Living in Central Florida means that your central air conditioner or heat pump runs on an almost daily basis throughout the year. However, the triple-digit temperatures of summer creates an extreme demand on its operation. Now is the time for a check-up to make sure your AC is ready keep you cool instead of breaking down during the first intense heat wave of the season. A spring prep also optimizes your unit to perform at higher efficiency.
Here’s what we at Air & Aero Heating and Cooling recommend to get you and your AC through the scorching summer months.
Do a visual check of your outdoor unit and the area around it. Look for rust and corrosion. Ensure that the unit is clean and free of blockage by plant debris or other obstructions. Also look for plants growing within two feet of the unit and remove any loose items that could grow inside the grate.
This unit is a good example of one that could use a homeowners touch. Clean off the rust, clear away the plants climbing up the wall, and remove the weeds growing around the base. Does someone else cut your lawn? Make sure none of the cables got clipped and have exposed wires, or that a piece of yard debris pierced the grate.
Check the condensate (drain) line for clogs. The drain is responsible for removing excess moisture. If the drain is clogged or there’s too much water for it to empty on its own, most air conditioners have a safety setting that will keep it from running until the drain is emptied. If your unit has a condensate pan, pull it out and dump any standing water. Be sure the ground under the drain line pipe is low enough to prevent the pipe from being submerged during the minor flooding of summer storms. Not only can a plugged drain or pipe cause water damage, it can also affect the humidity levels in your home.
Clean the main indoor unit. Dust or vacuum the unit with the vacuum cleaner’s light brush attachment. Accumulated dust and grime can create a fire hazard and ignite while the AC is running.
Replace the air filter. This should be done on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the year. But in years when pollen is especially heavy, the filter may need to be replaced ahead of schedule in the spring.
Call the experts! Being proactive with spring AC maintenance is important, but there is only so much the typical homeowner can do. A pre-season inspection by a licensed air conditioning contractor can identify problems that need attention so they don’t become the reason for an emergency call later.
A professional air conditioning cleaning includes clearing out residue, dust, and buildup from the condenser coils, evaporator and filters.
Condenser coils hold and release heat. If the airflow is blocked or inhibited, they will heat up and work inefficiently, causing stress on the unit. They need to be cleaned and checked every year – even if you’re not experiencing problems. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool the home, so it must operate longer, which leads to higher energy bills. Longer operating times also reduce the system’s life and increase the amount of energy needed to operate.
A special note to dog owners: pay close attention to the condition of your coils. They can be destroyed by long-term urination on the same spot on the AC.
Other pre-season check-up inspection points include:
- Refrigerant level – if the level is low, refrigerant (FreonTM) will be added. A very low level will prompt a check for leaks.
- Checking the system controls and thermostat. This will insure that the starting cycle is working properly so the unit keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy (and money) when you are away.
- Tightening the electrical connections and lubricating all HVAC moving parts. Faulty electrical connections and lack of adequate lubrication can reduce the life of the unit components. An improperly operating system can also cost you in the increased amount of electricity you use.
- Making sure the condensate drain is working properly. Even if you have already checked it yourself, this is typically included in the inspection service.
- Making sure blower components are properly adjusted. ENERGY STAR® guidelines indicate that airflow problems can reduce system efficiencies by up to 15 percent.
Ensuring a cool, comfortable summer free of unpleasant surprises from your Central Florida air conditioning system is possible. Call Air & Aero Heating and Cooling today at 407-710-7168 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a pre-season checkup. We will also answer your questions about how to improve energy efficiency and, if you’re ready, the advantages of installing a new, more energy-efficient model.
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Certified Air Conditioning Contractor