Ah A/C maintenance. Everyone’s favorite to-do. Right? Am I right?
After all, who loves going to the dentist? …. Not raising my hand here.
We grudgingly perform repairs on the essential things in our life. Whether it’s the brakes of your car, a root canal, or to get a prescription from the doctor, we tend to only take of these things when they become problems.
But many times, we could prevent those problems from arising in the first place if we just keep up with our regular check-ups.
The dentist might have spotted my tooth decay and given me measures I could take to prevent the unpleasant root canal. Had I gone to my 6-month check-up…5 years ago.
By the same respect, taking good care of your A/C with regular preventative maintenance will help prevent costly repairs in the future.
We recommend that you get your entire HVAC system professionally serviced at least twice a year. Ideally, your first visit will be in the Spring for A/C maintenance, and your second occurs in the Fall for furnace maintenance.
But it’s the end of Summer now, is it too late for A/C maintenance?
6 Tips for End of Summer A/C Maintenance
If you didn’t know you should be servicing your A/C, or simple forgot to do it earlier in the year, it won’t hurt to get that crucial service performed now.
But what about if you did already have a professional A/C maintenance back in May? Do you need to pay for it again?
No, but there are some steps you can take at home to ensure your A/C has its best chance at a long life.
An oil change isn’t needed more than is recommended, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t driving habits that help ensure the health of your vehicle: like not slamming on the gas every time accelerate.
By the same respect, here are 6 tips for end of summer A/C maintenance you can do yourself.
Replace the Air Filter
One of the most important, and perhaps simplest, steps you can take towards A/C maintenance is replacing the air filter.
A dirty air filter affects air flow.
Poor air flow prevents your rooms from getting cold as fast as they could, meaning your system is running longer (costing you more money) and causing your A/C to work harder for the same result (leading to more breakdowns).
Ten seconds, and a few bucks, can save you a load of frustration during the San Diego early fall heat waves.
Make Sure Your A/C Has Room to Breathe
This is a simple, but often overlooked, task that will greatly assist the longevity and functionality of your A/C unit.
Your A/C works by pulling in air, super cooling it by removing heat and moisture as it passes over coils, and sending that air into your home.
If grass or weeds have grown up around your condenser, or you’ve crowded it with debris during summer yard work, it can’t run as smoothly as it should.
Clear away anything that could be blocking airflow, and leave a minimum of 1 foot on all sides, and ideally at least 3 feet clear on 2 sides.
Your A/C has claustrophobia, and it needs its space to breath. Don’t stress it out, and keep that space free and clear.
Clean the Coils
Dirty coils can cause a variety of issues with your A/C unit, and you’ll want to make sure you regularly clean this crucial part of your A/C unit.
It is strongly recommended that a professional remove the casing and perform a heavy duty cleaning at least once per year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to help in this area.
A quick spray-down with a regular garden hose will knock off the larger chunks of dirt and debris and will greatly assist in the longevity of your A/C unit.
Just be sure to pull the disconnect plug before washing. The disconnect is usually on the wall beside your unit, attached by a thick wire. Simply open the cover on the gray box and pop the kill switch. The manually turns off your unit and ensures no electricity is running to the A/C.
Hose it down, let it dry, and plug it back in and you’re good to go.
Inspect and Listen to the Your A/C
While it’s not as thorough as A/C maintenance by a professional, you can still visually inspect your A/C to make sure everything is working it should.
You might be able to hook up the pressure gauges, or run electrical tests on individual components, but you can make note of anything unusual.
Wobbling fan blades, scraping noises, loose screws, and anything else that seems abnormal should be noted.
Loose screws can be tightened and debris can be removed if it’s causing improper function of the unit, but for more complicated issues, I’d highly recommend you call your local A/C service.
You could choose to ignore the odd sound or loose part provided that your A/C is still cooling as it should, but please note that the longer you ignore the issue, the greater chance it has of becoming a costly repair.
A loose part can be tightened, but if something breaks, it’ll need to be replaced at higher cost.
Combine Your End of Summer A/C Maintenance with a Furnace Tune-up
Fall isn’t just a time to make sure your A/C is still working like it should. It’s the time you should be thinking about making sure your furnace is all set for winter with a furnace tune-up.
While you’re performing these checks on your A/C, take the time to inspect your furnace as well.
If you replaced the air filter already, you won’t need to do it again, as the same air filter is shared throughout your entire HVAC system.
There’s nothing to hose down in your furnace, and you wouldn’t want to anyway, but you could dust it off and make sure that the casing is clean. It won’t necessarily affect functionality, but it’ll look nicer.
Even if it’s not cold yet, adjust your thermostat so the furnace kicks on. Visually take a look and make sure the flames ignite and are a solid blue.
If you see primarily orange, instead of blue, turn off your system and contact a professional immediately. There could be a host of problems, but the most crucial is the potential for deadly Carbon Monoxide.
Sign up for a Maintenance Plan
While you could perform many of the five A/C maintenance tips above on your own, if you encounter any problems, please don’t attempt to fix it yourself.
Besides potentially damaging your system, you could void the warranty.
The easiest choice you could make to ensure the longevity of your HVAC system is to sign up for a maintenance plan with your local HVAC provider.
At Precision Temperature, joining our maintenance program will provide you with two visits per year: one in the Spring for your A/C and one in the Fall for your furnace.
While the cost for the maintenance program is higher than a single visit, you’ll save $40 off the total cost of paying for both visits separately.
As a special bonus, you’ll receive a 10% discount on all parts needed for repair for next year from the date of purchase.
Call Precision Temperature
If you have any questions about A/C maintenance, would like to schedule an maintenance visit, or want to sign up for our HVAC maintenance program, give us a call at 619-588-5321.
Our friendly staff is standing by to assist you.