Getting Air-Conditioner Ready for Summer

06/02/2014

Your best defense is a central air-conditioning system, when you come across burning temperatures just around the corner. If there is one at your home, the following steps will help you make sure that it’s tuned up and ready for use.

The central air-conditioning system consists of three main parts: the condenser, the blower unit and the ductwork. Some of the more delicate parts of the system, such as the refrigerant lines, should be left to the professionals to deal with. But you can implement some easy things to maintain the system, especially before summer heats up.

Change the filters

The filters are located at the blower unit where the return duct meets the unit. Check your filters once a month. A clogged filter reduces the amount of airflow through the blower unit, allowing the cooling coil to ice up. This might be the reason for your unit to shut down.

 

Check the Condensate-Removal System

Condensation occurs, when warm air passes through the cooling coil. The moisture either goes into a gravity-fed drain, or it goes into a pan under the blower unit depending on where your blower unit is located. If it’s in a basement, the pan usually has a small pump to move the water to a drain. If the unit is in an attic, the water gets into the pan and evaporates.

Test the pump to ensure it’s functioning properly. If your AC unit is located in the attic, pay specific attention to testing the kill switch to prevent the pan overflow and having water drip on your ceiling.

Clear the Debris

For the exterior condenser to operate properly, it needs an unobstructed flow of air around it. There should be about 2 feet of clear space around the unit, free of bushes, wood piles, and branches.

The condenser’s fan was sucking air, leaves, debris, and pollen into it for the last summer. It’s best to wash it with a garden hose. You could use a chemical cleaner if things look really bad.

Examine the Ductwork

First, open up the registers in your home and see if anything has gotten into the ductwork that could cause problems.

If you find mold spreading in your ducts, contact a duct-cleaning company immediately.

Second, check the ductwork that travels through your attic or basement. All of the connections should be sealed free of any holes or corrosion. Use silver aluminum-foil tape and not the duct tape to cover any holes and seal the joints.

Check the insulation on the supply duct — the one that brings the cool air back to your house – if you have an attic system. The cold metal will begin to condense in your hot attic having water drip onto your ceilings.

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