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7 Steps to Follow Before You Turn on the Air Conditioner
Summer is coming, and for many homeowners that means turning off the furnace and turning on the air conditioner. When a system has been switched off for months, it’s easy for small mechanical issues to set in that can give you a nasty surprise when you first flip the power back on. Follow these steps to make sure your A.C. is ready before you power it up, and make the transition to summer climate control easy for yourself.
Air conditioning safety and maintenance steps
1. Inspect your thermostat
Does it look old? Are the buttons unresponsive or hard to press? If there’s anything that makes it difficult to get the results you want from your climate control system, consider upgrading. It’s also good to make sure your thermostat is still accurate. Get another thermometer and put it next to the thermostat to make sure it is properly calibrated. A technician might be able to recalibrate one that is inaccurate without replacing it, but you will need a professional to make that call.
2. Inspect your home’s air ducts
Most homes with basements or crawl spaces have duct work you can put eyes on yourself. Check for any obvious air leaks that could siphon your hot or cold air into walls and floors. If you have trouble accessing crawlspaces, a maintenance technician can check this out as part of a regular tune-up to your home cooling system.
3. Inspect the vents, too
Blocked vents can keep cool air from circulating into the room properly. Make sure there’s no dust or debris buildup in the vent itself, and then check to make sure it has the right clearance. Vacuuming out vents that have accumulated dust usually alleviates the issue with clogged vents, but you might also want to take the opportunity to try out a new furniture plan for the space.
4. Make sure the drain line is clear
Cold weather and the spring thaw can leave the drain line on your air conditioner blocked by mud, gravel or even leaves. Make sure it is clear, so water does not back up into the line. If you find an obstruction, it should be easy to clean out if it has not become impacted. Remember, any issues you find that seem bigger than you can handle can be referred to a professional.
5. Inspect the condenser
Over time, debris can build up in places that will cause problems when the condenser is switched back on. This can be mostly prevented with a winter cover over the unit, but you will still want to make sure moving parts are clear before switching the power on.
6. Check out your fuse box and circuits
Central air conditioner units use a lot of power, so you will want to make sure your breaker box is in order. If you are using multiple smaller units, this becomes even more important, because you do not want to overload a circuit.
7. Change your air filter
Your indoor air quality will be best if you have a fresh filter. What better time to change it over than when you switch from heating to cooling?
If you want to make sure your air conditioner is ready for the summer weather, you need to thoroughly inspect the system. You can also let a professional start your season if you want to sit back and simply enjoy the cool air.
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