A great way to enjoy the spring warmth and be productive is to prepare your central air conditioner for warm weather.
I always love putting a long winter behind me and the extreme ones even more so. I find I am greatly motivated to get outside and see my lawn again. Instantly things pop-up on your ‘to-do’ list especially if you have dogs. As always, remember to change your furnace air filter (click here for more information), but while you are putting together that ‘to-do’ list for the new season please be sure to add these 4 quick ways to prepare your central air conditioner for summer:
1. Trim shrubs and greenery around the central air conditioner unit.
Late March is the perfect time for this and as well as other plant trimming as well. Leaf bearing bushes are easy to get at and don’t begin budding yet. You won’t have to compete with insects or hot muggy weather. Most air conditioner manufacturers recommend a minimum of 10” worth of air space all the way around the AC unit. I personally shoot for 12’’ of air space around the air conditioner.
2. Clean the outside coil (also referred to as the fins).
The key here is to be gentle. The coil fins are made of aluminum after all. If the fins are littered with leaves or grass clipping you can use a brush or even your hands to pick them clean. If they have a cottonwood, lint or spider web blanket on their surface, like the picture shows, than use your garden hose to clean it off. Again, BE GENTLE.
3. Turn it on.
The simplest of checks! On a mild day in the upper 50’s or 60’s simply turn on the unit by setting the A/C to ‘on’ at the thermostat. You don’t need any fancy electrical expertise to avoid a costly and inconvenient service call during peak times. Avoid the rush when everyone else turns on their central air conditioner during the first 80 degree day. If the indoor blower, outdoor fan and compressor (deep mechanical hum at outdoor unit) all seem to be working then you are headed in the right direction.
4. Hot (air) on top, cold (copper line) on bottom.
I’ll clarify a bit. This in no way measures how well or efficient the unit is working. It does however indicate “if” the unit is working. Hot on top indicates a transfer of heat. You are looking to see if the air the fan is blowing from the top of the central air conditioner unit is warmer than the air outside air surrounding it. This will be more prevalent on warmer days.
Cold on bottom also indicates a transfer of heat. You have 2 copper lines entering the central air conditioner unit. The “fat” or “thicker” line (suction line) should be noticeably cooler than the outside air surrounding it. So again, check for hot air on top and cold copper line on bottom.
These 4 quick ways to prepare your central air conditioner can help you avoid a maintenance related service call when temperatures start rising. Or It may even help you avoid being uncomfortable, if you need a service repair, by handling the situation early on. If you are concerned about efficiency and maximum performance than I encourage you to contact your air conditioner repair company but otherwise enjoy the season and always…
Breathe Easy…Stay Comfortable