Photo by CC user Piotrus on wikimedia commons
Winter’s icy grip has begun to weaken, meaning Summer’s hot embrace is on its
way. It’s never too early to get your AC ready for the hot months and, truth be told,
it’s not difficult to make sure your air conditioning system is good to go before you
need it. However, too many people put it off or don’t even think about it until the
temperatures shoot through the ceiling. Take these steps ahead of time so you can
keep your cool.
See if It Turns On
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the first step should always be to check for
basic functionality. Turn your thermostat to “Cool” and set it low enough that the AC
should kick into action. If it doesn’t turn on or if it trips the breaker when it
activates, you may have an issue that requires service. Your thermostat could be
defective or the air conditioner could be malfunctioning.
Clean or Replace Filters
This is the easiest part of AC maintenance, so there’s no excuse for
neglecting it. Your unit’s filter is on the intake. You might have to remove a grill to
get to it, depending on exactly how your setup is designed, but this can typically be
achieved easily with the removal of a handful of screws. Filters should be replaced
according to the instructions on the filter packs.
There are also reusable filters available that can be cleaned with water hoses,
dried, then reinstalled. Pay attention to the airflow direction indicators on the filter
you put in. Usually they will be arrows that tell you which way to put in the filter.
Make sure the arrows are pointing in the direction air will move (i.e., toward the
Declutter Your AC
Home air-conditioning units consist of two halves. One part is inside, usually in a closet or the basement or some
other place that’s out of the way. This is where air is pulled in from the inside,
cooled, then pumped throughout your house. Make sure that there are no
obstructions that could block the intake and keep your AC from working
The second half of your air conditioner is outside. It looks like a big box with
grills all around tubes running out of it toward the house. Clear away any debris
from around this unit. If trees, shrubs, or other greenery are nearby, they may also
need to be trimmed back. You usually want a minimum of 10 feet of empty space on
all sides of the exterior unit.
Check Coolant Lines
Visually inspect the tubes running to the external unit for signs of leaking
coolant. If your system is starved for coolant, it could cause icing, poor cooling, and
damage to internal components. Check for kinked, bent, or broken lines that would
need replacing. Look for telltale indicators of coolant loss such as discoloration or
holes in insulation or spill marks on concrete under the lines. If you see anything
that could be a sign of a leak, call a professional for air conditioning service right
Keep It Cool
Start the year off right by checking some basics, so your AC will keep you comfy
when the mercury starts to go up. Time flies by; don’t procrastinate, especially when
it’s so easy to be prepared.