Summer is almost here! And, even here Colorado, that means warmer temperatures and an increase in the usage demand of your home or business’ air conditioning system! If you haven’t used your AC in the last few months, then please follow these hints and tips before you start it up this Spring. Doing so can save you quite a few headaches (and potentially quite a few dollars as well)! And, if these hints and tips seem too technical to you, then please do not hesitate to contact the air conditioning experts here at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric!
Step 1: Always Check and Change Your Air Filters
One of the most important pre-season tips we can give you is to make sure that your air filters are changed/cleaned when necessary. These filters help keep the air you circulate through your home free of debris, and they also help make sure that your air conditioning system does not get clogged or ruined by stray dust and dander. To check/change your filters, just follow the following steps:
- Find the Filter(s)
Obviously you should find the filter(s) in your system before you can do anything else about them. Most of the time, air filters for air conditioning systems can be found at the return vent closest to your air handler.
- Change Disposable Filters
If your filter is of the disposable type, simply remove it and throw it away. But, before you toss the old filter, write down the dimensions found on the filter housing itself. These dimensions will help you find the exact match filter at your local hardware store. Also, pay attention to the arrows on your filters. These arrows are there to help you see which direction to place your new filter. The arrows always point in the direction of airflow through the system.
- Clean Reusable Filters
If your filter is of the reusable variety, then simply remove it and run it under clean water until the color of the discharged water is as clear as the water coming into the filter. Once the filter is clean and has dried for about 3 hours, simply put it back in your system and you’re done!
Step 2: Check Coils
There are two coils in every air conditioning system: the evaporative coil and the condensing coil. Each coil does a different job in the system.
The Evaporative Coil
The evaporative coil’s job is to turn low-pressure liquid refrigerant to a gaseous form by passing outside air over itself. This is the primary coil on the cooling side of your air conditioning system. These coils are almost always located right next to the air handler and should only be cleaned by a professional.
The Condensing Coil
This coil is always located outside. Its primary function is to take the gaseous refrigerant provided by the evaporative coil and to help transform it back into a low-pressure liquid. This works by forcing outside air over the coil to help cool the refrigerant. Then the compressor itself takes said refrigerant and finishes the job of transforming it back to a liquid before it starts the cycle all over again. To clean a condensing coil, simply turn the power off to the system and run hose water over the entire unit until it comes off clean.
Step 3: Check the Fan Blades and Belts
There are a couple of different fans on your home or business’ HVAC system. One fan moves air throughout your home and is located at the air handler. The other fan is the one we talked about in the coil cleaning step of the process (see above paragraph).
Each of these fans needs to be checked for balance and be cleaned. To clean the condenser fan, just run water over it while power is turned off to the unit. To clean the air handler fan, simply turn the power off to the unit and wipe the fan blades down with a damp towel or cloth.
Checking for balance is relatively simple. Just listen to the fan in operation. If it makes any strange noises or if it looks like it has a significant wobble, then the fan is out of balance. Never try to balance a fan yourself, always leave it to the professionals here at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric.
To check the fan belts (if your fans are belt driven, that is), just turn off power to the system and run your fingers along the inside of the belts. If there is any fraying or the belts feel a little too loose, then simply replace them with belts of the exact same size and width.
Step 4: Check Refrigerant Levels
This step should always be performed by an air conditioning service technician, and no one else. Never attempt to check refrigerant levels on your own. Checking levels requires specialized gauges and knowledge. It is also very dangerous for you and potentially for the environment.
When a professional HVAC service technician checks refrigerant levels, they attach special gauges to the refrigerant lines. If they find that the balance of gaseous and liquid refrigerant is too high or low, then they will add/subtract refrigerant as necessary.
REMEMBER: Never attempt to check or fix refrigerant levels on your own. Always leave it to a professional!
Step 5: Program Your Thermostat for Summer
After you have made sure that your air conditioning system is up to snuff, then it is time to finally program your thermostat for summer conditions. Here at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric, we recommend the following settings for your average Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM work day and schedule:
Too Much To Handle? Call Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric Instead
Does all this sound too technical and complicated for you? Don’t fret! We can help! Simply give us here at Brothers Plumbing, Heating, and Electric a call today and we’ll make sure that your pre-season air conditioning start-up goes as smoothly as humanly possible. So, don’t hesitate! Give us a call today!