AC unit outdoors

Keeping Your Cool: Air Conditioning Tips

Winter is in the rearview mirror and we finally appear to be past those colder days that come with early Spring. It’s time to start thinking about your air conditioning.

Here are some tips to help keep your A/C running as efficiently as possible before it turns hot for good outside.

Replace your filters: This is one of easiest and affordable maintenance measures you can take. It is recommended that you change your filters at least every month. If it has been a little longer since you have replaced one though, when you make the transition to using your HVAC from heating to cooling it is a perfect time to change your filter.

More about filters and MERV ratings

Clean condenser coils: The condenser unit is generally part of your outdoor unit. Look for something that looks like a fan in a box with grilles on the side, that is your condenser unit. More than likely the unit has collected leaves, dirt and other yard debris since the last time you looked at it. And odds are a portion of the debris, especially dirt, has made its way to the coils.

Anything that obstructs the flow of air will diminish the efficiency of the condenser unit as a whole.

To clean coils, the side and top panels need to be removed first. This can typically be done with just a screwdriver.

You will then need to lift off the top but be careful not to tug any of the wires connected to the fan.

A refrigerator coil brush is the best tool to use to clean the coils but a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner will also work. It is important to remember to that no matter the brush you use, brush gently as the coil fins are delicate. If you would happen to bend a coil, they do make a fin comb that is designed specifically for straightening coils.

Also, it is best to clean the coils from the outside in and to vacuum any loose debris from the inside out.

Sometimes the debris that needs removed is a little heavier and may require the use of spray coil cleaner to loosen it up. If this is required, be careful not to spray the fan or electrical parts.

Remove other debris and obstructions: Leaves, limbs, dirt and other yard debris accumulated throughout the winter and early spring can be a nuisance to your outdoor unit without being on or in it.

You should have a two to four foot clearance all the way around the unit so remove any debris from that area. As we get further into the warm weather months, you want to keep this area clear of weeds and other vegetation.

While you are at it, check to make sure the unit is level as well.

Coolant Lines: This is a good time of the year to check your coolant lines. These are the tubes or pipes that run from the evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside. They are usually covered with foam coolant line insulation. If you notice areas where insulation is missing or frayed, this can be fixed by installing foam insulation sleeves or foam insulation tape.

Don’t overdo it too soon: While the temperature has definitely warmed up, we are still at the time of the year where we can use Mother Nature to assist with cooling. The overnight temperature right now is still relatively cool. Take advantage of that. You can try opening a window at night and turning off your cooling system. Just be sure to close the windows before turning the unit back on.

You can also help your AC out by using curtains and blinds in your home to stop the sun from heating up your living areas. This will make your unit not have to work as hard to provide cooling.

If you have a ceiling fan, it can help distribute cool air by making sure the blades are turning counter-clockwise. If using your ceiling fan correctly for air distribution, you would have had the blades turning clockwise when the heat was on through the winter and early spring.

McAtee Plumbing, Heating and Cooling provides reliable service to six different states. Contact us today if you need help getting your plumbing or HVAC issues resolved this winter.