Ah, spring cleaning. We typically think of deep cleaning the interior and exterior of our homes in a mad weekend-rush: steam-cleaning carpets, clearing out that junk drawer (why are there so many rubber bands?), organizing closets (Marie Kondo, anyone?), pressure washing the driveway and windows, and preparing for some great garden bulb action.
These are all important tasks to keep your home looking Better Homes & Gardens worthy, but what are you doing to make sure your air conditioner is running well? Your HVAC system is an expensive and necessary component of your home’s comfort-and yes-safety. Don’t neglect it or you can end up with a costly emergency AC repair.
Here are four steps you can do to make sure your system continues running efficiently and is prepared for the sweltering summer months.
Clean It Up
Keep at least three feet of open space around your unit to allow for proper airflow. Your clean-up plans mean going beyond picking up the yard and pruning trees and bushes. Make sure you don’t forget the area around your outdoor AC unit. For many people, their AC unit is on the side of their house, out of sight and out of mind. Leaves have been hibernating under all that winter snow and get in the way of your system. Just because this is not an area that your neighbors or guests will see, doesn’t mean it is not important to keep neat.
Replace Your Filters
Replacing your filters should be done every month—this is just an extra reminder to change them. Changing your filters is the easiest maintenance task you can do to keep your system running effectively. When the air filter is dirty, it slows down the process of heating or cooling, and can negatively affect your home’s indoor air quality. Usually, cleaning or changing the filter is all you need to do to improve HVAC output and even decrease allergy symptoms. Easy button.
Visually Inspect Your Outdoor Unit
Your unit is either belt-driven or has a direct-drive motor. If you have a belt-driven motor, look for any abnormal wear on the edges or fraying and cracking on the belts. There may be some black powder or dust around the blower and inside the unit. If it appears to be excessive, it’s time to replace the belt. Direct-drive units do not use belts, so if you hear an unusual noise or the airflow is reduced, you may need to service or replace the motor.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Make an appointment for your AC tune-up. During your tune-up, your HVAC specialist will work to blow out the lines, replace filters, and check safety controls. The specialist will also inspect belts, the thermostat and refrigerants, and duct leakage. Duct leakage decreases the energy output of air conditioners, preventing them from creating sufficient cold air. Sealing ducts can restore a lot of efficiency to your unit. (Reminder to our Master Services clients, tune-ups are free for Club Members!)