With the end of winter approaching, your thoughts may be turning away from dealing with cold weather to looking forward to the warmer months ahead. As part of these thoughts, you may already be planning for maintenance around your house, including your central air conditioning system. If so, use the following end-of-winter tips for getting your AC unit ready for use.
1. Clear Brush and Branches Away from the Central AC Unit's Exterior
One of the first things you can do to help prepare your home's central air conditioner for its first and subsequent uses is to clear away any brush that has accumulated around the unit. Especially after a harsh winter full of snowstorms, there are bound to be leaves, branches, and other debris in direct proximity to the AC unit.
If you neglect to clear the area around the unit, the debris will interfere with the flow of air through the unit. This interference will make your air conditioner work harder, putting a strain on the motor and compressor.
While you are clearing away the brush and debris, look at any tree or bush branches that are growing toward the air conditioner. If they are within a few feet, go ahead and trim them back, as they are likely to grow towards the unit once the vegetation comes out of dormancy.
2. Clean or Change the Air Filter
After making sure that the area around your home's AC unit is clear, the next thing you can do to prepare it for warm-weather use is ensure that it has a clean air filter. Even if you changed the filter before shutting the system down for the season, it most likely became dirty or wet in the interim. You do not want air blowing through that filter and through your house, as it could contain allergens such as mold spores or dust.
Depending on your unit's model, you will have either a replaceable filter or a reusable filter. If the filter is replaceable, make sure that you purchase the appropriate size to ensure a tight, secure fit. If the filter is reusable, clean it according to your air conditioner's manual.
While using the above tips can help get your air conditioning unit ready for the upcoming spring and summer months, you may want to take your efforts a step further by hiring a professional to inspect the unit to see if there are any problems that should be fixed before you start running it full-time. If so, contact an HVAC contractor who offers residential AC services to schedule a routine checkup and maintenance visit.