There is a sharp contrast between how we use our AC systems in summer and winter. It’s vital to get your air conditioning system ready for the season ahead to ensure that you’re getting the best performance and efficiency. There are two main areas that need attention, your indoor and outdoor equipment. Let’s take a closer look at these in more detail and break down the most important considerations for each one.
5 Common AC Terms
Before we get started let’s take a look at five common AC terms that will help you to understand your system a little better.
● Air Conditioning: This is the process of controlling your temperature and humidity levels and the removal of moisture in your home by condensation.
● The Compressor: This is a component in your AC system that is used to change the refrigerant from low to high pressure.
● The Condenser: This is a component that acts like a radiator, it gives off heat as the refrigerant is turned from a gas back into a liquid.
● The Evaporator: This is a component where the liquid refrigerant is changed into a gas as it absorbs the ambient heat present in the air.
● The Filter: This is a device that can be used with a drier or in a separate unit to prevent foreign material from entering the refrigerant.
Indoor Equipment Checks
When you first look at your AC system, turn the thermostat to the off position and have the temperature turned up to 80 degrees. Once you’ve done this, follow the next steps in order to evaluate your equipment.
● Check the Thermostat: Is the thermostat out of date? Installing a newer smart or programmable unit could save you money.
● Check the Ductwork: Are there any worn sections of ductwork that need repair? Any cracks or leaks will lead to a loss in cooling performance.
● Check the Air Vents: A good airflow is vital for delivering the treated air throughout the home, so ensure that your air vents are clear.
● The Drain Line: There will be a drain by your indoor cooling coil to remove condensate. Flush it annually with a cup of chlorine bleach and rinse with a gallon of clean water and get it cleaned with an annual service. This will help to keep the drain clear and avoid potential flooding issues.
● Change the Air Filter: The air filter needs changing every three months, and it’s a good idea to do this at the start of each cooling or heating season.
● Check the Circuits: Make sure that all the electrical connections are on.
● Check the Power: Finally, make sure that your AC/Furnace is receiving power.
Outdoor Equipment Checks
Now the indoor equipment is ready; you can move on to the outdoor equipment.
● Check the Outdoor Condenser Unit: Take a look at the unit and check that there are no blockages in and around the equipment. Clear away branches, vines, and debris that will affect your performance.
● Check the Refrigerant Lines: The refrigerant lines need to be insulated to improve efficiency, and there should be no leaks. If you find a problem, contact a local HVAC professional to get the problem fixed.
● Check for Worn Wiring: Make sure that there is no wear on any outdoor electrical wiring and if you see any exposed lines call out a professional.
Now your AC system should be ready for the season ahead, if you’re unsure about any of these steps call on a professional HVAC company for expert assistance. Also, it’s important to realize that like any complex piece of equipment your AC system has a finite lifespan and as it ages, it will be less efficient. Even an AC system that is ten years old could be costing you 20%-40% more in energy costs alone.