With the holidays just behind us, it may be a little early for some people to think summer. However, it is never too early to prepare your air conditioning unit for the blistering summer days ahead of us in Georgia. Believe it or not, those days are just around the corner. Here are tips to prepare your A/C and home for the summer months.
Clean or Replace the Filters
This is one of the easiest and possibly one of the most important steps to take when preparing your A/C for the summer. Clean or replace your furnace or air-handler filters twice a year or whenever they look clogged with dust. If you don’t, air flow will be restricted, reducing efficiency. Having a dirty air filter will also recirculate dust back into your home.
Change the Fan Directions
With warmer temperatures coming our way, you will no longer want to have the fans pushing air up. Rather, you will want them to push the air down. During the winter, fans are run clockwise to push the heat back down into the room. During the summer you will want your fans rotating counterclockwise to promote cooler air movement.
While you are switching the rotation of your fan, consider dusting and cleaning them. More than likely, your fans collected a considerable amount of dust. One trick to prevent dust from getting everywhere is to use an old pillowcase to clean the ceiling fan blades, which allows you to collect the dust inside the pillowcase. (Then throw in your washing machine!)
Clean the Air Conditioner Condenser Coils
A central air conditioner’s condenser unit (typically located outdoors) is like a large fan in a metal box with sides that look like grills. It is protected through the winter by a condenser cover or tarp to prevent accumulation of debris inside it. Otherwise, it is likely to contain leaves, yard debris, and dirt. You will need to clean it out if this is the case.
To clean the coils, remove the side and top panels or protective grills from the condenser unit, using a screwdriver or a nut driver, depending upon the fasteners on your unit. For safety reasons, please be sure power to the unit is turned off before you open the condenser!
Using a refrigerator coil brush or a soft brush on a vacuum, gently clean the coils from the outside of the unit. Be careful not to bend the delicate fins or damage the coils. If you bend the fins, you can straighten them with a “fin comb” made for this purpose. After cleaning from the outside, vacuum the coils from the inside. If you would feel more comfortable consulting a professional regarding cleaning your coils, please let us know!
Inspect your Roof
With a pair of binoculars, look at your roof from across the street. You’re looking for curling, cracked, or missing shingles. Also look out for damaged metal flashing around the chimney, pipes, and skylights. This will help prevent any cool air from leaving your home.
Prep Your Windows
Caulk any gaps in the framing to ensure that there is no cool air escaping your home. Also, while you are at it, give them a clean as well. More than likely they have gotten a little dirt from winter weather. A quick tip for cleaning: Fill up two buckets: one with 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia, and 1 gallon of hot water; the other with warm water. Wash windows with the vinegar-ammonia solution first, then with water only. Dry with a squeegee.
Test your Unit
Turn the power to the condenser back on by doing the following:
First, turn the thermostat in your home to OFF. Then turn on the power at both the disconnect box and at the main panel. Last, switch the thermostat to COOL.
Your A/C unit should turn on right away and cool your home. If your unit does not seem to be working properly or you would just like to get a general check up before using it this summer, contact the team of Russell Heating and Air and we will get you scheduled for service before the heat arrives!