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The Best Way to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Air Conditioner

It’s surprising how many people wait until summer has started and the temperatures have begun to rise to start thinking about their air conditioners. Many assume it’s a matter of not fixing what isn’t broken. However, preventative maintenance and adequate preparation for the upcoming season are the best ways to keep an AC unit functioning efficiently and reliably throughout the summer months.

Why It’s Important to Be Prepared

There are few things worse than coming home after a long, hot day at work to find that the air conditioner isn’t working. HVAC technicians tend to be busy in the summer, which can make it difficult to schedule timely repairs without paying for emergency services. In the meantime, families will have to suffer in the heat.

Even if there’s no need to schedule emergency repairs, it will still cost more to wait until something goes wrong and then react than it would to be more proactive and take the time to prepare the unit adequately. Things that begin as minor problems that can be addressed through affordable repairs or replacing individual parts can wind up becoming serious issues that damage AC units beyond repair surprisingly fast. 

The Importance of Scheduling Annual Tune-Ups

By far the best way to prepare an air conditioner for summer is to call and schedule a professional tune-up before the home cooling season starts. Manufacturers generally require annual preventative maintenance visits at least once a year to maintain warranty coverage, and they have good reasons to do so. Having an air conditioner professionally inspected and maintained at least once a year substantially reduces the chances of serious breakdowns, especially when the equipment is under heavy use.

What Homeowners Can Do For Themselves

There’s no replacing a professional tune-up. However, homeowners who want to take some extra initiative can give their AC units an even better start to the season by performing some extra preparations. Preparatory tasks that homeowners can take on safely for themselves include the following.

Replacing Filters

The filters on central AC units have an important job to fulfill. They keep dust, dirt, and debris from circulating through the home and back into the air conditioner, where they can reduce efficiency and cause long-term damage. Replacing or cleaning the filters before the summer starts is always a good idea.

Clearing Debris

The outdoor unit of an air conditioner needs space to breathe. Homeowners should keep all shrubs, flowers, and other plants cut back for at least three feet around the unit to ensure proper airflow and prevent debris from making its way inside.

Exterior Cleaning

Before cleaning the air conditioner’s exterior unit, be sure to shut off the power. After that, use a fin comb to straighten out the fins of the fan, and hose down the exterior coils. It’s also a good idea to check the drain at the interior unit to make sure it’s clear at this point.

Be Prepared This Summer

Given how affordable it is to schedule an annual tune-up in comparison to paying for repairs after the fact, it’s surprising that not all homeowners take this crucial preparatory step. Even if the unit is past its warranty period, it’s worth scheduling a preventative maintenance visit each year. If something is wrong, this will give homeowners the chance to have the issue resolved before the temperatures start to climb in earnest.

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