Despite the fact that we are right in the middle of winter, it’s never too early to start giving some thought to home maintenance projects you’ll need to tackle as you prepare for the summer months.

How can a compromised air conditioner affect me?

An air conditioner that is not functioning well can cause several issues with your home and your health. Here are a few reasons why you need to protect and care for that system to ensure better health and more efficient energy usage:

1. A dirty air conditioner can impact your health

Dirty air ducts, leaking lines, and poorly maintained air conditioners can all contribute to health conditions such as allergies, sinus issues, and even autoimmune disorders. Regular inspection and cleaning of your AC unit and ductwork will keep you breathing free and in better health.

2. A compromised air conditioner can increase your energy bill

A unit that is working too hard to cool the interior of your home can contribute to rising energy costs; you’ll see proof of this as temperatures and invoices rise together. Getting your unit cleaned and inspected on a regular basis will ensure that you keep costs down and maintain cool and comfortable temperatures when it really counts.

3. A poorly maintained air conditioning unit will not cool

A dirty, clogged, or leaky unit will simply not do the job of cooling your home to comfortable temperatures. You’ll be left with higher bills, sweat stains on your favorite clothing, and high humidity that can be downright frustrating to deal with. In order to avoid all of this, you’ll need to take regular care of your unit and repair and replace equipment as needed.

Taking proactive measures to test and maintain your air conditioning unit now will minimize any discomfort you’ll experience from breakdowns, less than efficient cooling, and rising energy bills. How can you partner with your HVAC professionals and get your air conditioning system ready for summer? Read on to see how you can efficiently “beat the heat” and have a cool, relaxing summer:

Steps for prepping your air conditioner

While having a licensed HVAC professional in your corner to do some of the heavy lifting for you is preferred, there are also some steps you can take to ensure that your system will be all systems go when warmer weather hits. Take these simple steps for HVAC efficiency:

1. Clean or replace air filters

Replacing your unit’s air filter is one of the easiest things you can do to maximize your unit’s efficiency and cut down on energy costs during the summer months. Dirty air filters and dirty ducts force your system to work harder than it would need to, placing additional strain on your unit and driving your energy costs up. Remove, inspect, clean, and replace your filter as necessary; if you have questions on how often this process should be done, contact your HVAC professional to see how you can complete this essential job.

2. Clean the evaporator coils

Your AC unit contains evaporator coils that help to remove heat and moisture from the air in your home. Dirty coils can prevent them from doing their job; even something like a thin layer of dust can make evaporator coils less efficient. While the job itself may sound simple, it is actually harder than it seems; this important maintenance work should be done by your HVAC professional to prevent damage to your unit.

3. Inspect the outdoor portion of your unit

Look underneath, around, and above your unit for debris that may contribute to a clogged system. Grass, twigs, leaves, mud, and other outdoor debris can settle into and around an air conditioner, potentially causing it to break down over time. Once large debris has been removed, use a wire brush to clean the grates, freeing them from any smaller debris particles and residue that may cling to your unit, forming a barrier that makes function less efficient.

4. Check your lines for damage or blockage

Lines that connect your outdoor unit to your indoor system are exposed to the elements all year long—rain, snow, sleet, debris, and the sun’s rays can all do damage to your lines, corroding pipes and creating compromised areas that affect your unit’s function. Any damaged lines that are found upon inspection should be replaced by a qualified HVAC technician before you attempt to turn the unit on again; failure to do so could result in total system failure that could result in a replacement costing you thousands of dollars.

5. Look for signs of wear and tear in the electrical wiring

Although this is not an inspection you should attempt to handle on your own, it is essential to monitor and maintain the electrical wiring in your unit to maintain its safety and efficiency. Any compromised, broken, or fraying wires should be removed and replaced immediately by a qualified professional, and under no circumstances should the unit be turned on until this wiring has been brought up to safety standards. If you notice compromised areas in your electrical wiring, shut down all power to your unit and call your HVAC technician immediately to repair and replace defective wiring.

6. Inspect the line for coolant leakage

If you are lucky, you’ll never have to change out coolant during the life of your unit; it is a closed-loop system designed to protect itself against leaks and drainage. Should you discover a crack or leak in your line, however, it will be necessary to replace the faulty line and top it off with coolant prior to using your unit. This type of inspection is standard practice with most AC maintenance plans; talk to your HVAC professional about ensuring that this step is included in your annual inspection.

7. Test your unit

Once you believe you have all the kinks worked out, it will be essential to run your unit and test it out to expose any areas of weakness or inefficiency. Strange noises, hotter than usual temperatures, or a constantly cycling unit are all signs that something must be corrected before your unit is considered ready to go.

If you are ready to get a jump start on hotter temperatures, consider contacting your friendly HVAC professional today for an inspection of your entire system. Don’t wait till you’re sitting in sweltering heat; ensure that your unit is up and ready to go by following simple and proactive maintenance measures. Summer will be here before you know it; call today!