Prepare Your AC Unit Before the Heat Rolls In
Spring can be a hectic time for a Raleigh homeowner, but the annual air conditioner checkup should never be left out of the endless to-do list of maintenance chores of the responsible homeowner. Unfortunately, most of us wait until the first heat wave to crank the old air conditioning unit, and more often than not, an unpleasant surprise awaits those who procrastinate.
Local air conditioning contractors are busy during the hottest months, so to get in on the most convenient service and best air conditioning repair discounts, time your service call between March and May.
To schedule your AC maintenance today – call (919) 302-8956.
Central Air Conditioner Maintenance Check List
A good cleaning can help your air conditioner run more efficiently, saving you substantial money, and even prevent a serious breakdown from happening when you need your system the most. The best part is you can clean your air conditioner yourself if you have even mild technical skills. Let’s take a look at how.
- Physically inspect the surroundings of the air conditioning unit. Cut down shrubs and weeds, along with other plants that have sprung up around the unit. This essential step ensures that the unit will manage to suck in sufficient amounts of outside air to cool and blow inside the house.
- Get rid of any debris or dirt. As your system operates, the fan sucks air through the fins, which pulls in dirt, dust, grass, leaves, and other debris along with it. This debris can get stuck in the fins of your condenser coil, which decreases airflow and energy efficiency while simultaneously increasing the chances of a breakdown. Scrub the debris off your condenser coil, both inside and out, and use a fin comb to straighten out any bent or dented fins.
- Lubricate your unit & check for leaks. An improperly lubricated system will both be extremely noisy and use a lot more energy to overcome the friction that will have developed. With your system still disconnected from electricity, check your electric motor and compressor and add a few drops of non-penetrating oil for electric motors to the oil port if they have one (if they don’t, then you have sealed units and you don’t have to worry about it). Use this opportunity to also check for any leaking fluids, such as a dark drop near the bottom of the compressor case or pad, which is usually a sign of an oil or refrigerant leak. If you find one of these, call a professional immediately.
- Check your evaporator coil’s condensation drain tube. Make sure it hasn’t been clogged with sludge or algae, particularly at the drain port. If your drain pipe is slow or clogged, pour a solution of 1 part bleach to 16 parts water down the tube to do away with the clog.
- Clean your evaporator coil. Gaining access to the evaporator coil in your system isn’t always easy. If you can, use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean the bottom side of your coil’s fins. It’s not uncommon to not be able to do this, however, so if you can’t, simply have a professional access it and clean it every few years or so to maintain peak efficiency. Keeping your system clean can help you delay this even longer. Turning off your furnace for the summer and vacuuming out the blower cabinet are both good practices to follow to keep your coil clean.
- Check the air filter, and change it if necessary. Some air filters may need to be replaced every year, whereas permanent air filters only require annual cleaning for optimal performance. In either case, dirty filters can create a multitude of problems for an air conditioner; the unit’s energy usage will increase, while the evaporator may even ice over when a filter is allowed to accumulate too much dirt. In addition to making sure the filter is changed or cleaned, go around the unit, picking out obstructions such as leaves or debris that may be blocking parts.
- Check the Freon levels. If the Freon levels are low in the air conditioner, a leak is probably present and a Freon recharge might be necessary to compensate the lost Freon. Low Freon levels significantly decrease the life of the compressor, the key component in any a/c unit, and overheating is likely.
- Tighten screws. A yearly air conditioning maintenance routine also includes checking that all screws are tightly fastened.
- Check air conditioner thermostat operation. While this may sound obvious, you should also double check that the A/C thermostat is set on “cooling” mode, and the temperature is well below room temperature to automatically turn on the air conditioning unit.
Safe Air Conditioning Maintenance
If you encounter a problem during the air conditioner test run and you have a hunch of what may be causing the malfunction, don’t fail to follow basic safety rules that apply to any home maintenance jobs. Cut off power to the a/c unit first, and never just hose down a unit; you will run the risk of electrocution.
If you run into problems that require professional air conditioning repair service, as an early bird you are likely to get the fastest and most attentive care from a local heating and air company.
Maximize the Life of Your AC Unit
Routine air conditioning maintenance is the most economical solution to guarantee cool air blowing through your house during the summer months. If it is time to install a brand new unit, make sure to look into energy standards and tax incentives offered to homeowners who opt for environmentally friendly appliances.
Schedule Annual Maintenance with R & S Mechanical
Annual maintenance is an important step for any homeowner to preserve the life of your HVAC system, so it is strongly advised you let a professional handle this process for you. At R & S Mechanical, our goal is to make sure you receive the best quality care and service in order to obtain your complete satisfaction.
Our repairs are all performed by highly-trained technicians who are NATE and YORK certified, and we back up all our services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee to give you the confidence that your job will be done right, or we’ll make it right.
Prepare your air conditioner for the summer heat! Call R & S Mechanical today at (919) 302-8956 to schedule a spring maintenance service.