Summer seems a long ways off, but there's no reason why you shouldn't prepare your central A/C system right now. By prepping your A/C system during the late winter and early spring months, you'll save yourself the expense and aggravation of those last-minute repairs. Here are a few tips you can use to get your central A/C system ready for the first days of summer.
Change Your Air Filter
This is one of the simplest steps you can take to prepare your central A/C system, but it's also one of the most overlooked. Changing your air filter on a regular basis ensures that clogs and other blockages do not interfere with your A/C system's performance or efficiency. In addition, regular air filter changes can also improve your home's indoor air quality by keeping dust, pollen and other harmful allergens from circulating throughout the A/C system.
Most experts recommend changing your air filter at least once every 3 months. Others recommend air filter changes on a monthly basis for those who are concerned about their home's indoor air quality.
Remove Debris from the Outdoor Unit
Sticks and stones don't just break bones -- they can also block your central A/C system's outdoor cabinet from getting the airflow it needs to function properly. Tree branches, dead leaves, stray rocks and other assorted debris can collect within and around the outdoor cabinet. Too much debris and the condenser coil can suddenly has a hard time drawing air into the cabinet.
To keep your central A/C system running efficiently, you'll need to remove this debris from the outdoor cabinet. Not only should you dispose of this debris by hand, but it's also a good idea to give the condenser coil within the cabinet a good rinsing off. Just make sure to do this when temperatures are well above freezing.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil lies at the heart of your central A/C system. Without it, you'd be hard-pressed to find any cooling relief. The evaporator coil allows the refrigerant coursing through it to absorb the latent heat in the air that passes through the coil fins and release it outdoors. This heat transfer process relies on a clean evaporator coil -- a build-up of dust, grime or mildew can easily bring that process to a halt.
The fragile aluminum fins lining the evaporator coil make it a surprisingly delicate piece of equipment to clean, so you'll definitely want to use a gentle touch. Grab a soft-bristle brush and use mild detergent and water to gently scrub the coil. Don't forget to also clean the condensate drip tray located below the coil.
Check the Blower Fan and Motor
Tasked with drawing indoor air into the A/C system and pushing cool, conditioned air through the ducts, your blower fan has its work cut out for it. So it's no surprise that your blower fan and the motor that powers it could use some TLC every now and again. Here are some steps you and your HVAC technician can take to ensure the blower fan works flawlessly:
- Check for any signs of external damage, including any dents, dings or warping in the fan blade surface. Dented or warped fans can't move air as efficiently as their undamaged counterparts.
- Check for signs of rust or corrosion. If you see any rust spots, consider having your technician replace the fan or, if possible, strip away the surface rust without damaging the fan itself.
- Lubricate the blower fan motor as required by the A/C system manufacturer.
- If the blower fan relies on belts, make sure they're not cracked, warped or missing any grooves. Replace the belts as needed.
Have a Professional Check the Refrigerant
If the evaporator coil is the heart of your central A/C system, then the refrigerant is the lifeblood. Low refrigerant levels can prevent the heat transfer process from working effectively, reducing your A/C system's cooling performance. Low refrigerant levels can also cause a variety of problems for the rest of your central A/C system, including premature compressor failure.
Any attempt to check and recharge the refrigerant on your own could result in serious injury and damage to the A/C system itself. This is why you should always have your HVAC technician handle this task on your behalf. Your technician will have the right tools and the expertise to get the job done without any issues. For more information, contact a business such as A Bailey Plumbing.