Recently, North Carolina was under a winter storm watch—sleet, snow, freezing rain (and all-around yucky weather) blanketed most of the state. When you’re bundling up with jackets, mittens and scarves, air conditioning is the last thing that enters your mind. However, now is the time to start thinking about how your system will handle the sweltering August heat. If you delay, you could be facing a terrible inconvenience—and a higher cooling bill.
Check Your AC Unit Now
Why start now? Good question. After all, summer is several months away. But consider these facts:
- While air conditioning repair companies should have technicians on call 24/ 7, remember that the bulk of their emergency calls come during the most extreme weather. It’s not unusual for companies to handle 60 or more service calls a day during the peak months. Being proactive and taking care of things early means you avoid getting stuck on the waiting list.
- Checking your system enables you to locate potential savings early, so you can take full advantage of an efficient system for the entire summer.
- You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. Do you really want to start your summer knowing you haven’t had had your AC checked out?
- Are you aware that companies offer preventative maintenance packages? This means that technicians inspect your heating and air conditioning systems every year? This can help you avoid costly repairs and inconvenience later.
An AC Efficiency Checklist
So what should you be looking for? In short, cleanliness is the key component for efficient AC. Here’s a basic air conditioning maintenance checklist:
- Clean or change your air filters
Ideally, this should be done once a month. Dirt, grime and dust make it more difficult for your system to do its job and keep your home comfortable.
- Make sure your outdoor unit is clean
Is anything blocking the outdoor unit (called the condenser)? The area around the unit should be clear of plants or anything that could clog the unit.
- Clean indoor duct work
Are you sensing a pattern here? Remember that the majority of ductwork is hidden deep within the walls and ceilings of your home. In short, leave this job to the pros.
- Check coil fins on your AC unit
Coil fins are the aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils. You have to keep an eye on these because they are easily bent. As a result, airflow is blocked, which can cause a spike in your power bill.
- Clear condensate drains
These channels also can become clogged, particularly if you’re behind on your regular maintenance. If your AC unit drains are clogged, they can do much more than stress your wallet—they can damage your home, When they’re not cleaned out or draining properly, your AC unit can’t reduce humidity. That excess moisture has to go somewhere, and as a result, your walls or carpet can become discolored.
If all of these tasks sound overwhelming, don’t worry. Help is available. The bottom line: there are many things that can reduce your AC’s performance, and you shouldn’t wait until summer to get them fixed. Murphy’s Law is that if something goes wrong, it will, and usually at the worst possible moment. Why risk your AC going out on the hottest day of the year? Why worry about getting an unpleasant surprise every time you open your power bill?
Work with air conditioning professionals to ensure that you’re ready for the summer before Old Man Winter leaves the neighborhood.
Betcha didn’t know that!
For a quick glance at our summer savings checklist, view our slideshare. Share it with a friend!
U.S. Department of Energy. “Maintaining Your Air Conditioner.”