You’ve enjoyed another summer and the warmth and fun that comes with it. As you start getting your home ready for the cooler fall, your air conditioning needs a little attention too. Here are some easy tips for the final maintenance of the season.
Catch Up on Routine Maintenance
If you have yet to get your professional maintenance for the year, now is a great time to do it. Routine professional maintenance keeps your manufacturer’s warranty valid and improves your system’s efficiency. It also ensures that your system is better prepared to start the season next year, giving you time to plan for repairs.
Clear Debris From Around Your Condensing Unit
Your outside condensing unit is responsible for venting heat absorbed inside while cooling the air. In order to accomplish this, it must draw air in through the condensing coil and then vent it out the top.
Anything around your unit that prevents air from flowing correctly inhibits this heat transfer and reduces your system’s efficiency. Commonly, yard debris may inhibit proper airflow, including weeds, grass, shrubs, and bushes. Take the time to clear all of this away so that you’re ahead of the game next spring.
Check For Any Storm Damage
Storms are a part of life around Athens, whether it’s a normal summer thunderstorm or tropical systems moving inland. Regardless of their sources, these storms can do incredible damage to an air conditioner.
Start by looking for physical damage to the condensing unit, including substantial cracks or dents to the housing. These indicate likely damage to the internal components of the system. Also, take note of any indication that water flooded around the unit, which can wreak havoc on the electrical components.
If your system did sustain damage due to a storm, your homeowner’s insurance may cover it. However, ignoring the damage and leaving it for next year may create a problem in obtaining that coverage.
Replace Your Air Filter
Your air filter is critical to the effective operation of your air conditioner. As it gets dirty, it doesn’t allow to pass air properly. This increases your utility costs and causes your AC to suffer from operational strain.
If you have not done so recently, plan to change your filter. Most 1-inch models need a replacement about once every three months. If you have a thicker filter, it may not need to replace it quite as frequently. However, poor air quality may need more frequent attention.
Check Your Air Volume
Check the amount of air coming from your vents as your system runs. Does it seem like the same amount of air you’re used to, or does it seem like less?
Noticeably lower air volume indicates an airflow restriction in the system. This could be related to a dirty air filter or circulating fan, but it may also indicate a mechanical malfunction. Now is a great time to solve this issue before you depend on heat to stay warm over the winter.
Check Your System’s Temperature
While checking your air volume, also check the temperature of the air coming from your vents. The air coming from the vents should be at least 15 degrees cooler than the room temperature while your AC is running.
To check, grab a meat thermometer, and let it sit in the room with a return vent. After about 10 minutes, observe the temperature reading, and then turn on your system.
Once the system is cycling, and you can feel cold air, carefully put the probe into the vent. Once it has had a minute or two to acclimate, observe the reading again. If it is less than 15 degrees, consider having your system serviced to look for efficiency problems.
Note New or Unusual Noises
Noises give you a clue as to what is happening within your system. While not all noises indicate a major problem, they do indicate something isn’t quite right.
Pay particular attention to any new or loud noises, such as screeching, banging, rattling, or buzzing. These all indicate problems you’ll want to solve before depending on the system next year.
Consider having a technician identify the problem and then start planning when you’ll fix it. If your system is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider a new unit next summer. Finding out now gives you several months to plan for the expense and to get it installed before the heat becomes unbearable.
Clockwork Heating and Air Conditioning have been the trusted experts for air conditioning service around Athens since 1985. Our NATE-certified technicians provide heating and AC installation, maintenance, and service along with indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your air conditioning service with one of our expert technicians today.