Air conditioning systems get put to the test in the summer after months of not being used. There are several steps that must be taken before the summer season arrives in order to assure that any AC system will be able to perform as efficiently as possible to keep the temperature and energy bills low. In order to avoid last minute AC service in Tampa on a hot day, ensure the following steps.
Understanding the basics of how an AC unit works will make performing maintenance less stressful. There are three main parts to an AC unit: the condenser, the cooling coil, and the ductwork. The circuit starts in the outdoor condenser where the Freon or other refrigerant is turned from a liquid to a gas. The gas is then sent through a coil. Air blows through the coil, which cools it down before it enters the ductwork and travels throughout the building. Warm air is continually pulled out by the blower, pushed through the coil, and then sent back into the building. When the air inside has reached the temperature set by the thermostat, the unit turns off and the condenser pressurizes the gas back into a liquid. When the AC turns back on, the cycle starts again. To keep the unit working uninterrupted and efficiently, the following maintenance needs to be performed regularly.
- Clean and Replace Filters
Keeping filters clean is an important element in how well an AC unit will function. Clogged or dirty filters inhibit airflow, which makes the system work harder, affecting efficiency and performance. Some units have filters that can be washed, left to dry, and reused while some will need to be replaced with a brand new one. Filters should be checked monthly and changed twice a year and as needed.
- Inspect and Clean Indoor Ductwork
Ductwork is located throughout the ceilings and walls of all buildings with an HVAC system. Complete ductwork cleaning has to be performed by an AC service professional, as homeowners will be unable to access the machine’s components. During inspection, no furniture or rugs should be covering the ducts so that air can flow freely.
Condensation collects in the ductwork and can cause water damage or create an ideal environment for fungus or mold to grow. If water damage is found, contact an AC service professional right away, as this could be an indication that other, more severe problems exist.
- Clean the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor condenser should be free from any debris. A winter cover will keep anything from getting inside the unit when it is not in use. When it’s time to begin using the AC again, remove the cover and make sure nothing is blocking it. Any plants, leaves, or grass clippings can cause a clog, which will affect the unit’s performance. Gently clean the unit using a cloth or soft bristled brush.
These steps are the minimum that need to be performed before running the AC for the first time in the summer. Any significant problems should be addressed by an HVAC professional.