March and April are the perfect months to think ahead and prepare for the cooling season. The average high temperatures in the Charlotte area are in the 60’s inMarch and low 70’s in April, so it is warm enough to do some maintenance, but not usually hot enough to really need to your Air Conditioning unit daily. As high temperatures climb closer to 80 degrees in May, our busy season kicks in, so it is always better to get any problems out of the way when you are not waiting in an uncomfortably hot house.
Here are the top five things you can do to make sure your air conditioner is ready to take on the 90+ degree days of summer.
1. Check Your Air Filters
Dirty air filters are big problems your air conditioner. Our suggestion is always to change your air filter regularly, which could vary depending on the type of filter you choose. Dirty air filters can increase the amount of energy it takes to cool your home by 5% to 15%. A very clogged filter will also reduce the cooling capacity of your unit by about 5%. What is even worse is that if you keep running your system with a dirty filter, eventually that dirt will get through the filter screen and end up collecting on your evaporator coils.
Government studies have shown that dirty evaporator coils reduce the energy efficiency of your system even more than a dirty air filter. Combine the two and ice is likely to form on the evaporator coils, causing a system failure. It is a lot less expensive to change your air filter than have your evaporator cleaned.
2. Clean Up Around Your Outdoor AC Unit
We don’t tend to get out and do a lot of yard work in the winter. There are always a few leaves that escape raking in the fall and they seem to always find their way to your outdoor AC unit. Simply clearing away any leaves, grass, weeds or other plants that are too close to your outdoor unit could save you from a headache later in the summer. And while you are doing some spring yard work, you might want to create a mulch or rock area around the outdoor unit to help keep the lawn mower further away. Grass clipping are know to reduce air flow through your system, which is never a good thing.
3. Clean the Outdoor Unit with a Water Hose
Dirt on the outdoor unit can reduce its efficiency. A quick rinse down occasionally will help get off any collected dirt, as well as grass clippings and other plant material which may have found its way into your outdoor unit. Don’t use a power washer because it could damage the coils.
4. Check to Make Sure Your Vents are Open
Since most homes in the Carolinas are built with vents on the ceiling, or at least high up on a wall, it is unlikely any furniture is blocking them. However, if you tend to close vents off because some rooms become too warm when the heat is on it the winter, then you should check to make sure you’ve reopened them to help keep your house cool. Air conditioners are usually more efficient when all the vents in your home are pushing cold air in and sending the hot air up into the return.
5. Consider Having Your Air Conditioning System Professionally Serviced
You wouldn’t drive your car all year without having the oil changed, would you? Air conditioners can work very hard over the summer months, then sit idle all winter. A little maintenance in the spring goes a long way to keeping your system in top performance for the hot summer ahead. A professional technician can check your system for problems that might exist but were not obvious when you stopped running the A/C in the fall.
- Refrigerant leaks or improper levels
- Proper air flow
- Thermostat accuracy
- Dirty electric terminals and loose connections.
- Worn belts and parts in need of lubrication
At Panther Heating and Cooling, we want your air conditioning unit to keep you comfortable all summer long. We offer one-time routine maintenance visits or to help you maintain your heating and cooling systems all year round, sign up for one of our maintenance packages. They’re simple, affordable and will reduce the chances that you’ll have a cooling emergency in the middle of the summer.
Call us at 803-327-2700 to schedule an appointment or contact us by email for more information on planned maintenance.