Spring is in full bloom, and with a little luck, we’ll all be firing up our air conditioners in no time. Before you do, it pays to have a look at your central HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system to make sure everything’s ready to go.
A little bit of basic maintenance right now will ensure smooth sailing all summer long and help you avoid costly repairs in the future. If your air conditioner won’t turn on, or if you find any major problems, it’s usually best to contact a professional.
The air filter in your HVAC should be cleaned or replaced every month or two, but if you’re anything like us you might have a tendency to forget or fall behind. With the cooling season on the way, now is the perfect time to clean your filter, or replace it if you use disposables. A clean filter boosts efficiency, cleans your indoor air and extends the lifespan of your HVAC.
Have a look at exposed air ducts throughout your house, keeping an eye open for collapsed or torn sections, loose fittings, peeling duct tape, dents in metal ducts and dirt streaks that indicate leaks.
Grills and Registers
Take a stroll through your house and inspect the return grills and HVAC registers. Open and shut each one to make sure they work, clean away any dirt, dust and pet hair if necessary, and make sure none of them are blocked by furniture.
Air conditioner condensers (the outdoor part of your central AC unit) can get pretty gunked up during winter, though hopefully yours has been covered up during the cold months. Before you activate your AC, clear away dirt, vines, leaves, grass and anything else that might cause an obstruction. Remove the top panel and check the fan blades to make sure they’re clean, straight and undamaged.
Check the batteries in your thermostat and replace them if necessary. Open up the cover and use a Q-Tip to gently remove dust and dirt.