Prepare Your AC for Spring and Summer Seasons
With the warm weather quickly approaching it’s time to think about your HVAC system transition from heating to cooling. To maximize energy efficiency and to ensure your air conditioning is going to work when needed plan to perform a series of simple tests and inspections with the checklist below.
Clean Debris Around the Outdoor Coil
Spring cleaning is necessary around the outdoor coil where the wind can blow leaves, sticks and other debris that collects in and around the coil preventing the system from working as designed. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you allow 2 feet of clearance from any shrubs or bushes around the entire unit.
Visually inspect the fan blade located at the top of the the unit for any damage. Spray down the coils, if needed, and make sure they are also clear of any dirt or debris. If the coils appear to be plugged or are difficult to clean it’s recommended you have an HVAC technician clean the unit using tools and techniques which won’t damage the condenser. Blocked condensers can cause over-heating and increase energy consumption.
While outside, check along the side of the house for the exterior furnace pipe and make sure it is clear of any leaves or other potential blockages.
Finally; make sure the outside unit is level, especially if you have a new home. Over time concrete pads can shift or settle placing stress and tension on the coolant lines which can cause leaks or damaged pipes. When installing a new AC system we recommend mounting brackets for the unit attached to the house to prevent the unit from shifting or moving.
Inspect AC System for Leaks
Inspect your HVAC system both inside and outside for any visible signs of leakage. Look for any telltale signs near or around the furnace as well as the pipes leading to the outside condenser and the outside condenser itself. You’ll also want to check that the condensate lines are clear of any blockage and are draining properly. Even the smallest of leaks can increase over time and lead to other issues including; decreased cooling, frozen coils and increased energy loss.
Your HVAC system requires a tight seal within the ductwork to distribute and deliver the cool air air for best performance. Make sure the ducts are sealed and doesn’t have any leaks or loose seals. The HVAC system won’t have to work as hard and will use less energy when the ductwork is properly sealed.
Remember: Air conditioning requires a sealed environment for optimum performance and for this reason you’ll want to make sure your home’s windows, doors and any other openings aren’t letting more air escape than necessary.
Check Vents and Registers
Make sure all the vents and registers are open and aren’t covered by area rugs, furniture or household items. A properly installed HVAC system accounts for the home's square footage and other factors to accurately size an HVAC system. This Heat Load Manual J Calculation also requires all vents and registers to be open for maximum efficiency and comfort.
If you see a buildup of dust, dirt and debris inside the registers you should consider cleaning the air ducts. This will increase the air flow and will also help to remove air pollutants including pet dander, pollen and other allergens improving indoor air quality.
Change Air Filters
Regularly changing your air filter is one of the easiest and best ways to add longevity to an HVAC system. Homes with pets, smokers or allergy sufferers should change their air filters more frequently. A clean air filter will allow more air to move through the system, increase energy efficiency, reduce repairs and increase the lifespan of the HVAC system.
Turn the Cooling System On
Once you’ve inspected everything that’s been listed turn down the thermostat (set to cool if required) and let it run for a cycle or two. While the AC is running check to make sure there is cool air blowing in each room. Listen for any strange or unusual noises from inside the house as well as outside the home when listening to the outdoor coil.
Make sure the system isn’t cycling on and off more frequently than you’d expect. Call for servicing if the house isn’t cooling or if you hear strange noises or experience unusual odours emanating from the vents.
Regular AC Maintenance
An AC system will work better and last longer if you provide regular maintenance and don’t ignore any of the signs of an HVAC system not operating properly. Small repairs and regular servicing will help prevent major issues that require costly repairs.
Annual scheduled maintenance from certified HVAC technicians will allow for a complete and thorough inspection to test and ensure your system is running at optimum efficiency. Techs will also look for any wear and tear on all cooling components and inspect electrical connections to keep your system running when you need it most.