Summer is rapidly approaching, and with it comes warmer temperatures and an increased amount of use for your home’s air conditioning system. Before you start it up this summer, you should run through the following hints and tips to make sure it works to the fullest of its abilities. Remember: nobody likes a malfunctioning HVAC system!
Step 1 – Check Your Filters
Before you even turn your system on for the first time this summer, make sure to check your air filters. Filters only last for about three to six months of continuous use (even less in dustier or more humid climates) before they need to be replaced. An old/dirty filter makes it harder for your air conditioning system to cool the air in your home. The harder it has to work, the less cool you’ll be! Use the following checklist to keep tabs on your HVAC filters:
- Check for Dirt
If there is any significant buildup of visible dirt/dust on the filter, then it is probably time for a new one.
- Check the Date
Many HVAC companies will write the date that the filter was last replaced somewhere on the filter itself. Always check your filter for a date (and remember to write one on your new one). If it’s been more than three months, then its time to take a trip to the hardware store for a replacement!
- Some Filters are Re-Useable
Some HVAC filters are re-useable! Most re-useable filters have metal casings with densely packed filter material in the inside. To clean a re-useable filter, just run it under cold water until the water that comes out is clear. Then let it dry and put it right back in your system
Step 2- Check and Clean Your Coils
There are always two coils in any given air conditioning system. These coils, depending on location, will either convert liquid refrigerant to a gas or gas refrigerant to a liquid. Each of these coils will look a coiled copper tube covered in aluminum fins. The only one of these two coils that you should clean without the help of a professional is the condensing coil (this coil lives in the condenser unit for your system). To clean the coil, simply turn the power to the system off and run water over the fins until it comes out clean.
If you find that the coil in the air handler section of your cooling system is dirty, please leave cleaning it to the hands of a seasoned professional from us here at Pann Home Services and Remodeling.
Step 3 – Fans and Belts
The third step in this pre-season HVAC start-up checklist is to check the fans and fan belts for your system. Every cooling system has at least two fans in the system. One of these fans pulls outside air over the condensing coil of your system to cool off gaseous refrigerant and help compress it back to a liquid. The other fan pulls inside air over the evaporative coil to cool the air before sending it through your ductwork (or straight out the supply vent for your mini-split system). You can check these fans yourself, but always leave repairs and belt replacements to the professionals. To check your fans and belts, follow the following steps:
- Check for dirt and Debris
This is pretty obvious (even to untrained individuals). If there is a significant amount of dirt or debris in or around the fan(s) then they need to be cleaned. If its the condenser fan, then feel free to turn the power off to the system and to hit it with your gardening hose. If its the evaporator/supply fan, then call us here at Pann Home Services and Remodeling to get it done for you.
- Check the Fan Ballance
This may seem complicated, but noticing if a fan is in or out of balance can be quite easy (even for untrained individuals). If you hear any knocking or strange sounds when you turn the fan on or notice any kind of excessive wobble, then the fan is off balance and needs help from our team of seasoned HVAC professionals.
- Fan Belts
Fan belts will be present in most fans in most HVAC systems (there are some fans that will utilize a direct drive motor and no fan belts). Fan belts are bands of rubber that take the spinning motion of a motor and transfer it to the spinning axis of a fan. To check a belt just turn off the power to the system and run your finger along the belt while applying constant pressure. If there is a lot of play (wiggle room) in the belt, or it feels frayed at all, then it is time to call Pann Home Services and Remodeling for a replacement job.
Check Refrigerant Levels
This step should always, always, always be performed by an HVAC professional. No one should attempt to check these levels or replace any missing refrigerant themselves. If you are worried about the refrigerant levels in your system, then before you do anything please contact us here at Pann Home Services and Remodeling right away.
Program Your Thermostatt
After you have made sure that your air conditioning system is up to snuff, then it is time to finally program your thermostat for summer conditions. Here at Pann Home Services and Remodeling, we recommend the following settings for your average Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM work day and schedule:
- Turn AC on (set temp to 72 degrees) if temperatures rise to over 73 degrees Fahrenheit from 4 PM to 9 AM (Monday through Friday)
- Turn Heating on if the temperatures drop below 65 Degrees Fahrenheit (set temp to 72 degrees) from 4 PM to 9 AM (Monday through Friday)
- Turn AC on (set temp to 72 degrees) if temperatures rise to above 76 Degrees Fahrenheit from 9 AM to 4 PM (Monday through Friday)
- Turn Heating on (set temp to 72 degrees) if temperatures drop below 62 Degrees Fahrenheit from 9 AM to 4 PM (Monday through Friday)
- On the weekends, make sure that your heating is set to turn on if the temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours a day.
- On the weekends, make sure that your AC is set to turn on if the temperatures rise above 75 degrees 24 hours a day.
Too Much? Call Pann Home Services and Remodeling Instead
Is all of this just too much for you? Well, don’t worry! You can always just give us here at Pann Home Services and Remodeling a call and we’ll perform your pre-season air conditioning system start-up checks and repairs for you!