It’s getting warmer out there, which means it’s time to “unpack your HVAC” again. The best way to ensure that your air conditioner is in working order (and to prevent costly breakdowns during the year) is a pre-season maintenance. That makes the temperate springtime the best time for an inspection of your central cooling system. So without further ado, let’s get to the basic inspection and maintenance of your air conditioner.
Where to Start
Most of the work needed for a proper maintenance should be done by a licensed technician but there are a few things you can do yourself.
Change your air filter. We cannot stress this enough. The air filter is the simplest and most effective means of maintaining your central air system. Replacement filters are inexpensive, and the replacement process is simple. A clean filter keeps your indoor air clean and free of allergens, dust, pollen, and pollutants. You’ll also keep your ductwork clean (reducing how often you’ll need to clean your air ducts). A clean filter allows for easy airflow through the system. With lower backpressure, your HVAC system will run more efficiently. Replace the filter every 3-6 months for the best return on your effort!
A visual inspection will catch most problems. Climb into the attic and take a look at the ventilation ducts for any damage. Look at the outside condenser and make sure that the surrounding area (at least 3 feet) is clear of obstruction and that the condenser sustained no major damage during the winter. Look at the actual HVAC unit and check for pooled water, especially if you used a heat pump during the winter. Do the evaporator and condenser coils look dirty? Get them cleaned for improved efficiency during the year. All that dirt and grime will affect heat transfer and force your system to work harder.
Adjust your thermostat this year. Save yourself some money this year by giving your system a rest. A few degrees of discomfort on the thermostat will reduce strain on your system, prolong life, and reduce how much you spend on utilities throughout the season. It’ll be rough at first, but you’ll acclimate and get used to the new temperature pretty quickly.
Replace alarm batteries. Be sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms while inspecting your HVAC unit. You’re already getting ready for summer so now is a great time to double check those alarms. The earlier you receive warning of a fire or dangerous CO, the more likely you are to escape safely. Replace any dead batteries or non-functioning units immediately. You might also consider upgrading your smoke and CO alarm system to an interconnected network, which triggers all alarms in the home regardless of where the alert is detected. Again, the sooner you know, the higher your chances of survival!
While those are all simple yet beneficial services you can perform yourself, there are a number of systems which require a trained technician that are just as important. So if you’re worried that hiring a technician means they’ll just be replacing the filter and giving you a list of chores to do, think again! A professional inspection and maintenance of your system should always include:
- Part Lubrication – For forced air systems, lubrication of blower fan bearings and all moving parts is essential to proper operation.
- Thermostat Calibration – Making sure that your system is set to turn on and regulate temperature properly is more complicated with advanced systems. A professional service will make sure that your thermostat is working properly.
- Electrical system testing – Ensuring that all electrical connections are secure and working properly is paramount for safety. Electrical fires account for the majority of home fires, since electrical wiring is hidden behind walls and can become a problem secretly without regular inspections.
- Condensate drain inspections – The drain serves two purposes: It removes water from your system and prevents it from dripping into your home where it can cause damage. A quick inspection to make sure the drain is clear is important for proper operation during the year.
So as we get ready for the oncoming heat waves that we know will be here this summer, take the time to schedule maintenance before you need your AC system. Your pocketbook will thank you and you’ll be glad you did when your friends are complaining about broken down air conditioners.
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!