We’ve already had a couple of hot spells here in Wisconsin, and it’s just the beginning of the summer. You’re going to need your air conditioner at peak performance, and in order for that to happen, you should be proactive and get your air conditioner ready for the season. The way to do that depends on what kind of air conditioner you have, but no matter the type, some initial inspection and maintenance can ensure that you’ll be cool and comfortable this summer. In this post, we’ll look at central air conditioners, window air conditioners, and portable air conditioners.
Central Air Conditioners
If you have central AC, you are set to enjoy cool comfort wherever you are in your house. These units are the best to have for all around cooling, and they can also be extremely energy efficient, if they are maintained properly. Because they are connected throughout your home (either through ductwork or through tubing), they are more complex, and getting them ready for the summer is more complicated too. Here are the steps you should take:
- Remove covers – You put a weather-proof cover on your outdoor air conditioner unit, and other elements, and though it may seem silly to include this as a first step, it is not unheard of that people start the AC without removing all the covers. This includes condenser covers, coil blankets, or lids. Removing all covers before turning the AC on avoids major repairs or replacements.
- Inspect panels – If the panel covering the electrical connections is missing, call for one of the qualified technicians from Quality Heating to inspect your unit. Don’t simply get a replacement panel. You need an expert to diagnose and repair any damage.
- Remove debris – Wash away any debris that has accumulated around the outdoor AC unit. Vegetation may have grown around it (we all know how hard it is to mow around AC units), and stones, leaves, twigs may have gathered there. This kind of debris hinders heat transfer and that lowers the cooling and the energy efficiency of the unit.
- Replace damaged insulation – Inspect the two refrigerant lines running from the outdoor unit to the indoor air handler. You should be able to find a small pipe and a larger pipe. If you notice any damage to the larger pipe, it can result in a loss of cooling and a loss of energy efficiency. Again, this is something you may want one of the experts at Quality Heating to deal with since minor damage is sometimes not immediately apparent.
- Inspect the indoor unit – The most important thing to do here is to replace your filter. A dirty or clogged filter can lower your unit’s energy efficiency by 5-15%. Replacing the filter is a proactive maintenance task you can perform no matter what kind of air conditioner you have.
Check the coil drain – You should check to make sure the line is in the proper place and has not been moved or broken. Inspect it carefully and test whether it will drain properly and in the appropriate location. You might feel more comfortable having one of the professionals from Quality Heating make this determination.
- Clean supply vents grills – The rationale here is the same as replacing the air filter. Dust and debris in the vents and vent grills diminishes your air conditioner’s cooling and energy efficiency. You can vacuum any dust or pet hair inside using the appropriate attachment.
Test it – Finally, you can turn on the AC to make sure there is cool airflow through all the indoor vents. If you notice that the airflow is weak or not particularly cool, you should immediately turn off your system and contact Quality Heating.
Window Air Conditioners/Portable Air Conditioners
The most important thing for window air conditioners is to make sure the window and window frame that you put your air conditioner in is secure and the side panels fit properly. For both window and portable AC units, cleaning the air filter increases cooling capacity and energy efficiency. Also, you should plug your air conditioner into a dedicated outlet and not into a power strip or extension cord to avoid causing a fire.