC system maintenance. It can improve efficiency, extend the lifespan of your unit, and improve indoor air quality. 

Conquer the Outdoor Unit 

The outdoor unit is the heart of your air conditioner. It expels hot air from your home, keeping you comfortable inside. However, this unit is exposed to the elements all year, making it susceptible to dirt, debris, and pest infestations. Here’s how to keep your condenser unit maintained: 

  • Clear the area – Before starting anything else, turn off the power to your AC unit at the breaker box. Once safely shut down, remove any leaves, branches, or debris from the unit. Aim for around a one-foot clearance on all sides for the best airflow.
  • Clean the coils – The condenser coils are responsible for releasing heat. Over time, they collect dust, dirt, and grime. Use a hose with a gentle spray setting to remove debris from the fins. The coils are delicate, so avoid using pressure washers or stiff brushes to clean them. 
  • Inspect the drain line – A clogged drain line can lead to water buildup, causing rust and damage. Locate the drain line, usually at the base of the unit, and ensure it’s clear of debris. You can also pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain line to clear any clogs if you notice that no water is dripping out of it. 

Remember that while most of these tasks are manageable for homeowners, if you don’t feel comfortable working on your AC unit, don’t hesitate to call a residential AC service professional like Clay’s Climate Control. 

Test and Tune

Once you’ve checked off the cleaning tasks, it’s time to test the unit and ensure it’s running smoothly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Power up – Turn your AC unit back on at the breaker box. 
  • Thermostat check – Set your thermostat to cool and a comfortable temperature. 
  • Listen – Pay attention to any strange sounds coming from your unit. Banging, grinding, or screeching can indicate potential problems. 
  • Airflow assessment – Walk around your home and feel the air coming from your vents. It should be cool and consistent throughout your house. Uneven airflow could signify blocked vents or ductwork issues. 

If you notice issues during your testing, don’t attempt to fix them yourself. Call a qualified residential AC service professional for diagnosis and repair. 

Feeling Warm? Check This First

It’s normal for your AC to work hard during the summer when temperatures reach well over 90. Even if your home feels a little warmer than usual, as long as cool air is coming from your vents and it cools down at night, your system is likely working fine. We recommend you call us for help when:

  • No cool air – If warm air or no air is coming from the vents, your AC has stopped cooling. Turn the system off immediately to prevent further damage. This will help the technician diagnose and fix the problem quickly. 
  • Cool air, but still warm – After repairs, it may take some time for your home to reach your desired temperature. It can take about an hour for the system to cool down even one degree. If your home hasn’t cooled down significantly within 24 hours, contact Clay’s Climate Control for further assistance. 

Schedule Professional Maintenance

While regular cleaning and DIY maintenance are crucial, professional air conditioner services from Clay’s Climate Control are the best way to ensure your system is running at its highest efficiency. Ideally, schedule a professional service call once a year, preferably before the peak cooling season. To schedule an AC tune-up, call 609-961-6358 today.

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