As the temperatures start to rise, you’ll want to turn your air conditioner or cooling system on. But, before you flip that switch, there are some things you should do to make sure your unit is ready to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer.
When your air conditioner is in good repair and in top shape, it will work more efficiently, which means you’ll stay cool no matter how hot it gets outside. But, a well-maintained air conditioner can also help you save money. In many cases, it will use less energy, which means that your utility bills will be smaller. When your unit is working the way it should be, you may not have to run it as often, which can also lead to lower utility bills.
So, before you turn your unit on for the year, take some time to repair and maintain it. Here are some things you should do this spring.
Before You Turn it On
Visually Inspect the Unit
First, look at your air conditioner to find any obvious damage. Things like cracks, leaks, dents, frayed cords or other problems should be handled by a professional right away. These kinds of damages can lead to major issues and if they aren’t repaired quickly, can lead to even bigger problems.
Now is also a good time to clean the area around your unit. Use a damp cloth to wipe it down and then sweep the space around it. Make sure there aren’t boxes or other items too close to the unit, which can be a fire hazard.
Replace the Filter
Experts recommend that you change your filter every few months, or even more often than that if you have pets in your home. The filter is designed to trap dust, dirt, pollen and other things that would otherwise enter your system. When it is blocked, it inhibits the unit, making it less effective. So, replacing the filters will make sure your system works efficiently and can even help you reduce allergy symptoms.
Clean Your Vents
When you spring clean, don’t forget your vents! It’s so easy for dust to collect in the vent grills and even inside the ducts. If you can, unscrew and remove your vents and use a damp rag to wipe the grills clean. Then, use a vacuum with a hose and attachment to vacuum just inside the ducts before you replace the vents.
Clean the Outside Unit
If your air conditioner has an outside unit that sucks air into your system, that needs to be cleaned too. Start by clearing away sticks, leaves and other debris that may have gathered during the winter. Then, trim away overgrown bushes and plants so there is a wide, empty space all the way around the unit.
Then, wipe down the unit to make sure there isn’t any dirt on it. If you need to, you can use a garden hose to give it a good washing.
Change the Batteries in Your Thermostat
You probably don’t think to check the batteries in your thermostat, but without them, you won’t be able to control your air conditioner. Before you turn on the air conditioner check to make sure the batteries are working, or just replace them.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
Even if you don’t think there are any problems with your air conditioner, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected at least once a year. Contact a professional who can come to your home or office building and make sure all the technical aspects of your unit are in working order. There are many problems that you won’t be able to see and even some that are internal that should only be accessed by an expert.
Taking these steps before you turn your air conditioner on this year will ensure that it works well all summer. When you repair damages before they become bigger problems, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble.
Tips for Running Your Air Conditioner
As you begin to use your air conditioner, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep it working its best and make sure your home stays nice and cool.
Keep Changing those Filters
If you changed your filter at the beginning of the summer, you should change it again in about three to four months. Doing this will keep it running well and could even make it more efficient, which means your home will stay comfortable all summer.
Give it a Helping Hand
Your air conditioner does keep your home cool, but you can help by keeping windows and doors shut and using curtains to block direct sunlight, which can overheat your home and make it harder for your air conditioner to keep it cool.
Turn the Thermostat Down at Night
Avoid over working your air conditioner and cut costs by turning your thermostat down at night. In most areas, the temperatures dip after dark, so you won’t need to depend on your cooling system as much.
Adjust the Thermostat when You Leave
You can also turn the thermostat down, or even off, when you leave your home in the morning, and then adjust it again when you come home in the evening. This cuts down on its running time quite a bit and therefore keeps your unit in great condition and reduces your utility costs. Some thermostats allow you to program temperatures, which makes using this tip easy.
Check Window and Door Seals
Leaks in your window and door seals can inhibit the effectiveness of your air conditioner. Check to make sure they are all in good repair so that they don’t let cool air out or hot air in.
Your air conditioner may be one of the most important home appliances during the summer. It keeps you cool and comfortable, but it’s very important that you make sure it is prepared to work all season. Use these tips before you turn your cooling system on and while you use it this summer so you’ll stay cool, no matter how hot it gets.
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