We’re heading for an intense summer here in the Northeast, which means your home cooling system is probably going to be putting in some overtime to keep you comfortable.
That makes it even more important than usual to get off to a good start with your home cooling system as we inch toward Memorial Day Weekend. Here are 10 things to do before turning on your central air conditioner this summer.
- Check the thermostat. A thermostat it the “brain” of your HVAC system – make sure it’s up and running properly, with fresh batteries. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one: it’s one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to save on your summer cooling bills.
- Do a vent-check. Move drapes, curtains, furniture, or anything else that prevents cool air from reaching your living space. Why pay to cool the back of a sofa?
- Check your ductwork. Did you know that as much as 15 percent of the air you paid to cool could be getting lost between the walls of your home? Yes, duct leaks are real, so take care of them where you can! Seal any obvious leaks and fix out-of-place duct joints in exposed ductwork areas. If you’ve had your cooling system for five years or more, consider investing in professional duct sealing, since many leaks are either too small to see or out of sight behind walls.
- Clear the drain line. A blocked drain line will divert water to other places – like back into your house or toward your foundation. Keep it free of debris.
- Check your A/C filter. A blocked air filter reduces efficiency, and a chronically blocked A/C filter could even put your home cooling system out of commission. Check your air filter about once a month during peak cooling season, replacing it (or cleaning it, depending on the model) when needed.
- Check your electrical lines. Issues with wiring could knock out power to your A/C. Check electrical connections and circuit breakers before summer starts.
- Clean the outdoor condenser unit. Check for debris, including leaves, twigs, and nests. Never cover a condenser unit when it is in use! Proper airflow is essential throughout the home cooling system chain.
- Look for signs of a refrigerant leak. Insufficient refrigerant will make it impossible to generate cold air. Look for visible signs of a refrigerant leak, including poor cooling, ice on the evaporator coils, and fluid spots near your A/C condenser.
- Consider replacing an old central air conditioner. A 15-year-old air conditioner could have a SEER rating as low as 6 – a far cry from today’s 15+ SEER unit. That translates to hundreds of dollars in cooling bills over the course of a season – not to mention unreliable cooling on days when you need it most.
- Have your equipment professionally maintained. There is no better way to prepare your air conditioning unit for the season than to have it inspected and serviced by a home cooling expert. A NATE-certified technician will replace worn parts, lubricate your system, check your refrigerant, and do all the little things that will keep your home cooling equipment running at its reliable best.