Winter is already in full swing, but spring is just around the corner even though it might not seem so. Wise homeowners know that the transitional period between the two seasons is the ideal time to perform a routine air conditioner maintenance.
The cold weather can be very unforgiving to the air conditioning system with the frequent temperature drops and prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. If you want the transition from the heating to the cooling season to go smooth and without any major issues, inspecting your air conditioning system is a must.
In this article, we’ll give you a handy checklist to go through before you turn the thermostat down this spring.
See if the Outdoor Unit Panels are Secure
First of all, make sure the outdoor unit panels are securely closed. Strong winds during the winter are known to blow the panels off or at least loosen them. These panels serve to protect the wiring inside the unit and if anything is wrong with the panel, the wiring would be exposed to outside elements. This could cause a big problem for both you and the air conditioning system. If you find the panel is misaligned or missing, you should contact a licensed technician.
Remove Any Covers
If you used any coil blankets, condenser covers or other means to protect the outdoor unit during the winter, you should remove them before the spring. These covers are useful when protecting the outdoor unit from outside elements, but can also limit the transfer of heat. If you start the system with these covers in place, you could significantly strain and damage them, leading to expensive repairs or even the need to completely replace the outdoor unit.
Inspect the Pipe Insulations
The large copper pipe connected to the outdoor unit, also known as the suction line, supplies cool refrigerant to the outdoor unit’s compressor. If the insulation protecting the pipe is damaged, your air conditioning system could waste a lot of energy. Needless to say, this could also harm your AC system. The insulation can easily get damaged due to exposure to ice or rodents who find the insulation a great place to make a shelter from the winter. If you need to replace the insulation, do it before the cooling seasons starts.
Clear the Debris from the Outdoor Unit
Depending on where the outdoor unit is located, it might have collected a lot of debris like fallen branches and other trash accumulated in or around the coil. Since the coils are responsible for transferring heat, any debris interfering with it could impact the system’s performance.
Replace the Air Filters
The air filters should be replaced at least once every three months. If you haven’t replaced the filters in a while, now would be a great time to do so. The filter has likely a lot of accumulated dirt on it, which can hinder the AC unit’s performance and result in a higher cooling bill.
Clean the Vents
Both the return air grills and the supply vents should be cleaned before you power up the air conditioner. You should remove any debris stuck in there and use a vacuum to clean any dust or pet hair that might have accumulated there.
Do a Test Run
Before the hot days settle in, it’s a good idea to give the air conditioning system a test run to see if everything is working as it should. Check if the cool air starts coming out of the vents a few minutes after you start the system. If there’s no air coming out or it’s not cool, you should turn off the thermostat immediately to avoid any damage to the system.
If you skipped any of the steps on this list, you could go through it again and start over. If the problem persists, contact a technician to determine what’s causing the problem.