It’s that time of year again – the time when everyone in the Baltimore, Maryland area is firing up their air conditioners after months of inactivity. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when many people will be finding out that it’s not a good idea to just turn something on and hope for the best after it’s been sitting unused for three six months! Before you start up your air conditioner this season, call an HVAC contractor for air conditioner maintenance in the early spring – you’ll be sitting cool and comfortable while your neighbors are scrambling for air conditioner repairs later in the summer!
Air conditioner maintenance checklist
In order to make sure that your air conditioner will be able to keep you cool all summer long, proper air conditioning maintenance is required before you start using it. Proper air conditioner maintenance should consist of:
- Cleaning the compressor and evaporator – your air conditioner is made up of two parts – the compressor and the evaporator. The compressor houses the air conditioner refrigerant lines and surrounds the fins that line the outdoor cabinet of your AC. The evaporator absorbs heat and makes the air cold. Needless to say, if you have dirt or debris on either of these, it can reduce your air conditioner efficiency and may end up damaging your unit’s moving parts.
- Checking the refrigerant level – maintaining the proper level of refrigerant in your air conditioner can be tricky – too little refrigerant in your air conditioner will require your system to work extra hard to provide cooling, reducing the efficiency (and, ultimately, the lifespan) of your unit. An HVAC contractor will be able to adjust the level of refrigerant in your air conditioner to the perfect level.
- Inspecting all drain pans and condensate drains – since air conditioners provide cooling as well as dehumidification, they can collect a lot of moisture in the unit. If the drains are dirty or clogged, all that moisture can get trapped either in the unit or in your house, potential causing serious leaks or mold problems.
- Checking the outdoor fan blades and indoor blower – the outdoor fan pulls air into the air conditioner; the indoor blower (what else?) blows it through your house. Both of these may need to be adjusted during air conditioning maintenance so they can guarantee uninterrupted airflow.
- Checking the compressor and the refrigerant tubing
- Inspecting all electrical controls, wiring and connections – the electrical components and hookups in your air conditioner should be checked for wear and damage during air conditioning maintenance.
- Running a general air conditioner test – an important step of air conditioning maintenance is actually turning the AC unit off and on, making sure the start cycle and shut off controls all work properly. The HVAC contractor will also check for unusual noises or odors, measure indoor and outdoor temperatures and check system pressures, if necessary.
- Checking the ductwork for leaks or other issues –ductwork inspection doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your yearly air conditioning maintenance. However, you should have your ducts checked at least every few years to make sure there are no leaks or blockages. Leaky or poorly insulated ducts are one of the leading causes of inefficiency in forced air AC systems, sometimes accounting for as much as 30% losses in efficiency!
What air conditioner maintenance steps you can do on your own?
As a matter of fact, there are. At home air conditioning steps are pretty simple:
- Clean or replace dirty air filters every month – dirty air filters are the number one cause of slow air flow for most air conditioners. Worse, dirty air filters can cause your evaporator coil to ice up if left long enough! Change your air filters once a month to keep your air flowing as smoothly as possible.
- Keep your condenser unit clear – the air conditioner compressor draws air in from around it, which it moves through your system and blows into your house as cool air. Needless to say, the compressor needs easy access to good airflow! Cut back trees or shrubs around the compressor, making sure you have at least two feet of space around all sides.
When is the best time to schedule air conditioner maintenance?
The best time to schedule air conditioner maintenance is NOW – in early spring before the summer heat really starts to kick in. Otherwise, your air conditioner will fail in the middle of the summer and you’ll be at the bottom of the list as a thousand other people in the Baltimore, Maryland area scramble to get their air conditioners serviced at the same time. Remember – preventative air conditioner maintenance is always better than air conditioner repair or replacement!
If you need air conditioning maintenance in Baltimore, Maryland, call the local heating and air conditioning contractors at All Seasons Heating & Cooling today!