Before you know it, summer will be here in full swing. Fortunately for us in Northeast Ohio, many haven’t used our air conditioners yet due to the mild temperatures. On the first really hot day of summer, the last thing you want as a homeowner is to flip the switch on your central air conditioner only to find that it doesn’t work.

When your air conditioner sits idle for months, collecting leaves and debris, a bit of maintenance is often needed to get it running properly. So before turning it on for the first time, give your AC unit a little TLC. There’s no time like the present to get your A/C system working well and keep your family cool and comfy this summer season.

Five Tips To Get Your AC in Tip Top Shape

  1. Remove any condenser covers, coil blankets or lids

If you cover your unit to protect it during the winter months, be sure to remove the cover before starting the system. These covers keep leaves out of your unit, but also limit air flow and any heat transfer. If you forget to uncover the unit, even for a short time, it could severely damage your system and result in major repairs or replacement of the whole system.

  1. Clear yard debris around outside units

Yard debris can collect around your outside air conditioning unit. This typically happens in fall and winter, when falling leaves, twigs and branches are swept into the inside corners of your home’s exterior. Clear this debris so that your air conditioning unit has plenty of space around it. Also, you might find dust, pollen or debris in the coils. You can usually wash this off with a garden hose, but be sure to keep the spray limited to the coil area and away from any electrical panels.

  1. Change the air filters

Air conditioner filters work by blocking airborne debris from entering your home. These filters must be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis to ensure maximum efficiency. The first cleaning or replacement should happen before you turn on your air conditioner this year.

  1. Close basement vents

Your basement is likely going to stay fairly cool during the summer because it is underground. Consider closing the vents to the basement, so all the cool air is sent to the upper floors of your home. Check with an HVAC contractor before doing this, though, because some systems may not run as efficiently as possible with vents closed.

  1. Clean the supply vents and return grills

Make sure that all supply/return air grills and vents are open and free of debris. It would also be good to use the vacuum to remove any pet hair or dust that might have accumulated during the previous season along with any obstructions that restrict proper air flow.

Don’t Forget To Test Your A/C!

Once everything is ready to go, turn on the air conditioner and take it for a test run. Set the thermostat low enough that the system will switch on and turn fan to “auto.” Then, head outside and ensure that the fan on the condenser in spinning. Let the unit run for awhile, listening for any unusual sounds. If you hear something strange, turn it off and contact your HVAC technician. Taking the time to complete these steps before using your air conditioning will ensure that you and your family will experience a cool, comfortable summer.

Want some additional tips on how to summer-proof your home by controlling humidity? Or have any additional questions? Contact us on our Ask an Expert webpage.