Summertime in Anoka, MN, and the surrounding neighborhoods can get fairly hot. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a 100-degree heatwave with a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. There are several things that can go wrong, from a refrigerant leak to the unit not blowing cool air. To make sure your AC unit can handle the upcoming high temperatures, here are things you’ll want to do.
Replace Your Filters
Your air conditioner’s filter collects the dust and debris that gets sucked in by the incoming air from the outside. Over time, the particle build up in this filter can affect airflow and the AC’s ability to run efficiently. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you should change your AC’s filters at least every two months to keep the machine running at an optimal level. If you just recently replaced your AC’s filter, you can also just wash and dry it. Take the filter out, and soak it in warm water and soap. Let it air dry before reattaching it.
Clean the Condensate Line
Typically made of PVC or something metallic, condensate lines are directly connected to the HVAC system and lead to the exterior portion of the unit. Condensate lines are responsible for funneling condensation away from the air conditioner. If it becomes clogged, the line won’t be able to do its job of expelling condensation efficiently. As a result, it can back up into the air conditioner and impact other parts. In some cases, the condensate may also leak out into your home, resulting in a messy, expensive problem.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Many homeowners with air conditioners already have a programmable thermostat installed. But if you don’t have one yet, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. It can lower your monthly utility bills. With a programmable thermostat, your AC shuts down after the predetermined indoor temperature is reached or when you’re away for work or groceries.
Clean the Condenser Coils
During the winter months, your AC unit’s exterior portion collects particles, including dust, yard debris, and mud, especially if you don’t cover it up. All of that material can cause blockage, which results in subpar AC performance. If your AC’s condenser coils are only lightly stained, simply unplug the unit from its power source, and spray down the exterior portion of it with a water hose. For heavily soiled units, you may need to purchase a commercial-grade cleaning solution from your local hardware store.
Scrub the Fins
Your AC unit’s condenser fins help funnel the warm air away from the system while it’s operating. Over time, the fins get clogged by dirt and debris, which leads to inefficient dispersion of heat away from the unit. Clean the fins with a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner. If you find parts of the fin bent, you’ll want to straighten it out with a fin comb that you can purchase from your local hardware store. Bent coil fins can minimize airflow through the unit and cause major problems if left unchecked.
Check the Slab
Once you’ve cleaned the exterior portion of your unit, check the slab of concrete underneath it. Make sure the slab is leveled. If not, level it off with wooden slats or any flat-surfaced object that you have available. An AC unit that is tipped to one side will have to work harder to regulate your home’s temperature. It may also lead to mechanical damage due to the imbalance in weight distribution and pressure.
Maintain the Area Surrounding Your AC
This applies both inside and outside your home, but the latter actually is more important. If your AC’s external unit is surrounded by overgrown plants, piles of leaves and twigs, rocks and cinder blocks, and other objects, airflow is obstructed, and your AC unit has to work harder to pull in air for cooling and to dissipate hot air that is being expelled.
Assess Your Ductwork’s Condition
Based on a report by the University of Florida, leaky ducts can cause your air conditioner to work 50% harder. That is because ducts with leaks in them only retain a percentage of the conditioned air that passes through them. For instance, leaking ducts may dissipate 20% of the cool air that’s supposed to go to your home. Scan for any small holes, rips, and disconnected joints in your ductwork. If you find any, secure them with duct tape. Avoid using fabric or rubber-backed tape because these materials tend to break down faster.
Check the Refrigerant Pipes
Refrigerant pipes run from the condenser unit outside all the way into the evaporator unit inside. As the name implies, refrigerant pipes are responsible for transporting the coolant. If there are any leaks inside the refrigerant pipe, the refrigerant loses its charge, or its set level. Lowered charges equate to lower cooling power. More importantly, however, the pressure fluctuation inside the system can cause damage to your compressor, which is expensive to repair or to replace. Make sure your refrigerant pipes are able to drain the condensation efficiently by tracing the end of the refrigerant pipe.
Check Your AC’s Thermostat
If you don’t have a standalone programmable thermostat, you’ll want to make sure your AC’s built-in thermostat is running without problems. Fortunately, there are many telltale signs of a thermostat on the brink of a complete breakdown. These include your HVAC switching on and off, faulty temperature readings, unexpectedly high electricity bills, the inability to change thermostat settings, and your AC system frequently short cycling. If your AC raises any of these red flags, it may be time to consider getting a new thermostat.
Reset the AC
If you haven’t had the chance to reset your AC for some time, try resetting it. Extreme weather conditions, including heat waves, can cause power outages during the summertime. Make sure your AC can be reset without any issues. Click the reset button that’s usually red in color and prominently placed on the back of the panel. If you can’t find the reset button, check your owner’s manual. Make sure to press down on the reset button for at least three seconds before releasing.
Get Unit Maintenance Done Right
For a more comprehensive checkup and complete diagnostic of your air conditioning unit, consult [compay_name] today. We will schedule you for air conditioning maintenance and make sure that your cooling system is ready to tackle any upcoming warm weather. Get a jump on your AC before the temperatures reach triple digits so that you can stay in cool comfort all summer long.
At Liberty Comfort Systems, we offer heating and cooling services and sell quality boilers, heat pumps, and solar HVAC systems. Our company has been serving the state of MN for years, helping thousands of homeowners to maximize the lifespan of their heating and cooling equipment and to stay comfortable during hot summer and cold winter months. Give us a call today, and speak with one of our friendly customer representatives to schedule an appointment!