Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer is important for keeping it in top shape ... photo by CC user Piotrus on wikimedia commons

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.