Keeping your home cool during summer is one of the biggest energy expenses you’ll make during the year. However, you don’t have to make the hard choice between a high energy bill or an uncomfortably warm house. Instead, you can prepare your AC for summer. This will maximize its energy efficiency while keeping your bill reasonably low. It’s a win-win! Here at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical, we have been advising homeowners throughout Glendale, AZ, on how to keep their air conditioners maintained for over 30 years.
While it’s a great idea to schedule professional AC maintenance in spring, there are also some steps you can take on your own to improve your system’s performance. Take a look at our list of 9 ways you can prepare your AC for summer:
1. Change the Air Filter
This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to take care of your air conditioner. Inside every AC unit is a disposal mesh filter. The filter is designed to catch dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris before it enters the AC’s internal components and damages them. However, the filter will become clogged over time which reduces how effective it is. That’s why we recommend changing your air filter every three to six months. If you have pets or live in a high pollen area, we suggest changing it every three months. Almost every hardware store carries air filters, so they’re easy to get and a very affordable way to care for your AC unit.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, investing in one can seriously reduce your monthly cooling bill. This kind of thermostat can be set on a schedule, so your AC does not work as hard during the day when you’re not at home. Relaxing your AC usage for even a couple of hours each day will have a noticeable impact on your bill and help extend the lifespan of your unit. Thermostats can be tricky to install on your own, but a trusted technician like the ones from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical can do it in a jiffy.
3. Freshen the Thermostat Batteries
If you already have a programmable thermostat installed, be sure to freshen up the batteries twice a year. Low or dead batteries will break the line of communication between your thermostat and AC. This means your AC won’t know what temperature you want in your home, and can even trick you into thinking the unit is broken when it’s in perfect working order.
4. Clean Up Debris Near Outside Unit
Unlike your furnace, your air conditioner has an external unit. Typically this unit is located in your backyard, which makes it susceptible to collecting debris from nearby dead grass and leaves. You may also have plants or tall glass blocking the unit. This is problematic for several reasons since it can block the air intake and even make its way into the components. This can cause your AC to work harder than usual, which leads to higher utility bills and greater wear and tear on components. We recommend cleaning up the debris from around the unit at least once a month and keeping the grass cut short.
5. Clean Coils on Outside Unit
It’s common for the external AC unit to become caked in mud and other debris during the harsh winter months. This gunk can enter the unit and cake the coils, which causes the unit to operate sluggishly. You can clean down the unit by disconnecting the power and hosing it down with a garden hose. If the unit is extremely dirty, you may have to rent a commercial AC cleaner from your local hardware store to get the job done.
6. Clean the AC Fins
These fins aren’t like the flippers on a fish; instead, they’re the layers of ridges that surround the external wall of your cooling system. They often get caked in grime during the year, which can reduce the unit’s cooling capacity. If the fins are still dirty after hosing down the unit, you can break out a toothbrush to clean off the debris. Just be careful since the fins are fairly delicate and become warped or damaged by heavy scrubbing. If you do find that the fins are bent, you can straighten them out with a tool from the hardware store.
7. Inspect the Concrete Slab
Your AC is mounted to a solid concrete slab to keep it steady and raised above the ground. If the slab was built many years or constructed improperly in the first place, it may begin to sink or lilt to one side. This is a problem because the slab needs to create an uneven surface. Otherwise, it impacts how well your AC functions. If you’re comfortable with a DIY remodeling project, you can pry up the slab and add gravel beneath it until it sits evenly. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable doing this task yourself; that’s what our technicians are here for!
8. Clean the Condensation Lines
Producing cold air for your home generates a lot of condensation, and that moisture needs to be carried away from the unit. This is done via a pipe that can get clogged, which could cause all of that moist air to redirect back into the unit itself or into your home. This can be extremely messy, leading to leaks and puddles. It can also cause serious damage to your air conditioner in a relatively short time frame. For these reasons, it’s essential to locate your AC’s condensation pipe and clean it thoroughly before you run it for the first time during summer.
9. Inspect Ductwork for Air Leaks
Cool air is transported into your home from the external unit via a system of ducts. Most of these ducts are hidden behind the walls, so they’re out of sight and out of mind, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. Over time, it’s common for ducts to develop leaks. This leads to uneven air temperatures throughout your home. In other words, if you notice some areas of your house are cold while others are unusually warm, you might have a duct leak on your hands. Unfortunately, duct leaks also make your cooling system work much harder to reach your desired temperature. You can inspect your ductwork for air leaks by looking for holes in the ductwork and disconnected joints. We can also inspect your ductwork during a routine AC maintenance appointment if you wish!
Top-Notch AC Services in Glendale
The last step of preparing your AC for summer is scheduling a cooling tune-up with the pros at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical. We’ll inspect your system using state-of-the-art equipment and quickly address any potential problems before they turn into full-blown disasters. We’re also pleased to offer top-notch installation and replacement services for your air conditioner and heater. Not only that, but our talented team includes plumbers and electricians for all of your home services needs! When the time comes for AC service in Glendale, call Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical today!