As summertime approaches in Florida, homeowners from Sarasota to Venice to Englewood and every city and town in between begin looking for ways to prepare for the increased, humid temperatures. Preparing the air conditioning unit for the weather ahead is the best way to keep energy consumption (and costs) down and maintain comfort throughout the home.
To prepare your air conditioning unit for the summertime weather, first ensure that you understand how the unit works.
Three components make up the A/C unit. This is the condenser, blower unit, and the ductwork. Each of the three components serves an important function in the overall operation of the air conditioning unit.
Ductwork: Metallic, flexible tubes that run through the home are known as the ductwork. The tubes route cold air into the house and remove the hot air. Leaking ductwork is a common problem with this component, though it is safe to say there is a problem if you notice more dust in the home than usual. The leaking ductwork causes an even more serious problem, however, and that is air leakage. Any space between the wall that is leaking is also causing the cooled air to blow between. This causes difficulty cooling the house. Springtime is the perfect time to inspect and/or clean the ductwork to improve AC performance and efficiency.
Condenser: The condenser is the unit sitting outside the home. The refrigerant is added to the condenser, which controls temperatures inside the home. The refrigeration works to absorb heat after the air flows over the evaporator coils. A pressure change causes the refrigerant to turn into a gas that resumes liquefied state when it is cooled again.
Blower Unit: The blower unit helps change the liquid into a gas as the refrigerant enters this space and travels into the coil. This unit draws the warm air into the return ducts while the air conditioning unit pushes the air over the coils into the house to keep it cool. The refrigerant goes back into the condenser and converts back to liquid state after completion of this process.
How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer
Professional repair service man or diy home owner removing a dirty air filter on a house air conditioner so he can replace it with a new clean one.
Air Handler Filter Change
Dust, pollen, and other debris are collected inside of the filter. If the filter becomes filled, it performs the opposite job and begins blowing the collected items back outside the unit. The result is decreased comfort, increased energy costs, and an unhealthy environment inside the home. Dirty filters also damage the unit, decreasing its longevity and durability. It is one of the most important components of the A/C unit. Monthly filter changes ensure these issues do not become your own.
Keep the Condenser Unit Free of Debris
Debris and trash can accumulate around the condenser unit outside the home. This causes improper air circulation that damages the A/C unit and its components. Ensure that no debris or trash is allowed around the outdoor unit. Additionally, use these tips to prevent issues with the outdoor unit:
- Use a garden hose to wash dirt away from the unit
- Trim grass around the unit, keeping it at a short length
- Keep bushes away from the unit
- Do not allow tree branches to overhang on the unit
- Do not place other items on or near the unit
Clean the Condensate Drain
There is a thin piece of PVC pipe situated close to the condenser unit. You'll notice water dripping from this unit. This is normal, though the moisture build-up can attract algae that clog the line; condensation is the result. This may cause water to enter the home, triggering the cooling equipment to shut-off.
It is simple and necessary to clean the drain.Just remove the end of the drain and use a wet/dry vac to remove the slide and water accumulated in the drain. Replace the end when finished.
Check Refrigerant Levels
There are two copper lines running to the condenser unit. Find the larger of the two lines. Sometimes there is insulation around this line. If the line doesn't sweat during A/C cycling or the line is warm after the unit is running, coolant is needed.
Level the Condenser Unit
Check to ensure that the condenser unit is level using a level. Gravel or a small board can help fill any uneven spaces.
A/C Maintenance Inspection
Finally, call a professional A/C repair company for an annual maintenance inspection. Air conditioning maintenance prolongs the lifetime of the HVAC unit while reducing discomforts and need for repairs. Reduced wear-and-tear is another benefit of this annual inspection. A/C pros thoroughly inspect the unit, looking for signs of damage or breakdown. Those issues are then immediately repaired, reducing headache and hassle.