Check These Things Before You Turn on Your Air Conditioner

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Spring is coming, and with it comes thoughts of summer picnics and days at the beach. Yet in the heating and cooling industry, spring is the season when most people start switching from heat to air conditioning in preparation for the hot, humid Maryland summers. Before you switch the AC on for the first time this season, make sure your air conditioner is ready. Here are some things to check before you turn on your air conditioner this year.

Check the Outdoor Unit

Over the winter, the condenser, which is that outdoor part of your air conditioner, may get dirty. Dust, debris and even overgrown shrubs and grass can get in the way of the unit, impacting its function and efficiency. Before you turn on the air conditioning, go outside and take a look. Clear away any brush within an 18-inch radius, and wash off any visible debris by gently spraying the unit and coils with your hose. If you covered the air conditioner for winter, be sure you take the cover off before you turn it on.

Check the Filter

Go back inside the house and inspect the filter. You should have been changing the furnace filter throughout the winter, but make sure it is fresh and ready for the new demand of summer cooling. When replacing the filter, make sure there are no gaps allowing unfiltered air through your system.

Close Basement Vents

Your basement is likely going to stay fairly cool during the summer because it is underground. Consider closing the vents to the basement, so all of the cool air is sent to the upper floors of your home. Check with an HVAC contractor before doing this, though, because some systems may not run as efficiently as possible with vents closed.

Take a Test Run

Once everything looks like it is ready to go, turn on the air conditioner and take it for a test run. Set the thermostat low enough that the system will switch on and turn the fan to “auto.” Then, head outside and ensure that the fan on the condenser is spinning. Let the unit run for a while, listening for any unusual sounds. If you hear something strange, turn it off and contact your HVAC technician. Also, if you feel that the system is not cooling off very quickly, even though it appears to be running properly, you need to have a professional check the coolant levels.

Have a Full Tune-up

While you can check several things in your system on your own, only a qualified home comfort specialist can refill coolant, check for leaks and fine tune the system to ensure it is running as efficiently as possible. Scheduling an annual service check and tune-up during the spring will ensure that your system runs well all summer long. During the AC  tune-up and inspection, your contractor will check for small problems that need to be adjusted to avoid big problems later, while also fine tuning the system for optimal efficiency.

Spring is the best time for this tune-up because you can beat the summer rush. Contact Michael Bonsby HVAC & Plumbing today to schedule a tune-up of your system, and prepare your home for a cool, comfortable summer.

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