It seems like you just got to really enjoy the summer and the warm weather, and now fall is rapidly approaching again. As you wrap up the season, you’re certainly working on preparing your home for the coming winter. Here are some critical maintenance tips to ensure your system is ready to wind down the season.
Clear Around Your Condensing Unit
The condensing unit transfers heat the refrigerant absorbed from inside to the air outside by drawing air in from around it. It is common for debris to collect around the condensing unit and inhibit airflow into the system.
Clear out any grass or weeds that have grown up, along with any clippings that may have gotten caught. Additionally, trim back any brush, branches, or shrubs to give at least a 12-inch clearance around the unit.
Check for Storm Damage
Storms commonly cause some minor cosmetic damage to the condensing unit housing. However, what you want to look for is more significant damage that indicates possible internal problems.
First, inspect the housing for major dents or cracks. These likely indicate a significant enough impact to cause the damage, which likely has jarred the components inside.
While you’re inspecting your unit, look at the fins on the condensing coil if you can see them without disassembling anything. Flying debris can damage these fins, causing them to bend and causing an airflow restriction.
Change Your Filter
Your system must circulate air inside, regardless of whether you’re using your air conditioner or your heating. If your air filter is too dirty, the system cannot draw enough air through it. Plan to change it if you haven’t changed your filter recently.
The average 1-inch filter needs replacing about every 90 days. If it’s been changed recently, pull it out and inspect it to make sure it can still pass air. Consider vacuuming off the intake side, which is the dirty side, to help extend its useful life.
Test the System’s Temperature
You should check the temperature of the air coming from your vents occasionally. Initially, you can simply feel the temperature with your bare hand or foot. If the air doesn’t feel cold, then you may want to go to a more accurate method of checking.
The air coming from your vents should be between 15 and 20 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature. It is easy enough to check this with a meat thermometer. Start by allowing the thermometer to acclimate to the air temperature and record it.
Next, carefully insert the probe end into an output vent and give it a minute or two to acclimate. Then record the temperature and confirm it is at least 15 degrees different. A smaller differential likely indicates either low refrigerant or a dirty evaporator coil.
Check Your Air Output
In addition to the temperature, be sure to check the amount of air output. Simply use your bare hand or foot to feel the air coming out. You should feel significant air movement while your system runs.
If the air movement is barely perceptible, you likely have an airflow restriction of some form. Something simple like a dirty air filter could be the cause. It may also be a little more involved, like a dirty circulating fan or evaporator coil.
Whatever the underlying cause, you’ll want to find the problem and resolve it quickly. This will not only affect your AC through the rest of the season but also the efficiency of your heating.
Get Your Maintenance Up-to-Date
Your system requires routine maintenance to continue functioning well. If you skipped the maintenance in the spring, now is a great time to ensure your system continues operating efficiently. You also want to make sure you keep your manufacture’s warranty valid, which often requires maintenance.
Maintenance now will ensure better efficiency for the remainder of the hot weather. Additionally, it will also uncover any minor problems that could lead to major repairs later if left unresolved.
A major problem with HVAC repairs is they are often a surprise, leaving you stressed about the cost. Finding out now gives you some extra time to plan for the repair before depending on your system next summer.
People around Spring have trusted North Point Air Conditioning & Heating to keep their families safe from extreme temperatures since 1977. Our customers depend on our expert technicians for heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repair. Call to schedule your routine air conditioning maintenance with one of the area’s most talented technicians today.