It’s that time of year again! Summer is the time to start thinking about shutting down the furnace and turning on the air conditioner. In certain areas of the country, such as Las Vegas with our extreme heat in the summers, not having dependable air conditioning is not an option, so it’s important to inspect your system regularly. Before you crank up your cooling system, though, there are a few things you need to do to get it ready to run in top shape and keep you cool and comfortable all summer long.
Before Turning on the System
Take a walk around your exterior air conditioning unit and inspect it for any damage, debris, signs of animal life, and dirt. You may need a flashlight to see into the unit. Over the winter, your air conditioning unit can make a cozy home for snakes, mice, feathers, sand, and bird nests. The safety cage around the unit is a catch-all for leaves, small sticks, and other debris. Physically remove any visible leaves, nesting materials, and trash with a hand rake or broom.
Clean the Exterior
Remove any covers on your system. You should make sure there is nothing blocking your unit. Any debris can block interior components which can affect performance. Run a hose on full pressure to wash out dust, dirt, and pollen that have settled into the unit over the winter.
You may be surprised how much dirty water flows out! An exterior wash only takes a few minutes and can greatly increase the airflow to your unit, allowing it to cool more efficiently. Make sure you have the power shut off to the system before cleaning the coil with water.
Check the Air Filter
Inside of your home is the portion of your air conditioning system that pulls in dirty air and runs it through a filter before blowing cooled air into your home. Your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced, depending on which type of AC system you have, anywhere from every 1-2 months. Allergy sufferers will want to change their air filter more frequently, as well as those living in climates with a lot of dust and pollen, and those with pets in the home. To clean a reusable filter, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some require vacuuming while others must be thoroughly rinsed with a hose. Replaceable filters should be checked monthly and replaced when there is any visible dust or debris on the filter surface at least every three months at minimum.
Air Duct Cleaning
When the cooled air is dispersed throughout your home, it is sucked back through the return vents in your home. This is essentially a closed system, but over time dust and debris can build up in your vents. When it builds up in the returns, your cooling system is less efficient. When in builds up in the air ducts, it can be blown back into your living space, affecting air quality and allergies. Thoroughly vacuum your vent covers when you see any dust or debris on the vent cover. Every few years you should have a professional clean out of your vents for maximum comfort and the best air quality in your home.
Running Your AC System for the First Time
Turn on your air conditioning unit and adjust your thermostat fairly low, so it will run long enough to check for the following warning signs:
- Ice on the coolant lines or evaporator line
- Water on the floor under the indoor unit
- Fan not blowing
- Air not cold
If there is any ice on the lines after the unit runs for a while (20-30 mins), then your evaporator coil is likely frozen. This happens when the insulation has deteriorated or the system is not running efficiently. A dirty filter can be the culprit, so be sure you have a fresh, clean filter. If the air is not cold, your system needs a refrigerant charge, which requires professional service. Turn your air conditioning unit off to prevent any further damage to your system until it can be serviced.
If there is any water under the indoor unit, your evaporator may not be doing its job and may be clogged. If there is excess water under your unit that isn’t easily drained away, then you have a problem for a professional.
If your fan is not blowing, it could be an electrical issue like a fuse or a switch. Check your thermostat to be sure it is working properly, and replace the battery on a digital thermostat. Finally, your fan or compressor may need a tune-up or replacement.
Taking a few preventive measures now can save you headaches and money in the long run, not to mention the discomfort you could face when your air conditioner fails in the heat of the summer. Keep your air conditioning unit serviced and it will be ready to run all summer long. If you’re experiencing problems with your AC system, contact Right Now Air for AC repair in Las Vegas.