DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance for Summer | HVAC How To
July is here, which means we're entering the high point of summer. And with Indepence Day right around the corner, you'll want to make sure that your air conditioning is working so you can enjoy the summer holiday.
Although you may think it is hot now, it is only going to get hotter. If you haven't already scheduled professional air conditioning maintenance or at least completed a DIY maintenance inspection, you'll want to do it as soon as possible. It is best to perform DIY air conditioning maintenance before the start of big seasonal changes.
In order to keep your air conditioner operating at optimal efficiency, you need to show it some love and care…while the weather is still bearable.
How to Perform a DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance Inspection
1. Inspect heat pump (outside A/C unit)
- Your AC has been in hibernation mode since winter, so between then and now, it could have taken on damage without you knowing. During your inspection, remove any branches and twigs, leaves, dirt and any other debris you find that could potentially damage your system.
- Never stack anything on top of your heat pump, whether it be a garden hose, box, or anything else.
- Check your heat pump's pipes for proper insulation. If you notice any damage or corrosion to your insulation, get it fixed immediately.
- Consider cleaning your outdoor condenser coils for better efficiency. Although this is best done by a professional, you can do a basic cleaning yourself. Watch this video to see how it's done:
- Keep a minimum clearance of 2 feet around your entire heat pump unit. Although shade from trees and shrubbery lessens the load on your air conditioning unit, periodically inspect it for any leaves or other debris that might be clogging the condenser coils.
- Call Gold Medal Service for professional condenser coil cleaning and other air conditioning maintenance essentials. You should have professional maintenance done on your air conditioner every year to lower your utility bills, increase your HVAC unit's lifespan, and maintain your manufacturer warranties.
2. Trim plants near the unit
- Keep any plants and branches at bay. At minimum, there should be a 24 inch space around your unit and a 36 inch space above your unit. Prune back any branches near your unit to keep debris from falling onto it.
- Make sure it is easy for your HVAC technician to access your outdoor air conditioning unit.
- Use an evergreen plant to shade your unit all year long.
- For a recap, watch this outdoor air conditioning unit landscaping video from eHow:
3. Change your air filter
- Because your air conditioner and furnace use the same filter, this task should be completed once every 1-3 months. Write the date on the new filter so that you know when to change it next.
- Set phone and calendar reminders so you never forget.
- We recommend using HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filters for higher efficiency and better indoor air quality. Although they may be more expensive, they last longer and work better.
4. Troubleshoot your thermostat
- Your thermostat may be sending the wrong signals to your air conditioning unit, causing it to not run or run longer than necessary
- Sometimes all your thermostat needs is a good dusting. Take off your thermostat's housing and use a paint brush to lightly dust the inside of your thermostat. If you don't know how to take off your thermostat's housing, watch the video below.
- If your thermostat uses mercury to function, the thermostat needs to be completely level, Make sure it is balanced with a level device. There's even a free app for that.
- Make sure your thermostat is away from all heat sources, including direct sunlight, lamps, and any heat-producing appliances. This will give your thermostat the wrong temperature reading, causing the wrong signals to your air conditioner.
- Check your thermostat's batteries and replace them if necessary. Watch this video to learn how to change your thermostat battery:
5. Schedule annual tune-up
- Last but certainly not least, schedule an annual tune-up for your air conditioner! Annual tune-ups are critical, as they allow technicians to catch any minor problem before it becomes a serious, costly affair.
- Tune-ups are designed to save you from having to drop your hard earned dollars on repairs or replacements that could have been avoided in the first place. Schedule your annual tune-up with Gold Medal Service today!
- The best way to keep up your air conditioning operating at peak efficiency levels is to sign up for a Maintenance Service Plan. Signing up for the Gold Medal Total Care Club provides you with preventative maintenance all year for your central heating and cooling system.
Spare yourself the massive headache and a pretty penny by spending a little time completing DIY air conditioning maintenance for the heat wave ahead.