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How to Prepare Your Central Air Conditioner for Summer

June 21, 2017

Summer’s right around the corner, which means it’s time to make sure your AC is in tip-top shape.

When your AC is running at peak performance, you’ll save money on energy and have a more comfortable home.

We have 5 easy ways you can prepare your AC for summer:

  1. Change your air filter

  2. Clean your outdoor unit

  3. Open your vents

  4. Check your drain line

  5. Get an annual AC check-up from a pro

Let’s go into more detail about each of these tips...

#1: Change your air filter

dirty vs. clean air filter photo

Changing a dirty filter (like the filter on the right above) is one of the easiest and best ways to prepare your AC for summer. 

“How does changing an air filter help my air conditioner?”

Well, changing a dirty air filter allows your system to “breathe.” Your AC is constantly sucking in air and supplying it back to your home. If you have clogged or dirty filters, your system will suffocate and it won’t work as efficiently—which means you’ll pay more in energy bills, and you’ll damage your equipment. You don’t want that!

#2: Clean your outdoor unit

If your outdoor unit has debris (such as the leaves in the photo above), then you should clean it to avoid high energy bills in the summer.

Think of your AC like a heat sponge—it absorbs heat from your indoor air and then transports it outside. If the outdoor unit is blocked, that heat can’t disperse outside, which makes your system work harder. That situation causes your AC to devour more energy, thereby making your monthly utility bills more expensive. Plus, you run the risk of having your AC quit on you unexpectedly.

Tips on how to clean your outdoor unit:

  • Brush or pick out any leaves, tree limbs or large debris by hand

  • Wash the outside unit with a garden hose sprayer on a LOW setting (you don’t want it too high, or you’ll damage some important AC parts)

#3: Open your vents

An open supply vent.

This one is an easy one! Just open your supply vents. Yes, simply opening all the supply vents (the metal grates with the little handles) in your home will prepare your home for summer.

Here’s why: Closed supply vents increases pressure in your ductwork (the passageways that deliver air around your home. That extra pressure leads to duct leakage, preventing some of the conditioned air from reaching your rooms. For you, that means the AC will run longer to compensate and therefore increases your energy bills.

Air duct leakage can cause you to lose conditioned air to your attic or other unconditioned spaces.

On top of that, the extra pressure takes a toll on the AC blower, increasing the chances that it will break down.

Here’s what you should do: Open all of the supply vents in your home, even in rooms you don’t use. Also, make sure nothing is obstructing the the supply vents, like furniture or draperies.

#4: Check your drain line

condensate main line outside

Your home’s air conditioning system has a condensate drain line, which empties out the moisture your AC collects from your home’s air.

If your drain line is clogged, water will back up into your home and cause serious water damage. Or, a clogged drain line will trigger a safety switch in your AC and shut it down—but that leaves you without air conditioning. And in the middle of summer, that’s the last thing you want!

You can dry using a wet/dry vacuum to suck out debris from your drain line, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a professional to use a special vacuum to clear the line.

#5: Get an annual AC check-up from a pro

The SMARTEST thing you can do to prepare your AC for summer is to have a cooling expert look at it to make sure it’s in good shape.

Getting annual AC maintenance is smart because of these 2 reasons:

  1. You’ll save money. Just getting annual AC maintenance can save you 15% on your monthly energy bills—and those savings add up by the end of summer. You’ll also save money because your AC technician will catch problems before they get serious, so you won’t have to shell out big bucks for expensive repairs down the road.
  2. You’ll have a more comfortable home. When everything is working properly in your air conditioning system, it can cool your home faster and better maintain consistent temperatures.

Looking for a trustworthy AC professional in the Denver area?

Contact Plumbline to schedule your annual AC maintenance or for any repairs. We’ve been serving Denver families since 1998.

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