Most of us in Florida are pretty tough. When there are hurricanes, we have parties. When there’s a monsoon and the streets are flooded, we paddle around in our kayaks. But the one thing that terrifies most of us is the idea that our air conditioning could go out.
Imagine all that humidity seeping into your home creating a heat so dense you feel like you’re in a sauna, but without the ability to leave it behind. That’s exactly what can happen if you don’t keep a careful eye on your unit and make sure it’s running well.
A little prevention now can mean less headache when it’s oppressively hot. Don’t take risks this summer. Make sure your AC is fully optimized for top performance with these tips.
Things You Can Do on Your Own:
Take matters into your own hands and check these items before things heat up. When the temps spike so do calls to AC technicians. Checking these things now may alert you to issues early.
Test Your AC Thermostat
Check the Condensate Drain
Check the AC Unit
Test your thermostat. Does lowering the temperature cause your air conditioning to turn on? It should. Now turn the temp down to 60. Is the air blowing out of the registers cool? It should be. You needn’t wait to see if it cools the entire house down just make sure it’s blowing cold air. If not, call an AC professional.
Your condensate drain is responsible for removing excess moisture. If your drain is clogged or there’s simply too much water for it to empty on its own, most ACs have a safety setting that will keep it from running until that drain is emptied. If you have a condensate pan on your unit, pull it out and dump any standing water. If it’s been really humid, it’s normal for it to collect a lot of water. If it hasn’t been humid and there’s a lot of standing water, look for clogs in the drain. If you can’t find any but there’s still a lot of water, contact an AC technician.
Leaving water in your drain like that can affect your air conditioning’s performance (most won’t kick on) and can cause damage to your unit (or elsewhere in your home) if the water backs up. Always check the drain and pan (if you have one) before flipping on your AC for the summer, particularly if it’s been a wet season.
Walk around your unit and remove debris, weeds, or plantings that may have grown up alongside it when it wasn’t in use during the winter. Give it a visual inspection looking for signs or rust or corrosion.
Things You Want a Certified Technician to Perform:
Clean the Coils, Evaporator, and Filters
Checking for Refrigerant Leaks in Your Unit
Install a New Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner
There’s more to air conditioner maintenance than just changing your indoor air filters every month. A proper air conditioning cleaning includes clearing out any residue, dust, and buildup from the condenser coils, evaporator, and the filters (some units have one, some have a filter system, while others may rely on your home’s central air return register).
Your AC’s condenser coils hold and release heat. If the airflow is blocked or inhibited in some way on them, they will heat up and work inefficiently causing stress on the unit. They need to be cleaned and checked every year, even if you’re not experiencing problems, if you want your air conditioner to last.
If you have a dog you want to keep a very close eye on the condition of your coils. A dog who urinates in the same spot on the AC can destroy the coils.
The EPA regulates who can handle refrigerant and unless you have a Section 608 EPA license, that doesn’t include you. Refrigerant doesn’t evaporate so if your unit is low, it’s possible you have a leak or disconnection. These are all things a trained AC technician can tell you. Operating an AC with low or non-existent coolant/refrigerant will fail to cool and can stress the system. It is essential to check coolant levels before you get into summer’s high time.
If last summer’s electric bill was awful and your unit is over several years old, you may want to consider a newer energy-efficient model. The investment of a new AC unit can be offset by the savings on your electric bill over the long run. If you’re not planning on staying in your home, a new AC is still a major selling point here in Florida, especially if you purchase one with a good energy-star rating and SEER rating.
Summer’s just around the corner. Many people believe our hot weather is already here to stay. Don’t wait until the sweltering heat of summer to ensure your AC is running properly. Call Easy AC today at 813-COLD-AIR and we’ll be happy to check, service, and/or repair your air conditioning system or fit you with a new one if that’s what you decide. We serve the entire Tampa Bay area.