During harsh winters, homeowners resort fully to heat pumps and furnaces to warm their homes and this makes air conditioning systems to take a back seat until spring and summer. Air conditioning maintenance is not a priority during winter and the last part of fall that is why most systems are ill-prepared to face the challenges of the hot season.
Air conditioning systems tend to be affected by the ultra-low negative temperature spikes together with the extended times below freezing point. Having your AC system checked before starting it up will ensure you have a trouble-free summer season.
Below are some of the important checks and tweaks to carry out before switching your wall thermostat to cooling.
Outdoor Unit Panel Inspection
The outdoor unit panels are designed to cover the electrical connections of your AC unit and are essential to help protect the system. Panels can go missing or can be misaligned and this may be a potential risk not only to the operation of the equipment but to you as well. If you discover the panel covering the electrical connections is not in place, immediately notify a qualified HVAC technician who will carry out an assessment before starting the system.
Removal of Lids, Coil Blankets or Condenser Covers
It is not uncommon for outdoor coils to be covered during winter so as to protect them from the icy condition and the possible impact this can have on your systems functionality. These covers play a critical role in insulating and protecting the coil but can also limit heat transfer. If you start your AC system with these covers in place, your system could be severely damaged even if it is for a short time. Many homeowners tend to forget removing these covers.
Repair or Replacement of Faulty Pipe Insulation
The suction line which is a large copper pipe helps in redirecting the cool refrigerant back to the compressor in the indoor unit. When the insulation on this pipe is damaged, its ability to attain the required cooling for the outdoor unit is jeopardized. This can damage your system and also cause you to lose energy.
The insulation can be damaged by so many things including winter animals who seek for shelter or food, freezing water, as well as sun rot. The size of the insulation is determined by the dimensions of the copper pipe.
Remove Outdoor Coil Debris
Where you live or the side of the house your AC system is located on will determine the amount of trash or vegetation that is blown against or into the coil. The condenser coils of your AC system are usually designed to transfer heat and as such any amount of debris can limit this effect. The best approach to get this sorted is to remove debris from the coil and from the surrounding area.
Change the System Filters
When seasons change, you get an opportunity to replace your AC filters. During winter, most filters tend to gather lots of debris and this is why you need to make the necessary changes before the onset of the cooling season. There are two main types of filters; washable and disposable. The washable allow you to clean and re-use them while the disposable have to be replaced. When doing the replacement, pay attention to air flow directions on both the filter and the system. They both need to point in the same direction.
In addition to the above, always clean the return grills and supply vents. Any dust or pet hair that may have accumulated in the grills and vents must be vacuumed to ensure these channels are completely open.