June 7, 2017

The cold weather is over, and warm, sunny days are upon us. And that means it is time to make sure your HVAC system is ready for summer. A properly running HVAC unit not only keeps your home cool; it also helps to keep your energy bill down. Here are 7 things to do to ensure that your HVAC system is in excellent shape before the dog days of summer arrive.

Clean the Outside Unit

To ensure your air conditioning runs properly, you must make sure any outside equipment stays clean. Before starting up the unit, be sure to clear away any leaves, dirt and other debris around your outside unit. Clear any blockages around coils and vents. Remove any condenser covers, coil blankets or lids you may be using to protect against winter weather. Failing to do so can seriously damage the unit and leave you with a major repair or replacement bill. Give the unit a visual inspection too. Verify panels and other parts of the unit are securely in place. Check to see if the pipes are still properly insulated, and replace any insulation that is missing or damaged. Contact a professional if anything seems to need repair or adjustment.

Trim Grass and Brush

Once the unit has been cleaned up and all leaves and debris are removed, trim the grass and remove any weeds and brush from around the condenser unit. This helps you avoid any chance that the unit will overheat and break down. It’s also worthwhile to rinse off the unit and the surrounding area with a hose to help clear away dust and dirt.

Check the Condensate Line and Drain

The condensate line and drain do what it sounds like they do — they remove moisture from your HVAC unit when it is running on the AC setting. And unfortunately, if you don’t keep the condensate equipment clean, algae and mold can grow inside it, leading to clogs and damage from mold and water. Fortunately, it’s not hard to clean. Turn off the thermostat and power to the HVAC unit. Then locate the drain pan, usually underneath or inside the unit, dump or vacuum up any moisture and clean the pan with soap. Check the drain and remove any clogs. Make sure the hose line is in place, attached and working. Or ask your HVAC professional to check it for you.

Clean the Vents and Grills

Inside your home, your HVAC unit has both supply vents and return grills, which allow the air to flow in and out of your unit. And since they don’t get disturbed very much, they tend to gather dust and other debris. You can help keep those contaminants out of your air and out of your HVAC system by vacuuming and wiping down all the vents and grills on a regular basis.

Change the Filters

Seasonal changes are a good time to change the filters in your HVAC system. Clean filters help your HVAC to run efficiently, They also remove any contaminants and particles from the air that can negatively affect you, such as dust, dirt, pollen, mold, lint, hair and animal fur. Air filters for most units are available at hardware stores and places like Walmart. If you’re not sure what filter to purchase or if you want advice on which type of filter will help your HVAC system run most efficiently, check with an HVAC professional.

Make Sure the Thermostat Is Working

Once your unit, vents, and filters are in good shape, turn your thermostat to the AC setting. Let it run for a while to make sure the air works and gets properly cold. If it does, you’re good to go. But if the air is not cooling properly, turn the unit off and call an HVAC professional to inspect and repair it. Leaving the unit on when it’s not working correctly can cause damage.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you still have an old-school, manual thermostat, you may want to consider installing a modern, programmable one instead. A programmable thermostat lets you set multiple temperatures for different parts of the day — warmer when you’re at work, cooler when you come home — and some can be adjusted remotely, making it easy for you to change it when you’re on the go, on vacation and so on.

Learn More about HVAC Maintenance and Repair

If all this talk of HVAC maintenance and repair work makes you wish you knew more about doing it for yourself — or even better, doing it as your career — we’d love to have you as a student at Oklahoma Technical College. Our Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) program offers hands-on class work taught by skilled, caring instructors who can help get you on your way to a successful, satisfying career in the HVACR industry. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a tour of our campus.